Franco is shown a model of the new TVE building in 1964. / SUR

10 June 1948: Spain witnesses first television broadcast

A camera connected by a cable to a monitor 30 metres away was set up by Philips Ibérica at a trade fair in Barcelona

Jennie Rhodes
JENNIE RHODES

At 12.45pm on 10 June 1948, the first demonstration of television in Spain took place at the Montjuïc exhibition centre during the trade fair held that year in Barcelona.

The event was organised by Philips Ibérica, which installed a camera connected by cable to a monitor located 30 metres away.

Philips revolutionised the Spanish people by showing them images and musical performances that were recorded in a studio outside the exhibition site.

It was the first time that a television programme was shown in front of the public, with Enriqueta Teixidó and Enrique Fernández as the first Spanish presenters to appear on screen. Later, in August of the same year, Spain would witness the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) showing a bullfight broadcast from the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. However, viewers are said to have complained at the terrible image and sound quality and demanded their money back.

The first idea of what would become television in Spain dates back to November 1938, when the National Socialist German regime presented General Francisco Franco with "phonovision", a technology patented by Telefunken that allowed sounds and images to be sent remotely. Franco expressed his gratitude and admiration for the test.

From that date onwards, different technical trials and test broadcasts took place, but it wasn't until 28 October 1956 that TVE (Television Española) began regular broadcasts from a building in Paseo de la Habana, Madrid. At that time, TVE formed part of the Ministry of Information and Tourism.

The first broadcast began at 8.30pm, with an announcement from the Minister and the Director of TVE, Jesús Suevos Fernández. It continued with a blessing of the studios in honour of Santa Clara, patron saint of television, followed by music, documentaries, an exhibition of regional dances and a piano concert to finish.

Only 600 homes had TV sets in Madrid at the time as they cost around 25,000 pesetas (the equivalent of more than 11,000 euros today).