No birthday, please, we’re the BBC

No birthday, please, we’re the BBC

Next Wednesday, 2 November, is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the start of the world’s first regular high definition television service. Given that this pioneering service was the BBC’s from Alexandra Palace, you might think that the corporation would make a bit of a song and dance to mark the occasion. I remember the fortieth anniversary, when the schedules were packed with archive repeats. For the fiftieth Jack Rosenthal was commissioned to write The Fools on the Hill, a play about the first days at AP. And this time? There’s a slightly miserable supplement in Radio Times (eight pages, three of which are John Lewis ads), and a BBC Four repeat of The Fools on the Hill. Oh, and another repeat – of an Imagine made for the seventieth anniversary. And, er, that’s it. Is the BBC embarrassed by its age?
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Radio Times: goodbye and hello

<i>Radio Times</i>: goodbye and hello

In a blog post today the Guardian‘s Roy Greenslade notes that BBC Worldwide is just about to pass ownership of Radio Times to the venture capital company Exponent. I am surprised that there has not been more comment on this. I know that there are safeguards and relationships in place, but even so this is a momentous change in a relationship that started eighty-eight years ago. It was in early 1923 that John Reith, newly appointed general manager of the newly founded British Broadcasting Company, dreamt up the idea of Radio Times. Within a few years the magazine had a circulation of over one million and its profits were helping the BBC through tough financial times. As historian Asa Briggs wrote,  ‘There were few more spectacular successes in the journalism of the inter-war years.’
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