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).
    • 6 June – Edgar Wallace makes a report on the Epsom Derby, thus becoming the first British radio sports reporter.
    • 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]

  • 1930
  • 1931
    • No events
  • 1932
    • 15 March – The first radio broadcast is made from Broadcasting House.
    • 15 May – Broadcasting House, the BBC's headquarters and home to its main radio studios, is officially opened.
    • 22 August – The first, experimental television broadcast is made from Broadcasting House.
    • 19 December – The Empire Service (precursor of the World Service) launches, broadcasting on shortwave from Daventry's Borough Hill.
    • 25 December – King George V becomes the first monarch to deliver a Christmas Day message by radio, on the Empire Service.
  • 1933–1935
    • No events
  • 1936
    • 2 November – The BBC opens the world's first regular high-definition television service, from Alexandra Palace.
  • 1937
    • 12 May – First use of TV outside broadcast van, to cover the procession that followed the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
    • 21 June – The BBC broadcasts television coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for the first time.
    • 16 September – The BBC makes the world's first live television broadcast of a football match, a specially arranged local mirror match derby fixture between Arsenal and Arsenal reserves.[5]
  • 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), owing to the imminent outbreak of the Second World War and amid fears that the VHF transmissions would act as perfect guidance beams for enemy bombers attempting to locate central London. Additionally, the service's technicians and engineers will be needed for such war efforts as the development of radar. On radio, the National and Regional Programmes are combined to form a single Home Service.

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 on 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
    • 17 December - For the first time television extends beyond London when the Sutton Coldfield transmitter starts broadcasting, providing television reception across the Midlands.

1950s[edit]

  • 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.
    • 12 October - Television extends to the north of England following the switching on of the Holme Moss transmitting station.
  • 1952
  • 1953
    • 1 May - Television becomes available in Northern Ireland for the first time although initially from a temporary transmitter, brought into service in time for the Queen's Coronation. A permanent mast at Divis is brought into service in 1955.
    • 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 - The first edition of Panorama is presented by Daily Mail reporter Pat Murphy. Panorama is the world's longest-running current affairs programme and retains a peak-time slot to this day.
  • 1954
    • 11 January - The very first in-vision weather forecast is broadcast, presented by George Cowling. Previously, weather forecasts had been read by an off-screen announcer with a weather map filling the entire screen.
    • 5 July - BBC newsreader Richard Baker reads the first televised BBC News bulletin.
    • 30 December - The first BBC Sports Personality of the Year award takes place.
  • 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
    • The first broadcast of Test Match Special takes place, providing listeners with ball-by-ball cricket commentary for the first time.
    • 24 April – The Sky at Night, a monthly astronomy programme presented by Sir Patrick Moore, is first broadcast.
    • Autumn - The first programmes for schools are broadcast.
    • September - The first broadcasts of regional news bulletins took place.
    • 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
    • The BBC introduces a new 3 box system logo. The logo featured slanted lettering within upright boxes.
    • 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

1960s[edit]

  • 1960
  • 1961
    • No events
  • 1962
    • 4 January – Popular sitcom Steptoe and Son begins.
    • 28 August – Experimental stereo radio broadcasts begin.
  • 1963
    • The BBC Logo had to improve to slant the boxes with the lettering.
    • 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.
    • 20 April – BBC2 starts broadcasting (on 625 lines). 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
    • 17 April - The first regular stereo radio transmissions begin, from the Wrotham transmitter.
  • 1967
    • 25 June – The first worldwide live satellite programme, Our World, featuring the Pop band, the Beatles, is televised.
    • 1 July – Regular 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.
    • 23 October - Service Information is broadcast for the first time.
    • 8 November – BBC Local Radio starts. The first station is BBC Radio Leicester, followed later that month by BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio Merseyside.
    • 2 December – BBC2 becomes the first television channel in Britain to broadcast in colour.
  • 1968
  • 1969

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

  • 1990
    • 17 January - BBC Radio CWR launches.
    • 12 April - BBC Radio Suffolk launches.
    • 27 August – BBC Radio 5 begins broadcasting on BBC Radio 2's MW frequencies and BBC Radio's sports coverage transfers to the new station. Consequently, BBC Radio 2 becomes the first national BBC station to broadcast exclusively on FM.
    • 5 September – The new BBC building at White City opens.
  • 1991
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 1996
    • 9 April - BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire merge to form BBC Thames Valley FM. Also in early 1996 BBC Dorset FM closes and its frequency is used to relay BBC Radio Solent.
    • 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 before the new millennium 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 broadcast 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. 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.
    • 4 November – BBC News Online, a web-based news service, is launched.
    • 8 November – BBC One closes down for the very last time as from the following day, BBC News 24 broadcasts during the channel's overnight hours.
    • 9 November – BBC News 24, the Corporation's UK television news service, is launched at 17.30.
    • December – The BBC launches its online service BBC Online.
  • 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 and analogue cable.
    • 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.
    • 20 June - The BBC broadcasts live cricket for the final time when it shows live coverage of the 1999 Cricket World Cup Final, bringing to an end of sixty years of continuous cricket coverage on the BBC. The terrestrial rights transfer to Channel 4.[11]

