Timeline of the BBC

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This is a timeline of the history of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

1920s[edit]

  • 1922
    • 18 October – The British Broadcasting Company is formed.
    • 14 November – First BBC broadcasts from London (station 2LO).
    • 15 November – First broadcasts from Birmingham (station 5IT) and Manchester (station 2ZY).
    • 24 December – First broadcast from Newcastle upon Tyne (station 5NO).
  • 1923
    • 8 January – First outside broadcast, the British National Opera Company's production of The Magic Flute from Covent Garden.
    • 18 January – The UK Postmaster General grants the BBC a licence to broadcast.
    • 13 February – First broadcast from Cardiff (station 5WA).
    • 6 March – First broadcast from Glasgow (station 5SC).
    • 28 September – First publication of the Radio Times listings magazine (price 2d).
    • 10 October – First broadcast from Aberdeen (station 2BD).
    • 17 October – First broadcast from Bournemouth (station 6BM).
    • 16 November – First broadcast from Sheffield (station 2FL).
  • 1924
    • 28 March – First broadcast from Plymouth (relay station 5PY).
    • 23 April – First broadcast by King George V, opening the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Stadium.
    • 1 May – First broadcast from Edinburgh (relay station 2EH).
    • 11 June – First broadcast from Liverpool (relay station 6LV).
    • 8 July – First broadcast from Leeds-Bradford (relay station 2LS).
    • 21 July – An experimental long-wave station (5XX) is established at the Chelmsford works of the Marconi Company.
    • 15 August – First broadcast from Hull (relay station 6KH).
    • 14 September – First broadcast from Belfast (station 2BE).
    • 16 September – First broadcast from Nottingham (relay station 5NG).
    • 21 October – First broadcast from Stoke-on-Trent (relay station 6ST).
    • 9 November – First broadcast from Dundee (relay station 2DE).
    • 12 December – First broadcast from Swansea (relay station 5SX).[1]
  • 1925
    • 27 July – Long-wave station 5XX moves from Chelmsford to Daventry and becomes the first British radio station to achieve near national coverage: the first step in the establishment of the BBC National Programme.[2]
  • 1926
    • 4 May – The General strike begins. The BBC broadcasts five news bulletins a day as no newspapers are published.
  • 1927
  • 1928
    • No events
  • 1929
    • 20 August – First transmissions of John Logie Baird's experimental 30-line television system.

1930s[edit]

BBC logo between 1932 and 1958
  • 1930
    • 14 July – Transmission of the first experimental television play, The Man With the Flower in His Mouth.
    • 30 September – Number of radio licences reaches 12 million "or roughly every second home in the country".[4]
  • 1931
    • No events
  • 1932
  • 1933–1935
    • No events
  • 1936
    • 2 November – The BBC opens the world's first regular high-definition television service, from Alexandra Palace.
  • 1937
  • 1938
    • 3 January – The BBC begins broadcasting its first foreign-language radio service, in Arabic.
    • 30 April – The BBC broadcasts television coverage of the FA Cup for the first time.
    • 27 September – Start of the European Service on radio, broadcasting in French, German and Italian. Portuguese and Spanish are added before the start of the Second World War.
  • 1939
    • Creation of BBC Monitoring
    • 1 September – The BBC Television Service is suspended, about 20 minutes after the conclusion of a Mickey Mouse cartoon (Mickey's Gala Premiere), due to the imminent outbreak of the Second World War, amid fears that the VHF transmissions would act as perfect guidance beams for enemy bombers attempting to locate central London – also, the technicians and engineers of the service will be needed for war efforts such as the RADAR programme. On radio, the Home Service replaces the National and Regional Programmes.

