25th July 1956

The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time

The BBC’s series of ambitious outside broadcasts from the Channel Islands drew to a close on 25 July 1956. On that night, it broadcast a 30-minute visit to Sark between 8.25 and 8.55pm. Such irregular timings weren’t unusual in the schedules back then.

Describing Sark as “that small unit of the Channel Islands which is still a purely feudal state”, the Birmingham Daily Post looked forward to the programme and, in particular Richard Dimbleby’s interview of Dame Sibyl Hathaway in her 17th century home, La Seigneurie. The newspaper promised that “she will recall some of her personal experiences of the war years when Sark was occupied by the Germans.”

Two thumbs up for the BBC

This latter point was particularly well received by The Guardian. Its unnamed “Radio Critic” (it was perhaps too soon to think of appointing a television critic) reviewed the programme in the following day’s edition and found it “much better value than the earlier programme about Herm”.

Apparently, this was largely on account of the fact that the earlier programme had had “too many bouts of conventional interviewing and too few views of the island”.

Perhaps the BBC thought the same when it watched it back, for the broadcast from Sark opened with a lengthy film showing the approach to the island. The camera then took viewers up the hill to the village and across La Coupee between Little Sark and Greater Sark.

Dimbleby’s interview was also, said The Guardian, “first rate”:

Mrs Hathaway talked about the island’s history and constitution and then of the German occupation in a crisp and confident way that made one feel the Germans did well to treat her with respect.


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Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st