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Old 20th Apr 2017, 7:17 pm   #1
camtechman
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Default New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

On BBC 4 tonight there's a documentary called: "Dial "B" for Britain: The Story of the Landline": from early call boxes to the Post Office Tower.

Timeshift tells the story of how Britain's phone network was built over the course of 100 years.

It's on at 9.00pm til 10.00pm & repeated later at 2.00am til 3.00am
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 7:28 pm   #2
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

Yes, I will give it a go, Timeshift tend to do good programmes.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 7:33 pm   #3
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

I was just about to post ...

Gene Toms, a switchboard operator, recalls her time during the war, trying to work while wearing a helmet during air raids, dealing with self-important officers and doing her best to assist servicemen phoning home.

A renewed drive to restore, modernise and expand the network after the war kept a legion of engineers busy. Former GPO engineers Jim Coombe, Bryan Eagan and Dez Flahey share their memories of dubious safety practices and difficult customers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08mp2l8
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 7:38 pm   #4
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

Taster: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04znrwx
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 7:43 am   #5
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

well I enjoyed it, brought back some happy memories for me
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 8:10 am   #6
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

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well I enjoyed it


Me too and it brought back memories of the annoyance of having to share a "Party Line" with a neighbour whose kids who kept playing with their telephone GRRR!!
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 8:36 am   #7
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

I enjoyed it too, Victoria Coren's narration was an extra bonus.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 9:20 am   #8
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

My wife, a one-time switchboard operator, remembered with amusement the need to contact the Deputy Supervisor to request an "Urgent" or a "Run Through".

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Old 21st Apr 2017, 9:27 am   #9
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

My late Aunt committed a deadly sin and had to leave.....she got married !
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 9:35 am   #10
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

Yes. Me too. It did bring back memories. The program covered so many different subjects, I thought each one have had its own program. Cliff.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 10:08 am   #11
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

I think it did a pretty good job at presenting a summary of the history for the general public.

My sister (whom I am visiting this weekend) was also a former GPO switchboard operator, so I shall suggest that she might enjoy it and that we might watch it on i-player while I'm there. She had already left the GPO by the time she committed the deadly sin of marrying.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 5:08 pm   #12
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

I was surprised that there was no mention of one of the major changes, that is the switch from LD to DTMF. I still enjoyed watching the program, although I never worked on any of the old strowger gear. Some things haven't changed that much when you think about it. I never knew there was an episode of Trumpton with telephone engineers on! Brilliant.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 6:24 pm   #13
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

Although the programme was enjoyable, it was still very disappointing that so little of the engineering side of modernisation was displayed. They seem to show that it went from a manual system to what they have now in one small step!!!
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 7:05 pm   #14
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

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it was still very disappointing that so little of the engineering side of modernisation was displayed
That would have been a bonus, I was very pleased it was a good historical programme, well produced. I didn't expect much technical stuff.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 10:13 pm   #15
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

At first I looked to see if it was the first of a series, with follow up programs covering the next steps, but it appears to be a one off. I felt like it left the job a bit unfinished.
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Old 22nd Apr 2017, 2:02 am   #16
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

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Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
I was surprised that there was no mention of one of the major changes, that is the switch from LD to DTMF.
I was living in Birmingham in the early 1990s, and there were still some clicky-clicky (pulse dialling only) exchanges in use in those days alongside the more modern ones (which could understand both dialling systems).
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Old 22nd Apr 2017, 8:50 am   #17
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

Haven't seen the programme but it brings back a lot of memories like GPO Morris 8 vans with rubber wings. Our first phone when we got married was on a manual exchange, one or two of the operators were customers of mine and exchanges such as " she's not in today she's gone shopping" were commonplace, it was also useful if you didn't know the number, tell her who it was and she would put you through.

Strangely when we moved down here to very rural Dorset we had an automatic exchange, our number was 'Charmouth 556'

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Old 22nd Apr 2017, 3:29 pm   #18
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

It's now on iPlayer, along with other interesting Timeshift programmes. I liked it, though it was more entertaining than it was educational. They showed the introduction of the various phones, but didn't mention the model numbers for example. Plenty of archive film footage of men up poles and strowger exchanges.
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Old 22nd Apr 2017, 4:33 pm   #19
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4

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I never knew there was an episode of Trumpton with telephone engineers on!
He got that a bit wrong, Mr Wantage was the telephone engineer, who had left the open manhole in the charge of his apprentice, 'Fred', and it was one of Miss Lovelaces dogs -Mitzy, Daphne and Lulu - I cant remember which, went in and mucked up the wires, that the apprentice couldn't sort. Mr Wantages song is the ring tone on my work mobile... and I still work for BT.
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Old 22nd Apr 2017, 4:55 pm   #20
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Default Re: New 'Telephone' TV Programme On BBC 4 Tonight !

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Originally Posted by julie_m View Post
I was living in Birmingham in the early 1990s, and there were still some clicky-clicky (pulse dialling only) exchanges in use in those days alongside the more modern ones (which could understand both dialling systems).
I was one of the twenty or so present when BT switched off what they claimed to be 'The Last public Electro-Mechanical exchange' an SAX at Crawford between Glasgow and Carlisle at 10.25am on 23rd June 1995. I videoed the entire change-over and the engineer-in-charge definitely says the 'last electro-mechanical exchange'

But I was the only one present who knew it wasn't the last public electro-mechanical exchange! I was present at the changeover of the last one - a tiny 20 line 'Island Automatic eXchange No 5 - on the evening of 12th July on a tiny island 25+ miles out in the Atlantic to the west of the Shetland Islands - so remote that all calls in to/out of the island were trunk calls. They were still dialling two digits to reach each other up until then. I then recovered the exchange to add to my collection - the round trip took eight days with a distance of 1600 miles including 500 miles by sea!!

You can hear an excerpt from a BBC Radio 4 programme entitled 'The Secret Life of Telephone Numbers' which includes sounds taken from my video of the change-over on a Lerwick number 01595 708222 (a geographic number in most 'free' packages).
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