1940s[edit]

  • 1940
    • 7 January – Start of the BBC Forces Programme on radio, precursor of the post-war Light Programme.
    • 11 May – The BBC starts a news service in Hindi.
  • 1941
  • 1942
    • No events
  • 1943
    • No events
  • 1944
  • 1945
    • 29 July – Regional radio programming resumes in the Home Service (on the same medium-wave frequencies as used pre-war by the Regional Programme), while on the same day a new Light Programme begins, using the long-wave frequency of the pre-war National Programme.
  • 1946
    • 7 June – BBC Television broadcasts (405 lines) resume after the war. One of the first programmes shown is the Mickey Mouse cartoon from 1939.
    • 29 September – The Third Programme starts broadcasting on radio.
  • 1947
  • 1948
  • 1949
    • No events

1950s[edit]

BBC logo between 1958 and 1963
  • 1950
    • 21 May – Lime Grove television studios open.
    • 27 August – First live television from the European continent, using BBC outside broadcast equipment.
  • 1951
    • 1 January – First broadcast of The Archers, now the world's longest-running soap opera.
  • 1952
    • No events
  • 1953
    • 2 June – The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey is televised by the BBC and watched live by an estimated audience of 20 million people in the United Kingdom.
    • 11 November - First edition of Panorama is presented by Daily Mail reporter Pat Murphy. Panorama is currently the world's longest-running current affairs programme and retains a peak-time slot to this day.
  • 1954
    • 5 July - BBC newsreader Richard Baker reads the first televised BBC News bulletin.
  • 1955
    • 2 May – The BBC begins broadcasting its radio service on VHF (FM), using the Wrotham transmitter.
    • September - Kenneth Kendall becomes the BBC's first in-vision newsreader, followed by Richard Baker and Robert Dougall.
    • 10 October – Alexandra Palace begins test transmissions of a 405-line colour television service.
  • 1956
    • 28 March – Television transmissions begin from the new Crystal Palace site in south London.
  • 1957
    • 24 April – The Sky at Night, a monthly astronomy programme presented by Sir Patrick Moore, is first broadcast.
    • 30 September – Launch of Network Three, a strand of adult-education broadcasts transmitted on the frequencies of the Third Programme in the early part of weekday evenings.
    • 25 December – First TV broadcast of the Queen's Christmas Day message.
  • 1958
    • 5 May – First experimental transmissions of a 625-line television service.
    • 10 October – First broadcast of the United Kingdom's multi-sport television show Grandstand.
    • 16 October – First broadcast of the United Kingdom's longest-running children's television show Blue Peter.
  • 1959
    • No events

1960s[edit]

  • 1960
  • 1961
    • No events
  • 1962
    • 4 January – Popular sit-com Steptoe and Son begins
    • 28 August – Experimental stereo radio broadcasts begin.
  • 1963
    • 30 September – A globe is used as the BBC Television Service's logo for the first time.
    • 23 November – First broadcast of the world's longest-running science fiction television programme, Doctor Who.
  • 1964
    • 1 January – First broadcast of pop and rock music television show Top of the Pops.
    • 21 April – BBC2 starts broadcasting (on 625 lines), it was originally planned to broadcast the previous day but a major power failure foiled that plan; the existing BBC Television Service is renamed BBC1.
    • 22 August – First broadcast of top flight football television show Match of the Day.
  • 1965
    • 22 March – Launch of the daytime BBC Music Programme on the frequencies of Network Three / the Third Programme.
    • 1 May – The General Overseas Service is renamed the BBC World Service.
  • 1966
    • No events
  • 1967
    • 25 June – The first worldwide live satellite programme, Our World, featuring the Pop band, the Beatles, is televised.
    • 1 July – Experimental colour TV transmissions (625 lines) begin on BBC Two, starting with the Wimbledon tennis championships.
    • 30 September – BBC Radio 1 is launched, as a response to the threat from pirate radio station broadcasts of popular music. At the same time, the Light Programme, the third network (Network Three / the Third Programme), and the Home Service are renamed Radios 2, 3 and 4 respectively.
    • 8 November – BBC Local Radio starts. The first station is BBC Radio Leicester.
    • 2 December – BBC2 becomes the first television channel in Britain to broadcast in colour.
  • 1968
    • No events
  • 1969

