There were of course
Earlier Radios in 1930s with Wireless Remote (one used an actual radio transmitter and a telephone like dial).
Also Earlier US and even UK and European sets did have wired remotes.
But still, a real innovator and as usual El Reg report it far better than the BBC.
Later remotes (the first "clickers") had a tuning fork, which gave way to Modulated Ultrasonic.. Many modern IR remotes actually use the same modulation of the IR as the Ultrasonic frequency and then modulate that modulation with the OOK modulation used on Ultrasonic remotes. (33KHz to 42KHz main "carrier"). This allows good sunlight and Mains flicker avoidance.