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“With the assistance of the great expansion in mass communications,

Lesson 8
A Sixties Social Revolution? British Society, 1959-1975
particularly in television, the sixties was very much an age of ‘spectacle‘
spectacle‘. “
Arthur Marwick

What was the impact of

mass media expansion?
LO: To explain how the expansion
of television, radio and the press
contributed to social changes
Activity 1.
In pairs, make a list
of the effects that
might have resulted
from increased TV

1950 1955 1960 1965 1975

344,000 4,504,000 10,470,000 13,253,000 17,701,000
Television licenses
Activity 2.

Source Analysis
How far do the views of source 3 differ
from those in source 2?

The aim of the BBC must be to I believe we have a duty to take

conserve and strengthen serious account of the changes in society,
listening. While satisfying the to be ahead of public opinion ,
legitimate public demand for rather than always to wait upon
it. I believe that great
recreation and entertainment, the
broadcasting organisations, with
BBC must never lose sight of its
their immense powers of patronage
cultural mission. The BBC is a
for writers and artists, should not
single instrument and must see
neglect to cultivate young writers
that the nation derives the best
who may, by many, be considered
advantage from this fact.
advanced’’ or shocking.
‘too advanced

Sir William Haley, Director- General of Hugh Greene, Director- General, 1965
the BBC, Policy Statement 1949
Activity 3.

1. Copy the timeline from Page 44 showing

the key chronology of the changing press
2. Add in the key dates for changes in
Television and Radio Activity 3.
3. Why do you think visual images and
advertisements became more important in
newspapers in the 1960s
Activity 4.

Detailed description Explanation of

of the change impact on society
The growth of TV

Changes to Radio

Changes in the Press

and print

The spread of

Which of these changes do you think had

the biggest impact on society?
Explain your answer in a paragraph
How far did developments in the
Thinking Point media promote cultural change?

It seems inconceivable that when we first wrote this book the

•useModern Manners
of the word ’bloody’
bloody’ on television caused a public furore.
One of the significant changes in manners over the last few
years has been the liberalisation of attitudes towards what
can be said in mixed company. Candour, frankness and
honesty in conversation have become admired attitudes.
Television, film, certain newspapers and weekly magazines,
novels and plays and autobiographies have for many people
broken down the taboos on what can be discussed in public.
This relates particularly to the old inadmissibles,
inadmissibles, intimate
sexual experiences, detailed descriptions of violence and
every kind of physical expression and emotion

A Guide to Modern Manners, 1969 (First ed. 1956)

The advent, as a consequence in particular of the almost
universal presence of television, of `spectacle' as an integral part
of the interface between life and leisure. The most rebellious
action, the most obscure theories, the wildest cultural extremis m,
the very `underground' itself: all operated as publicly as
possible, and all, thanks to the complex interaction with
commercial interests and the media, attracted the maximum
publicity. Thus one extreme gesture, accelerated into the next.
Each spectacle had to be more extreme than the previous one.

Arthur Marwick, The Sixties