August 31, 1957
SCOTTISH TELEVISION was the brainchild of Roy Thomson.
A shrewd businessman with Scottish roots, Thomson previously had success with Canadian radio.
He bought the struggling Theatre Royal in the centre of Glasgow and transformed it into a TV studio.
Arthur Montford, the much-loved presenter of Scotsport, and Jimmy Nairn were the first-night announcers.
In the early days there was one studio, the theatre’s stage, which meant quick set turnarounds between the likes of the news and The One O’Clock Gang.
Using a traditional theatre made life interesting.
The control room was down four floors and shortly after launch the station went on late one day because controller David Reynolds couldn’t find the control room, lamenting the place was full of corridors that all looked the same!
The adverts allowed local firms to advertise to a wider audience. Some of these were simple commercials showing slides with a Montford voiceover, while others were done live in the studio by actors.
A new-style firelighter was being showcased one day when the heat from the cameras set it ablaze. Viewers who saw it go up in flames jammed the switchboard.
New studios were built round the corner in 1974 where the station remained until 2006 when STV moved to Pacific Quay in Glasgow, now also home to BBC Scotland.