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Dr Helen Wheatley discusses TV pioneer on BBC Radio 4

  • Warwick has a small number of places available in clearing in the Department of Film and Television Studies in 2016. Our clearing hotline number is 024 7653 3544 and it will open at 8am on Thursday 18th August.

Dr Helen Wheatley television historian in the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick spoke to Matthew Banister about the life and career of the late Sylvia Peters on BBC Radio 4’s Last Word programme.

Dr Wheatley described Sylvia as, “One of television’s earliest stars.” She went on to say, “People felt they knew her.”

Sylvia Lucia Petronzio (26 September 1925 – 26 July 2016), better known as Sylvia Peters, was an English actress, and from 1947 to 1958 a continuity announcer and presenter for BBC Television, she died aged 90.

Click on the image below to listen to the full interview:

BBC Last Word














On 2 June 1953, Peters was chosen to introduce the live television broadcast of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, an event which she considered the highlight of her career. On the day, Peters provided linking material from 10:00am to 11.30pm to an estimated audience of 20 million viewers in Britain and 227 million globally.

Dr Helen Wheatley is the author of Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure, published this year by I.B.Tauris, a look into the history of spectacular television:

“Today, it is tempting to see the rise of HD television as ushering in a new era of spectacular television. Yet since its earliest days, the medium has been epitomised by spectacle and offered its viewers diverse forms of visual pleasure. Looking at the early promotion of television and the launch of colour broadcasting, Spectacular Television traces a history of television as spectacular attraction, from its launch to the contemporary age of surround sound, digital effects and HD screens. In focusing on the spectacle of nature, landscape, and even our own bodies on television via explorations of popular television dramas, documentary series and factual entertainment, and ambitious natural history television, Helen Wheatley answers the questions: what is televisual pleasure, and how has television defined its own brand of spectacular aesthetics?”


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