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

BBC logo between 1986 and 1997
  • 1980
  • 1981
  • 1982
    • No events
  • 1983
    • 17 January – BBC Breakfast Time – the UK's first national breakfast television service – is launched, ahead of the ITV franchise TV-am, which follows on 1 February.
    • 24 October – Sixty Minutes launches as the new evening news programme to replace Nationwide.
  • 1984
  • 1985
    • 23 January – Television coverage of proceedings in the House of Lords begins.
    • 18 February – BBC1 is given a major relaunch, along with the introduction of a new ident, the COW (Computer Originated World).
    • 19 February – EastEnders premieres on BBC One, with the death of Reg Cox.
    • March – The charity appeal Comic Relief is launched.
    • 13 July – Live Aid is broadcast to the world on BBC One and BBC Radio 1, the first broadcast of its kind.
  • 1986
    • 1 April – All commercial activities of the BBC are now handled by BBC Enterprises Ltd.
    • 27 October – BBC One starts a full daytime television service with the first broadcast of the BBC One O'Clock News on BBC1, presented by Martyn Lewis. The programme, which replaced the BBC News After Noon, also continues to this day. Before today, excluding special events coverage, BBC One had closed down at times during weekday mornings and afternoons broadcasting trade test transmissions and, from May 1983, pages from Ceefax.
  • 1987
    • No events
  • 1988
    • 1 September – BBC External Services is renamed the World Service, and Radio 1 starts regular broadcasts on VHF in Scotland, northern England, the Midlands, and south Wales, Avon and Somerset, between 97–99 MHz.[8] (Crystal Palace has been broadcasting R1 on 104.8 MHz since October 1987, and would later switch to 98.8 MHz at 11.00 on 19 December 1989.[9])
    • 20 September – The Radio Data System (RDS) launches, allowing car radios to automatically retune, display station identifiers and switch to local travel news.
  • 1989
    • 21 November – Television coverage of proceedings in the House of Commons begins.

1990s[edit]

  • 1990
    • 27 August – BBC Radio 5 begins broadcasting.
    • 5 September – New BBC building at White City opens.
  • 1991
  • 1992
    • 21 January – BBC Select launched overnight as a subscription service.
    • 29 February – BBC Radio 3 ceases broadcasting on medium wave (AM)
    • 1 November – The satellite TV channel UK Gold, run by the BBC with Thames Television, starts broadcasting.
  • 1993
    • No events
  • 1994
    • First BBC website created for the BBC Two series The Net.
    • 27 March – Radio 5 ends transmission.
    • 28 March – BBC Radio 5 Live, a dedicated news and sport network, starts round-the-clock broadcasts.
    • 25 May – First broadcast of the Wipeout television game show created by Bob Fraser.
    • 1 July – Radio 1 ceases broadcasting on medium wave (AM) at 9.00.
    • July – Arabic television service launched with funding from the Saudi Arabian Mawarid Group.
  • 1995
  • 1996
    • 21 April – Arabic television closes down when the Saudi backer pulls out following a row over coverage of the execution of a princess accused of adultery.
    • June – Radio 1 starts live streaming on the internet.[10]
    • 7 June – The BBC is restructured by the Director-General, John Birt. In the new structure BBC Broadcast will commission programmes, and BBC Production will make them.
    • 29 December – What was billed as the last ever episode of Only Fools and Horses is watched by 24.35 million viewers, the largest ever TV audience for a sitcom.
  • 1997
    • The BBC broadcasts the much praised "Perfect Day" corporate advertisement, featuring 27 artists singing lines of Lou Reed's original. The song later becomes a fund-raising single for Children in Need.
    • 28 February – The BBC sells its transmitters and transmission services to Castle Transmission Services for £244 million, to help fund its plans for the digital age.
    • 6 September – The funeral of Diana Princess of Wales is presented on BBC Radio & Television and aired to over 200 countries worldwide. Nearly 3 billion viewers and listeners watch the ceremonies. In the USA, BBC's coverage is aired on A&E and CSPAN Cable Networks, while History Channel airs coverage from competing Sky News. David Dimbleby hosts the BBC coverage with Tom Fleming narrating the service inside Westminster Abbey.
    • 4 October – Current corporate identity adopted. At a reported cost of £5m the new logo was introduced due to the increase in digital services, as it is designed to be more visible at small size it is better suited for use in websites and on screen "DOGs." On Screen Identities changed, with BBC One adopting the Balloon Idents, and BBC Two retaining their 2's used from 1991, with new legend.
    • 8 November – The last ever closedown on BBC One. From the following day, BBC One broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with BBC News 24 filling the early hours.
    • 9 November – BBC News 24, the Corporation's UK television news service, is launched at 17.30.
    • November – BBC News Online, a web-based news service, begins to expand and become more popular.
    • December – BBC Online, BBC's web presence, officially launched.
  • 1998
    • August – The BBC's domestic TV channels become available on Sky Digital's satellite service. An unintended consequence of this is that people in the rest of Europe can now watch BBC One and Two, using viewing cards from the UK, as the signal is encrypted for rights reasons. This applies even within the UK: people in England can now watch BBC channels from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and vice versa.
    • 23 September – The BBC launches BBC Choice, its first new TV channel since 1964, available only on digital TV services. The BBC Parliament TV channel also starts broadcasting on digital services.
    • 15 November – Public launch of digital terrestrial TV in the UK.
  • 1999
    • 10 May – BBC network news relaunched with new music, titles and a red and ivory set. This design was used for the 25 October relaunch of News 24 – enhancing cross-channel promotion of the service.
    • 20 May – The BBC's digital teletext service starts.
    • 1 June – BBC Knowledge starts broadcasting on digital services.

