The testcard, also known as a test pattern, is a television signal that is broadcasted when there is no programming being transmitted. It is often used during maintenance, testing, or when there is a technical issue.
One of the most iconic testcards is the one used by the BBC in the United Kingdom from the 1960s to the 1990s, which featured a young girl playing noughts and crosses with a clown. The girl in the testcard became known as "the testcard girl," and her name was Carole Hersee.
Carole Hersee was just a young girl when her father, George Hersee, a BBC engineer, took a photo of her playing with a toy clown in 1967. The photo was then turned into a testcard that was broadcasted on the BBC for over 25 years. Although Carole Hersee became an iconic figure in British television, she remained largely unknown to the public.
Another forgotten hero of the testcard is Bubbles, the chimpanzee featured on the testcard used by the Independent Television Authority (ITA) in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Bubbles was owned by the animal trainer Michael Schaap, who also trained animals for films and television shows. The ITA testcard featuring Bubbles was used for over a decade and became a beloved image in British television history.
In conclusion, the testcards may be a forgotten part of television history, but the people and animals featured in them have become iconic symbols of a bygone era in broadcasting. Carole Hersee and Bubbles the chimpanzee will always be remembered as the forgotten heroes of the testcard.