Project Vivat! Recreating Television History


Recreating television history

Project Vivat

A bold project celebrating the television coverage of the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

More information will be posted on this site as the project develops. If you are interested in what we are trying to achieve, you can contact us at:


Golden Age Television

The British Monarchy - Coronation

Pictured left, a 1950s Marconi-built BBC OB truck as depicted in the ‘Eagle’ 1961.In the absence of full plans and documentation this cut-away drawing is as close to a general assembly view as we currently have.

Pictured below are pictures from the actual coronation.

Outside broadcast trucks outside the Marconi New Street works in the mid 1950s. A BBC truck is second from the right.

Left: Pre-restoration photograph. Click on the photo to see more original images.

Left: a typical mobile control room from the 1950’s

Below: Just back from the paint shop! Click on the photo to see more images from the restoration.


Having just enjoyed several bank holidays thanks to an anniversary – the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, anybody who knows anything about British television history knows that later on June 2nd 1953 something important happened, something that fast-forwarded the take-up of television in British homes. That event was, of course, the Queen’s coronation, viewed by at least 20 million people in Britain and another 200 million people across the planet, (via live relays and tele-recordings). These days, that 220 million figure doesn’t seem too large in light of ‘Live Aid’ and the Beijing Olympics (to name but two), but back in 1953 there were no satellites and only the beginnings of Eurovision. For North American audiences, the Coronation broadcast was seen via tele-recordings delivered by the RAF using three flights of Canberra jet bombers.

With such a major royal anniversary approaching, can anything be done to celebrate this famous broadcast beyond replays of the tele-recordings and a couple of cosmetically restored cameras? The answer is ‘yes’ but it will need a lot of work (and money). The target date is 2012, but if it spills over into the anniversary of the actual coronation it will not be a disaster.

A hazy idea of building a ‘replacement’ early 50s BBC ‘Scanner’ based on a near-derelict early 60s BBC vehicle, using accumulated Marconi MkII and MkIII series equipment has been around for a while now but with little in the way of progress other than relieving the vehicle of a former internal conversion to a music room. Now with the critical date coming closer thoughts have become more concentrated and look feasible. At the start of 2010, the whole hazy/crazy idea looked like it just might just fly . . .

UPDATE! If you want to see how we’re getting on, take a look at the videos and photos pages! Latest news is that the paint job is done!