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Cultural highlights of 1954

Television: UK
Single productions
Nineteen Eighty-Four (BBC, 12 December). Nigel Kneale's adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian novel in the regular Sunday night drama slot (20:35-22:35). The most expensive drama to date, it is repeated the following Thursday—the latter live performance being telerecorded on 35mm film.
New shows
The Grove Family (BBC from 2 April). The first British television soap opera. It runs until 1956.
BBC Television News and Newsreel (BBC, from 5 July). News.
Sportsview (BBC, from 8 April). Sports magazine programme.
Zoo Quest (BBC, from 20 August). Natural history, presented by David Attenborough.

Radio: UK
Single productions
Under Milk Wood  by Dylan Thomas (BBC Third Programme, Monday 25 January). Sometimes acclaimed as 'radio's greatest script', Thomas's poetic account of a day in Llaregyb was recorded the previous day with Richard Burton in the lead role as First Voice.
New shows
Hancock's Half Hour (BBC, from 2 November). First 16-episode series that led within months to H-H-Hancock (Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock of 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, aka The Lad Himself) becoming a phenomenally successful comedian, perhaps the most renowned in British broadcasting history. The final radio programme: 29 December 1959. On television from 1956.

Television: US
New shows
Disneyland (Walt Disney for ABC, from 27 October). Children's.
Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter (Walt Disney for ABC, from 15 December). Historical adventure starring Fess Parker in the Disneyland slot; best remembered for its massively successful theme song (a number one hit in the US in March 1955) and coon-tailed cap.
Father Knows Best (CBS from 3 October). Sitcom starring Robert Young. It runs until 1961.
Lassie (CBS from 12 September). Dog-hero adventures. Series runs exactly 17 years to the day.
Miss America (from 11 September). Beauty contest.
The Morning Show (CBS, from 16 March). Early morning news magazine, hosted by Walter Cronkite, to compete with NBC's Today with Dave Garroway.
The Secret Storm (CBS, from 1 February). Soap opera. Start of a 20-year run.
Tonight (NBC, from 27 September). Late night chat show, hosted by Steve Allen, previously broadcast locally in New York. Still on air in 2008 (now with David Letterman).
Your Show of Shows.

Television: Canada
New shows
La Famille Plouffe (CBC, in French and English editions)

Satyajit Ray’s first feature film Pather Panchali.

Print media
William Golding: Lord of the Flies.
J R R Tolkien: Lord of the Rings.

Chronomedia 1954

Page updated 14 October 2008
David Fisher