When television broadcasts over the BBC finally launched on 30 September 1929, a problem remained. There was only one transmitter available. For six months, the Baird studios were forced to broadcast video and sound alternately at two minute intervals. After the activation of a new Marconi transmitter at the BBC’s Brookmans Park facility, simultaneous vision and sound television broadcasts could begin. The date of the first official sound and vision television broadcast was 14 March 1930. With the Baird/BBC television service now fully on air, the BBC began to plan something ambitious programme-wise – to test the entertainment value of the new service.

Often erroneously identified as the world’s first television play, “The Man with the Flower in his Mouth” was actually the second. The first occurred on 11 September 1928, conducted by General Electric from their Schenectady, NY station – to test Ernst Alexanderson’s new 48-line television system. The play was called The Queen’s Messenger