The First Patriarch of TV

The First Patriarch of TV

Television has had an interesting history since its inception around a century ago. During this time, there have been several programmes that have been steadfast, evolving through time. News bulletins have always been popular, perhaps because of being aware of current affairs. 

Soaps are another popular genre that has appealed to viewers, providing much-needed escapism. Throughout the decades, television has seen its fair share of soaps and with many individuals passing through them, but who came first?

Source: Unsplash

Bob Grove

Step forward the character Bob Grove. He was the first working-class patriarch in British television, but also starred in the first-ever televised soap. He lived with his family in Hendon, North London, which included the cantankerous character, Grandma, who was always moaning. Bob was a character that was a builder by trade who was trying to start his own business.

In the first episode of The Grove Family, the nation saw Bob make the last mortgage repayment of £13 8s on his home.  Viewers were so invested in the soap that they often wrote angry letters to the BBC whenever Grandma was too ungrateful. Some even wrote letters to Bob, asking him for quotes for building work. The Queen Mother was also an avid watcher, being a self-declared fan.

Unlike soaps of today, some episodes would contain aspects of public service messages, such as viewers keeping their homes break-in proof. It even reflected what was going on in society, such as the post-war boom.

In 1955, there even was a film starring the cast called “It’s a Great Day” but two years later it all came to an end. There was a row between Roland and Michael Pertwee and the BBC. The Pertwees, a father and son team, wanted a break after writing for 3 years, but the BBC wasn’t having any of it and eventually put an end to The Groves Family. 

More sad is the fact there are no copies of the first-ever soap available for viewing. Fortunately, the film remains, but that’s all we have of Bob Grove, the first patriarch in British soaps, and his family.

Soaps Today

Soaps have continued to feature individuals and the trials and tribulations they go through in their lives. Some soaps, like Coronation Street and EastEnders, have lasted for decades. They’ve even commemorated special dates, filming live episodes for transmission: Coronation Street for their 40th anniversary, and EastEnders for their 25th and 30th anniversaries.

There’s something about live events that attract people, like these episodes. Live sports events tend to do particularly well, like boxing fights or snooker, darts, and football finals. iGaming also tends to attract players to live games as they can live-stream games to people’s homes. One area that has benefitted from this is online live bingo, as it allows people to play with like-minded individuals to win a prize or even the coveted jackpot by mimicking the atmosphere of a bingo club. 

Concerts are another popular genre that does well live, whether people are actually present where it’s being played, or watching from the comfort of their home. People just love being a part of live events. Just like the soap Bob Grove was in, which is a part of television history, being a part of a live event makes the participant a part of that history as well.

Source: Unsplash

Television has certainly evolved throughout the years. We no longer even need one to watch programmes because we have the internet, yet many homes still have at least one television in their home. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but it looks like soaps and the characters within them will be around for many years to come. 

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