Jasmine Bligh

(1913-1991)

The First Female BBC Television Announcers

Leslie Mitchell, Jasmine Bligh and Elizabeth Cowell were the first three BBC Television service presenters.

Jasmine Bligh, was born on 20 May 1913. A niece of the Earl of Darnley, she was also a descendant of Captain William Bligh, the commander famously usurped in the mutiny on the Bounty in 1792.

It's said that the cameramen would put gauze over their lenses to soften the beautiful Miss Bligh's looks if she had been to a party the previous night.

While Elizabeth Cowell was tall, handsome, artistic, Jasmine Bligh was pretty, humorous and had remarkable powers of improvisation - powers which she needed on many an occasion!

Pre-war television actors were paid less than their radio counterparts. One argument was that radio had a bigger audience and television, said some, only showed the actors in miniature.

The BBC television service went back on air at three in the afternoon on 7 June 1946. At the scheduled hour the plunge was taken. Miss Jasmine Bligh, one of the original television announcers, walked towards an emitron camera on the terrace of Alexandra Park and, to the strains of a Television March specially composed by Eric Coates, smiled into the lens and made the first announcement - "Remember me?".

Jasmine Bligh presented Television for Deaf Children on the BBC in the 1950s, and continued to work in television up until the 1970s. She died on 21 July 1991.

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