June 3 1953 was a very special day for the British people. Most of the million who sat in someone else's home squinting to see crackling black and white images of the Queen's coronation could scarcely have dreamed that, 60 years on, this new-fangled invention would have liberated them from the need to interact with any other human being.
'I remember kneeling in Mr and Mrs Parker from next door's front room transfixed by it,' says Norman Rice, now a sprightly 72-year-old from Accrington, who watches repeats of Last of the Summer Wine on Yesterday around the clock. 'Of course in them days people didn't really get TV etiquette. You just had to put up with the old dears yattering on about the coronation robes and the smell of piss from Mrs Parker's senile old grandad.'
It was the coronation that, more than any other event, united the British people in the joyous realisation that television could spare them the trauma of dealing with each other's repellent personalities on anything but the most superficial level. For that dream to become a reality, however, would take years of technology development so that the screen would be big enough to prevent any distractions and the sets cheap enough for all to afford one in each room.
[running out of steam here - can anyone pitch in in time for Monday?]