Royal Television Society

The Royal Television Society, or RTS, is a British-based educational charity for the discussion, and analysis of television in all its forms, past, present and future. It is the oldest television society in the world. It currently has thirteen regional and national centres in the UK, as well as a branch in the Republic of Ireland.

Royal Television Society
Formation1927 (1927)
TypeTelevision organisation
HeadquartersLondon, EC4
United Kingdom
Region served
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Approximately 4000
Official language
The Prince of Wales
Sir Peter Bazalgette[1]
Chief executive
Theresa Wise


The group was formed as the Television Society on 7 September 1927,[2] a time when television was still very much in its experimental stage. Regular high-definition (then defined as at least 200 lines) broadcasts did not even begin for another nine years until the BBC began its transmissions from Alexandra Palace in 1936.[3]

In addition to serving as a forum for scientists and engineers, the society published regular newsletters charting the development of the new medium. These documents now form important historical records of the early history of television broadcasting.

The society was granted its Royal title in 1966.[4] The Prince of Wales became patron of the Society in November 1997.[5]


The society regularly holds meetings and seminars, attended by members of the public and professionals from various areas of the television industry, and it also publishes the monthly magazine Television, covering a broad range of television topics.

Major events held by the RTS include the biennial RTS Cambridge Convention,[6] a three-day event held at King's College, Cambridge. The convention, chaired by one of the UK's major broadcasters, brings together influential figures from the television industry for a series of stimulating talks.

The RTS also hosts "Anatomy of a Hit" events, which gather together the writers, cast and commissioner of some of Britain's most successful TV shows to discuss their qualities. Recent programmes discussed have included Sherlock,[7] Doctor Who[8] and Humans.[9]

The society also holds a substantial archive of printed, photographic and audio-visual material of value to television historians and scholars.


The Royal Television Society hosts six national award ceremonies annually:

National Awards

  • RTS Programme Awards[10]
  • RTS Television Journalism Awards[11]
  • RTS Craft & Design Awards[12]
  • RTS Student Television Awards[13]
  • RTS Young Technologist Awards[14] is given to this seen as potential future leaders in broadcasting technology.
  • RTS Pilgrim Awards[15] acknowledges the outstanding work of RTS volunteers.

Regional Awards

The Royal Television Society hosts regional award ceremonies annually:

  • RTS Bristol Awards [16]
  • RTS Devon and Cornwall Awards [16]
  • RTS London Awards [16]
  • RTS Midlands Awards [16]
  • RTS North East and Border Awards [16]
  • RTS North West Awards [16]
  • RTS Northern Ireland Awards [16]
  • RTS Republic of Ireland Awards [16]
  • RTS Scotland Awards [16]
  • RTS Southern Awards [16]

RTS Futures

RTS Futures was launched in 2007[17] to help people in the early stages of their television careers. RTS Futures offers the opportunity to meet with senior industry professionals, such as series producers and commissioners, as well as their peers in the television industry. RTS Futures hosts a wide range of talks and training sessions aimed at helping young people progress in the business. Recent events have included How to be the Best Researcher and the RTS Futures Entry Level Training Fair.

Presidents of the Society


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