BBC News celebrates its 60th birthday

The first BBC News bulletin was transmitted 60 years ago today on 5th July 1954


BBC News today celebrates its 60th birthday.


The first ever news bulletin was transmitted at 7:30pm on 5 July 1954 – and was a very different affair from the 24-hour rolling news channel we can watch today. 

The news began as a 22-minute programme, starting with an announcement by Richard Baker before John Snagge read the day’s bulletins.

While we are used to seeing the smiling or serious faces of our presenters, the newsreaders did not appear on screen back in 1954. Kenneth Kendall was the first presenter to do so a year later in 1955.

News on the 5 July 1954 included truce talks in Indo China, French security measures in Tunisia, the resumption of the Petrov Enquiry and the end of rationing. 

Of the 60th anniversary, head of the BBC Newsroom Mary Hockaday said: “Over the last 60 years we’ve produced first class television journalism covering what matters from the communities where we live to the furthest corners of the earth. We’ve come a long way from that initial 22 minute broadcast, from black and white to colour and HD and beyond.”


“But one thing hasn’t changed,” she continued, “great journalists, powerful pictures and coverage of the stories which bring the nation together.”