This was an interesting weekend of television that I dipped into on quite few occasions. Looking back at the 50 years of broadcasting I obviously saw the cream of BTV and enjoyed it immensely. It was mainly Bulgarian music and concerts that made up the bulk of the viewing, many performers still going strong today. It is a shame that the next 50 years will lose much of the Bulgarian flavour and become a more westernised cosmopolitan affair.
Bulgaria National Television celebrated its 50th anniversary on Saturday, with a special schedule of programs aired nationwide throughout the day and evening.
BNT, the Bulgarian public service broadcaster, offered its viewers a unique day of nostalgic celebration, with a showcase of programs old and new, including archive clips of news and drama, and interviews with pioneering stars such as long-standing TV hosts Anahid Tacheva and Nikola Filipov.
As part of this birthday festivity, they presented a live jubilee evening concert of Bulgarian “golden songs”, at Sofia’s National Place of Culture (NDK).
The many vocal artists included Yordanka Hristova, Orlin Goranov and Maria Ilieva, and the revered singer, Yanka Rupkina.
Culture Minister Vejdi Rashidov was among the guests in the packed concert hall; President Georgi Parvanov sent a congratulatory bouquet of flowers.
BNT began broadcasting on November 7, 1959. The service opened with the words: “Attention! We are broadcasting live!”, and the first transmitted pictures showed Sofia citizens demonstrating in celebration of the Russian Revolution, 52 years before.
The one-time state monopoly channel has, since 1989, undergone many changes. Now a public broadcaster and member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), it competes with several national commercial stations, and – since 1999 – provides a satellite service to the Bulgarian diaspora.