2000s[edit]

BBC logo used since October 1997
  • 2000
    • 15 September – Final edition of Breakfast News on BBC One and BBC News 24, the last conventional news broadcast in the morning.
    • 2 October – The first edition of BBC Breakfast is broadcast, the new morning show on BBC One and News 24 from 6:00–9:30. (9:00 on BBC News 24), from daily.
    • 15 October – Final edition of the BBC Nine O'Clock News on BBC One.
    • 16 October - The BBC Ten O'Clock News launches on BBC One amid controversy, having been moved from 9pm to cash in on the axing of ITN's News at Ten the previous year.
    • 16 October – Oxfordshire, once part of the South East, becomes part of South Today.
  • 2001
    • 3 March – Bomb explodes outside Television Centre. The blast was later attributed to dissident Irish Republican terrorists and it is suggested the BBC Panorama programme which named individuals as participants in the Omagh bomb was the motive.
    • 3 September – Kent and Sussex get their own news programme, South East Today.
    • 1 October – BBC London is launched, replacing Newsroom South East.
    • 19 November – Last showing of current BBC Two idents. These set of idents would have ended in 1997 with BBC One's ident change but due to popularity the 1991 idents continued only with a new BBC logo and some newer ident sets. The new idents were Ivory 2's, interacting in a yellow world, with Purple box logo, the first BBC Channel to have one.
  • 2003
    • 9 February – BBC Three is launched at 19:00 in a simulcast with BBC Two. It replaces BBC Choice.
    • 8 December – BBC News 24 relaunched again with a new set and titles, as well as a new Breaking News sting. Networked news on BBC One and Two remains with the same titles though the set was redesigned in a similar style to that of the new News 24.
  • 2004
    • 28 January – Publication of the Hutton Inquiry, and subsequent resignation of the Chairman Gavyn Davies.
    • 30 January – Resignation of the Director General, Greg Dyke. Mark Byford takes over as acting Director General.
    • 16 February – Network news titles relaunched in the style of BBC News 24, introduced two months earlier.
    • 17 May – Appointment of Michael Grade as new Chairman
    • 21 May – Appointment of Mark Thompson as new Director General
    • 5 July – 50th Anniversary of television news broadcasts.
    • 1 October – BBC Technology, incorporating the BBC's Broadcast Engineering division, is sold to Siemens AG Business Services for approximately £200m, and a £2bn, 10-year outsourcing contract.
  • 2005
    • 20 March – Mark Thompson announces staff of 27,000 to be cut by 3,780.
    • 26 March - Doctor Who returns to the air in its 42nd year.
    • 23 May – Over one third of staff join strike in response to job cuts n:BBC drops programmes as third of staff join strike.
    • 1 August – BBC Broadcast, formerly Broadcasting & Presentation and responsible for the playout and branding of all BBC Channels, is sold to Creative Broadcast Services, owned by the Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Bank. It is renamed Red Bee Media on 31 October.
    • December – Czech and Polish sections of the BBC World Service cease to exist. Eight other sections are to follow soon.
  • 2006
    • 27 May – The BBC's first scheduled HDTV broadcast on BBC HD
    • 14 August – The One Show first broadcast on BBC One and was a modern day version of highly popular series Nationwide. Popular journalism returned to BBC One early evening schedule.
    • 1 September – BBC Entertainment replaces BBC Prime in global markets.
    • 7 October – BBC One rebrands from the Rhythm and Movement idents to the current "Circle" Idents, which acts as a link to the classic globe icon used for almost 40 years and as a symbol of unity.
    • 28 November – Resignation of Chairman Michael Grade, to join ITV.
    • 31 December – The BBC's then-current Royal Charter and Agreement expired.
  • 2007
    • 22 January – BBC News 24 re-relaunched with new titles and new Astons.
    • 18 February – BBC Two rebrands from the yellow 2's, to the current Window on the World 2's.
    • 1 April – The Sky at Night celebrates 50 years with a special anniversary edition.
    • July – BBC Knowledge launched as a global channel by BBC Worldwide.
    • 3 September – CBBC identity relaunched, with its third marketing campaign since the launch of the CBBC Channel.
    • 20 October – BBC Switch teenage block of shows is launched to cater for the under-served 12–16-year olds.
    • 25 December – BBC iPlayer an online service for watching previously aired shows is launched
  • 2008
    • 22 January – BBC Three has its identity relaunched, showcasing new shows such as Lily Allen and Friends.
    • 11 March - BBC Arabic Television launches.
    • 21 April – Name changes for BBC News 24 and BBC World. Now BBC News and BBC World News.
    • 19 September – BBC Alba, a Scottish Gaelic language digital television channel, launched through a partnership between BBC and MG Alba.
    • 16 October – Blue Peter reaches fifty years old on BBC One with a live celebration at BBC Television Centre.

