British Vintage Colour Television

Some of you may be asking why early colour, well its been with us almost half a century, 50 years since colour transmissions and colour TV’s were launched in the UK. There are a multitude of sites that have been around in the UK for a long time covering British monochrome 405 TV’s, that area is more than adequately catered for. What is severely lacking though are sites promoting early British Colour TV,  this is the area I intend to bring you to address that imbalance.


1971 Ferguson 3705

What Can you Expect?

I’m going to provide a look back in time at these wonderful sets, looking at the exciting period of change that took place in our living rooms right before our eyes. I hope to also help the younger generations to understand our early colour TV heritage. This sites aim is to inform and provide a record of what sets were available so there are no mistaking 80’s TV’s for early first generation colour sets. I will be mainly covering the first decade 1967 – 1977.

1967 was the year colour launched in the UK, to read more about that click here. This site will provide a glimpse of what early CRT Colour TVs were like and what was on offer to the UK market when Colour TV was new and very expensive. There are many period brochures to browse through along with my early colour television collection which are in various states of repair. These include sets such as Baird, Decca, Bush, GEC, HMV & Ferguson to name but a few.


The TV’s are in the process of being repaired to working order, I hasten to add I prefer to repair rather than restore or rip out all the old components which are still working perfectly well. I replace only where necessary, there are no blanket changes. I have BRC/Thorn 2000,3000,3500.8500,9000 etc all happily running with minimal repairs. They are maintained on a fix-on-fail basis and you can follow the ups and downs as they are brought back to life in the workshop.

You will also find hints and tips for certain models, as you will see I have a fondness for the BRC/Thorn chassis’ especially the 3000/3500 but there are plenty of other early British CTV models to tickle your interest.

Among those that have joined up, there are many ex trade service engineers so you will find some interesting stories of “daring do” in the Trade Tales section of this site. You will also find there is a Vintage Radio & Television Forum on offer, here you will find many members discussing and tackling various projects. All in all a wealth of information at your finger tips.

Also for all you 405 B&W TV people there is a B&W category where members can post articles about those sets, so hopefully something for everyone.

So step on in, leave the modern world behind, travel back in time and enjoy Radios-TV “The Home Of Early Colour Television”.

9 thoughts on “British Vintage Colour Television

  1. Great site, I have enjoyed learning more about the long-forgotten TV I found in my parents house on Tuesday. A 1972 Ferguson Colourstar 3713 (8500? Thorn? 4 knobs for the channels and sliders for the rest).

    I put it up for sale in the hope that it would find a new home and lease of life which it did. Without sites like yours it would have gone straight to the tip! I never imagined it was quite that old.

  2. I’ve been searching for a while for a site like this. I was in the trade from the early 80’s right up to the time when plasmas killed the repairs game. Nowadays I’m a field engineer for a well known German white goods company.

    I’ve been looking around the forums and it reminds me very much of how I miss working on TVs.

    I would like to get registered as a forum user, if that’s OK.
    You’re running an excellent site, which has made an old TV engineer very happy :)

    • There seems to be a lot of ex-repairs engineers on this site. Your post has piqued one of my long running questions, “what killed the repairs industry”? My assumption has always been it was increasing reliability of sets coupled with increasing integration (so to repair a tv meant replacing the entire logic board which wasn’t economical). It would be interesting to hear the real reasons from the horses mouth so to speak.

      A little bit of background may be of interest. I got interested in the electronics of radios/tvs as a child in the late 70s. At that time in my small town there was a well known TV repair man, and there were others in the other towns nearby. I must have been the typical annoying kid asking him lots of questions. I got lots of bits off a retired repairman I got to know too at the time (pester is more likely the word).

      Fast forward a couple of years to 1984 when I got to the age when I was thinking about what to do to earn a living. Repairing TVs etc seemed an interesting thing to do, and it was then I looked around and discovered all the repair shops had simply disappeared. As usual I was busily getting on with life during that time and I’d not noticed, and so I still don’t know when in the interval from ~1979 – 1984 it happened.

      Having noticed this we (my brother and myself) during the summer holidays of 1984 put an ad in the local paper offering to repair valve radios, in hindsight a silly thing to do, and probably breaking lots of regulations (but we were young and didn’t know any of that). It was very successful especially because being naive we only asked asked for a bit more than cost price. As usual things went pear shaped due to us being well meaning in a again naive way. We got a set which needed the power section to be extensively reworked due to the lack of suitable replacement parts. The reworked power section worked perfectly, but we naively left the original circuit in place disconnected (so the set could be put back to the original design when/if the parts became available). The owner seeing the disconnected parts reconnected them somehow, blew the set up and that was the end of our repair adventures.

  3. Hi

    Thanks for your kind comments and its great to have another TV engineer find his way to our doors. Check out the Trade Tales category, you will find many a tale of TV engineers out in the field and back in the workshop. Perhaps you may have some of your own.

    You should have an e-mail waiting for you re the forum.

  4. Hello from Pete.
    Thank you for a great site. As an ex engineer, since the early sixties I have great memories and fondness for television of the pre plasma, LCD days. I have been employed by the larger T.V. companies of the time, Radio Rentals, Dixons (Dixserve),Mastercare, Currys, Comet and various smaller local stores. I particularly appreciate the internal photographs of the equipment, rather than, as most sites, just the front appearance. All of the site is well thought out, well implemented and lots of fascinating stories and tips from other engineers. Now retired and living in Cape Town I have lost all my old contacts but still like to keep myself busy as an hobby when possible.

  5. Hi Pete,

    thanks for the wonderful compliments re the site, I’m glad it hits the spot for you and others. These comments are appreciated and make the effort invested worth while.

  6. Hi from Frank an Ex multi-broadcast engineer from the 1980’s. Great to see the old pics, I started work for multi from school aged 16 in 1974 as a trainee TV engineer. £16.00 per week, I worked through the ranks, TV3, TV2, TV1 and finally ADV Tech five years on. Great times, great sets I remember the 2K, 3K, 3.5K, 4K, 8K and 9K etc. Plus then the new vhs recorders, lots of memories keep up the good work.

  7. Hi Frank,

    Welcome and thank you for your comments. So glad a lot of Ex TV engineers are making it to the shores of this site and finding all the brochures and repair logs from my workshop, stir fond memories of days in the trade.

    My favourite chassis to work on is the 3K / 3.5K . I note you mention the 4000, not a lot of people mention this chassis, I heard it was a bit of a pain. Hardly any survive now, I only know of one in a private collection. Hopefully one day I will find an example to add to my Thorn stable.

    By the way have a read of all the articles in the Trade Tales section, lots of engineers have provided stories from those days, you might find them amusing if not all too familiar.

  8. Hi from Frank,

    Yes the 4000 was a big pain, one problem was the then new thick film high wattage resistors used. You could get a set working on the bench, give it to a rep to install and 30 min’s later a phone call to say the set installed at Mr xxxx is dead on arrival. Remove the back and find a nice pile of film resistors on the bottom of the cabinet.

    We as engineers always carried a spare TV set with us if going to a 4k knowing we will have to bring it back to the workshop for a long job.

    P.S. Any TV engineers out there radio hams? My call-sign back in the 80’s
    was G8THG. I would talk to fellow TV engineers between repair jobs. Anyhow best 73’s see you all soon now, M0BJN.

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