2000s[edit]

  • 2000
  • 2001
    • 3 March – A 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.
    • October - BBC Three Counties Radio launches opt-out programming for the county of Buckinghamshire.
    • 5 November - BBC 2W is launched, broadcasting on digital services in Wales on weekday evenings.
    • 19 November – Last showing of the then-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.
  • 2002
  • 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 is 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 are 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.
    • 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, sixteen years after the last full series was broadcast.
    • 23 May – Over one third of staff join strike in response to job cuts, dropping programmes.
    • 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.
    • 3 November BBC Coventry & Warwickshire returns as a stand-alone station.
    • December – The Czech and Polish sections of the BBC World Service cease to exist. Eight other sections are to follow soon.
  • 2006
    • 23 April - The Radio 4 UK Theme is used for the first time. It is replaced by a news bulletin.
    • 27 May – The BBC's first scheduled HDTV broadcast on BBC HD
    • 14 August – The One Show is first broadcast on BBC One, initially as a four-week trial. It is seen as a modern-day version of highly popular series Nationwide with the programme resulting in popular journalism returning to BBC One's early evening schedule. The programme returned on a permanent basis the following July.
    • 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.
    • 1 December - BBC HD channel is officially launched after around eighteen months of trial broadcasts.
    • 31 December – The BBC's then-current Royal Charter and Agreement expired.
  • 2007
    • 22 January – BBC News 24 is relaunched with new titles and new Astons.
    • 28 January - The final edition of Grandstand is broadcast.
    • 18 February – BBC Two rebrands from the yellow 2's, to the current Window on the World 2's.
    • July – BBC Knowledge launched as a global channel by BBC Worldwide.
    • 11 August - BBC Radio Cleveland is rebranded as BBC Tees due to its broadcasting area no longer being associated with the name Cleveland.
    • 3 September – CBBC identity relaunched, with its third marketing campaign since the launch of the CBBC Channel.
    • 20 October – BBC Switch, a teenage block of shows is launched to cater for the under-served 12- to 16-year-olds, launches.
    • 25 December – BBC iPlayer, an online service for watching previously aired shows, is launched.
  • 2008
  • 2009

2010s[edit]

  • 2010
    • 19 February – EastEnders celebrates 25 years with a special live edition, where the murderer of Archie Mitchell is revealed. Over 16 million viewers tuned in to find Stacey Slater to be the killer.
    • 3 November – BBC One HD; a high-definition simulcast of a national version of BBC One is launched across all digital platforms.
  • 2011
  • 2012
    • 7 March – Brighton moves from South region, to South-East region, after the Meridian digital switch-over.
    • May - BBC Somerset launches as a full-time station.
    • 12 July – The BBC World Service relocates to Broadcasting House after 70 years at Bush House.
    • 27 July – The 2012 Summer Olympics take place and with the exception of news programming BBC One is devoted entirely to live coverage of the Games.
    • 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. The very last Pages from Ceefax transmission had taken place two days earlier. BBC One Northern Ireland commences broadcasting in HD
    • 10 November – George Entwhistle resigns as Director-General, to be replaced temporarily by Tim Davie. Entwistle's 54-day tenure as Director-General is the shortest in the Corporation's history.
    • 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.
    • 21 December – CBBC and CBeebies both air on BBC One for the last time.
    • 2012 sees a number of opt-out BBC Local Radio services close as part of the BBC's cost-cutting measures.
  • 2013
  • 2014
    • The BBC broadcasts the much praised "God Only Knows" corporate advertisement, featuring 21 artists singing lines of The Beach Boys' original. The song also became a fund-raising single and an advertisement for BBC Music for the first time since "Perfect Day" in 1997 for Children In Need.
    • 6 March – The BBC announce that BBC Three will become internet-only from February 2016, in an effort to save £90m. Their plans were approved on 26 November 2015
    • 30 August – Rona Fairhead becomes the first woman to be appointed as Chair of the BBC Trust.
  • 2015
    • 6 October - After 27 years, the name BBC Radio London returns to the airwaves following a name change from BBC London 94.9.
  • 2016
    • 16 February – BBC Three closes and becomes an online-only channel.
    • 31 March - BBC Three fully closes down on all digital television platforms - it had carried promotional information regarding the BBC Three internet service since 16 February.
    • 11 April - CBBC extends its broadcast hours from 7pm to 9pm, using capacity which had previously been used by BBC Three.

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. ^ Brown, Ron "Steam radio comes up to date", New Scientist 2 November 1972, p. 264
  8. ^ The quality and the width – Radio – Transdiffusion Broadcasting System. Transdiffusion.org. Retrieved on 10 May 2012.
  9. ^ http://www.vintagebroadcasting.org.uk/r1vhf.htm
  10. ^ "BBC Internet Services – History". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "Channel 4 wins rights to home Tests". BBC News. BBC. 16 October 1998. 

External links[edit]