Test Card F with the BBC two logo was first seen from 2 July 1967, it subsequently went through various changes and even today in the digital world a widescreen version can be called up on your digi-box. The test card was created by the BBC and in particular an engineer named George Hersee, it was used on television in the United Kingdom and in countries elsewhere in the world for more than four decades. Like other test cards, it was usually shown while no programmes were being broadcast.
It was the first to be transmitted in colour in the UK and the first to feature a person and has become an iconic British image that many remember from their youth and accompanied by test card music. Long before we felt the need for 24x7x365 programmes, I remember many afternoons waiting for the kids shows to start. The TV on showing the test card with the background filled with test card music. Many to this day enjoy this and there is the test card circle group.
My 1967 Baird M702 displaying the test card. The card is fed via a test card generator
The central image on the card shows eight-year-old Carole Hersee ( George’s daughter) playing noughts and crosses with Bubbles the Clown, surrounded by various grey-scales and colour test signals needed to ensure a correct picture. The blocks of colour on the sides would cause the picture to tear horizontally if the sync circuits were not adjusted properly.
The closely spaced lines in various parts of the screen allowed focus to be checked from centre to edge; mistuning would also blur the lines. All parts of the grey-scale would not be distinct if contrast and brightness (both internal pre-set settings and user adjustments) were not set correctly. The black bar on a white background revealed ringing and signal reflections. The castellations along the top and bottom also revealed possible set-up problems.
There were many other test cards and you can read about them on the archive we saved when Alan Pembertons site closed.