Our World was the first live, international, satellite television production, which was broadcast on 25 June 1967. Creative artists, including The Beatles, opera singer Maria Callas, and painter Pablo Picasso—representing nineteen nations—were invited to perform or appear in separate segments featuring their respective countries. The two-and-half-hour event had the largest television audience ever up to that date: an estimated 400 to 700 million people around the globe watched the broadcast. Today, it is most famous for the segment from the United Kingdom starring the Beatles. They performed their song “All You Need Is Love” for the first time to close the broadcast.
The project was conceived by BBC producer Aubrey Singer. It was transferred to the European Broadcasting Union, but the master control room for the broadcast was still at the BBC in London. The satellites used were Intelsat I (known as “Early Bird”), Intelsat 2-2 (“Lani Bird”), Intelsat 2–3 (“Canary Bird”), and NASA’s ATS-1.
It took ten months to bring everything together. One hitch was the sudden pull-out of the Eastern Bloc countries headed by the Soviet Union in the week leading up to the broadcast. Apparently it was a protest at the Western nations’ response to the Six-Day War.
The ground rules included that no politicians or heads of state could participate in the broadcast. In addition, everything had to be ‘live’, so no use of videotape or film was permitted. Ten thousand technicians, producers, and interpreters took part in this gigantic broadcast. Each country would have its own announcers, due to language issues, and interpreters would voice-over the original sound when not in a country’s native language. In the end 14 countries participated in the production that was transmitted to 24 countries with an estimated audience of between 400 and 700 million people. [Wikipedia]
Watch a feature about the broadcast on the Science Museum YouTube Channel.