2010s[edit]

  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
    • 7 March – Brighton moves from South region, to South-East region, after the meridian digital switch over.
    • 12 July - The BBC World Service relocates to Broadcasting House after 70 years at Bush House.
    • 27 July – The 2012 Summer Olympics take place.
    • 17 September – George Entwistle is appointed as Director-General.
    • 3 October – Broadcast of Exposure:The Other Side of Jimmy Saville which uncovered allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile.
    • 23 October – The BBC's teletext service Ceefax is switched off following all regions switching to digital broadcasting. BBC One Northern Ireland commences broadcasting in HD
    • 10 November – George Entwistle resigns as Director-General. Replaced temporarily by Tim Davie.
    • 14 November – 90th anniversary broadcast at 17:33.
    • 22 November – Tony Hall is announced as the new Director-General, taking the post in March 2013.
  • 2013
    • 14 January - BBC One Scotland commences broadcasts in HD.
    • 29 January - BBC One Wales commences broadcasts in HD.
    • 26 March - BBC Two commences broadcasting in HD following the closure of BBC HD
    • 31 March – BBC Television Centre closes in Shepherd's Bush with all TV services moved to Broadcasting House in central London.
    • 5 April - BBC Monitoring moves to Licence Fee funding.
    • 25 October – The BBC hosts 100 Women, a day of debate and discussion across radio, television and online featuring a hundred women from around the world.
    • 23 November – Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary.
    • 10 December - HD broadcasts begin for BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC and CBeebies.
  • 2014
    • 1 January - 50th anniversary of Top of the Pops.
    • 6 March - The BBC announce that BBC Three will become internet-only from Autumn 2015, in an effort to save £90m.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC Transmitter Development, Clive McCarthy
  2. ^ http://www.bbceng.info/Books/dx-world/dx-calling-the-world-2008a.pdf Norman Tomalin Daventry Calling the World Caedmon of Whitby Publishers ISBN 0905355 46 6
  3. ^ GGM 40: Highbury stages first live broadcast | News Archive | News. Arsenal.com (2 August 2007). Retrieved on 10 May 2012.
  4. ^ BBC Yearbook 1931, p. 26
  5. ^ "Happened on this day – 16 September". BBC Sport. 16 September 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Shagawat, Robert. "Television recording – The origins and earliest surviving live TV broadcast recordings". Early Electronic Television. Early Television Museum. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  7. ^ BFI | Film & TV Database | MANAGING THE MICRO. Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved on 10 May 2012.
  8. ^ http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/r1vhf.htm
  9. ^ The quality and the width – Radio – Transdiffusion Broadcasting System. Transdiffusion.org. Retrieved on 10 May 2012.
  10. ^ "BBC Internet Services – History". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 

External links[edit]