The earliest broadcasts used the 210-line Baird system and the 405-line Marconi-EMI system alternately. However the Baird system proved too cumbersome and was quickly dropped.
On September 1, 1939, two days before Britain declared war on Germany, the station was unceremoniously taken off air at 12:10pm in the middle of the Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey’s Gala Première. The last words broadcast were of a caricature of Greta Garbo saying "Ah tink ah go home". It was felt that the transmissions would act as a beacon to enemy aircraft. Radio transmissions continued during the war and avoided the problem of acting as a beacon by constantly changing the location of the transmitters. The television channel returned on June 7, 1946 at 3pm. Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, made the first announcement saying "Remember Me?" The programming continued with the interrupted Mickey Mouse cartoon of 1939.
The station was renamed BBC1 on the day that BBC2 was launched in April 1964. In 1969, simultaneous with ITV and two years after BBC2, the channel began 625-line PAL colour programming. Stereo transmissions began in 1991, and widescreen programming was introduced on digital platforms after 1997.
BBC ONE is more mainstream than its sister station BBC TWO and generally gets higher ratings. The BBC's sport and news have their homes here, as does Children's BBC and the soap opera Eastenders. Regional news programmes generally follow the main news, in particular the Six O'clock News is followed at 6:30 by half-hour regional news shows. Popular shows from BBC TWO may make the crossover to BBC ONE, Have I Got News For You being one such example.
See also: List of British television channels