In the long running ban of Oswald Mosley from all forms of mass communication, it is an interesting fact that he was, in all probability, the first politician to be seen on television. It was on 28th July 1930, when in the Labour Party, that he took part in an experiment at John Logie Baird’s workshop and studio in Covent Garden, London. Standing in front of Baird’s camera, he answered questions from an audience gathered at the nearby Coliseum Theatre in St Martins Lane, the sound and vision coming through television sets with a screen of two feet by five feet (60 cm by 150 cm), placed on the stage of the theatre. Once again, Mosley, always ahead of his time, had recognised the worth of this new invention, and used it to put over his policies.

It was another 38 years before he was seen again on television. Arising out of a libel action against the BBC, and after Lord Justice Parker’s High Court observation that “Someone who has the ear of the whole nation can say things, and the unfortunate subject has no means of answering back in the same medium”, the BBC was forced to lift the ban with the screening of a Panorama programme devoted to his life, for which the “ratings” were more than nine million.

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