Today marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Open University. It was founded by the Labour government under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Wilson was a strong advocate, using the vision of Michael Young. Planning commenced in 1965 under Minister of State for Education Jennie Lee, who established a model for the OU as one of widening access to the highest standards of scholarship in higher education, and set up a planning committee consisting of university vice-chancellors, educationalists and television broadcasters, chaired by Sir Peter Venables.
The BBC Assistant Director of Engineering at the time James Redmond, had obtained most of his qualifications at night school, and his natural enthusiasm for the project did much to overcome the technical difficulties of using television to broadcast teaching programmes.
The BBC began broadcasting the OU in 1971, and transmissions came to an end in 2006. Here are a few of the graphics used to introduce OU programmes down the years.
There’s also this “blooper reel” from 1973…