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The British Broadcasting Century with Paul Kerensa

History Podcasts

100 Years of the BBC, Radio and Life as We Know It. Be informed, educated and entertained by the amazing true story of radio’s forgotten pioneers. With host Paul Kerensa, great guests and rare archive from broadcasting’s golden era. Original music by Will Farmer.


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100 Years of the BBC, Radio and Life as We Know It. Be informed, educated and entertained by the amazing true story of radio’s forgotten pioneers. With host Paul Kerensa, great guests and rare archive from broadcasting’s golden era. Original music by Will Farmer.






#084 Women's Hour on the BBC: 1923-24

When Dr Kate Murphy became a BBC's Woman's Hour producer in 1993, the received wisdom was that women's programming began in 1946, when Woman's Hour launched. Kate did some digging in the archives, and discovered the long lost tale of the early BBC's Women's Hour (rather than Woman's Hour), which ran from 1923-24. Why so brief? What impact did it make? Which listeners did it cater for? She's here to tell us everything. Hear the topics, the tales, some of the voices, how the regional stations nipped in first, how Men's Talk didn't last quite as long, and how it Women's Hour had one of the first examples of listener feedback. Next time: The earliest BBC recording, as we leap forward a year for one episode, for the centenary of King George V's landmark broadcast - plus the bizarre tale of how we now get to hear it. SHOWNOTES: Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBCHilda Matheson: A Life of Secrets and, or Ex-Twitter More info on this radio history project at: Thanks for listening (-in).


#083 The Launch of Savoy Hill: The BBC's New Home, 1 May 1923

Welcome to the Savoy Hill era of the BBC! Episode 83 opens the doors to the first permanent home of Auntie Beeb, with a grand launch night on 1 May 1923. I think it's one of the most crucial - and funniest - 24 hours in the BBC's history. So we recreate as much as we can of that one day: All will be revealed, plus the music, the speeches (from Lord Gainford, Sir William Bull and Lord Birkenhead), the first Men's Talk (next time, it's Women's Hour, the next day) and the launch of the Sykes Inquiry - just that minor thing of the govt and the press loathing the BBC. A reminder: this was 1923. Our guest too covers more recent years of broadcasting - Charles Huff, producer of Tomorrow's World and The Great Egg Race, tell us about radio days of his youth, from Educating Archie to Eastern Bloc jamming. Next time: Dr Kate Murphy joins us to talk about the first Women's Hour progamme, as well as other 1920s women's broadcasting - and why it stopped. SHOWNOTES:, or Ex-Twitter More info on this radio history project at:


#082 The BBC at Marconi House: 14-11-1922 to 30-04-1923

Welcome to season 6 of The British Broadcasting Century Podcast - and our 82nd episode. Back in our podcast timeline, telling the moment-by-moment origin story of British broadcasting, we reach a bittersweet moment: the BBC moves out of its first studios, the temporary studio on the top floor of Marconi House. We pay tribute with a look at the Beeb's final day at MH, 30 April 1923 - a broadcast promoting Women's Hour (by a man) and Hawaiian guitar music (hear it here!). And we spend much of the episode re-examining Auntie's first day at Marconi House - indeed BBC Day 1 - as I've just discovered a 1942 memoir from Arthur Burrows, first voice of the BBC. And he says some things I've never read anywhere else before. Was there music on the BBC's first day? He thinks so... ..but we don't! And by 'we', I mean our invited guests: Newspaper Detective Andrew Barker and The Great Collector Dr Steve Arnold. We look at the evidence, from newspapers to the archives to best guesses, and try to piece together the jigsaw of the BBC's first 3 days. Also some more recent BBC memories, as Radio 2 leaves Wogan House, Paul reflects on his memories of broadcasting from there - and working briefly with Steve Wright - a tribute to the great DJ, now Jockin' in the Big Show in the sky. SHOWNOTES:, or Next time: We've closed Marconi House, so let's open Savoy Hill! More info on this radio history project at:


#081 The Pips at 100! A Brief History of Time at the BBC

Pip pip pip pip pip piiiiiiiiip! Is that the time? It must be 100 years (to the day, as I release this episode) since six baby pips were born onto the airwaves. As the Greenwich Time Signal - aka The Pips - turns 100, we look back at their origin story, thanks to horologist Frank Hope-Jones and also his overlooked contribution to broadcasting itself. Plus Big Ben's bongs, heard by Manchester listeners days before London's listeners. We explain how... but also why Manchester's time signal was often a little approximate, thanks to too many double doors. SHOWNOTES:, or Next time: Season 6 continues with a celebration of Marconi House - its last day as a BBC studio, and its first. More info on this radio history project at:


#080 SPECIAL: The First Religious Broadcast: Re-enacted

Welcome to 2023's Christmas special/2024's Epiphany special. (Come on, what podcast doesn't have an Epiphany special?) It's all just a chance to turn episode 80 into a re-enactment of this remarkable untold tale of Britain's first religious broadcast. Contrary to what some records say, it wasn't the BBC who began religious broadcasting in Britain - it was lone Peckham pioneer preacher Dr James Ebenezer Boon, on 30 July 1922. Thankfully he wrote everything down - from the words of his sermon to the gramophone record hymns he played, to the feedback received from listeners, to his thoughts on the opportunities of future religious broadcasting. We'll also tell you about America's first religious broadcast (1921) and the first non-radio religious broadcasts - via the Electrophone (in the 1890s!). And we'll propel forward to look at the BBC's first church service on 6th January 1924 (and why it wasn't quite the first after all), with its centenary round about now-ish. We discover too the BBC's first Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist broadcasters. Have a guess now roughly when each debuted on air? Then find out in this episode. (It was surprisingly early...) Whether your religion is religion or radio, I'm sure you'll enjoy this episode. It's different to others we've done, as at its centre is a full re-enactment, so expect a 15min sermon, and hymns - sung along to by the live audience (including several religious broadcasters of note) at Christ Church Evangelical, McDermott Road, Peckham. This was Dr Boon's church, that he wired up back in summer 1922, then left to broadcast INTO it from five miles away - but reaching Coventry and the east coast (who offered to send in a collection, bless 'em). Huge thanks to Christ Church Evangelical, especially Adrian Holloway, for allowing us access (I even went to see the roof, where Dr Boon put his aerial!) for that rare thing - recreating a landmark broadcast where it occurred. Thanks too to Dr Jim Harris and Andy Mabbett for their help in bringing the story to life. Branden Braganza and Riley King recorded it (a video will appear on Youtube soon - details here when that happens). Will Farmer composed the original music. Oh and we're nothing to do with the BBC. Make sure you've also heard our other episode spinning through a century of 'God on the air' - episode 60: A History of Religious Broadcasting. And if you'd like to read along to the sermon, or read Boon's full notes, you can, on Wikisource. (Thanks Andy Mabbett) Thanks for listening. More info on this project at, and find me on tour with An Evening of (Very) Old Radio at Or book it for your place? Support the show on - where videos and writings await for you £5/mth (cancel whenever, I'll never know). It all helps support the podcast. Or support it for free by sharing on your social medias, or with your pals and acquaintances. Bless you for listening. NEXT TIME: Season 6 begins! With the BBC leaving Marconi House for Savoy Hill. More re-enactments are coming...


#079 Three More Authors: Doctor Who | R4 Sunday | Radio 1+2

Episode 79 is our second special of three authors - whose books you may wish to put on your Christmas wish list - especially if you're fans of Doctor Who, religion on radio, and/or ye olde Radio 1. Last time we had three doctors; this time our first guest is definitely someone who's seen The Three Doctors... PAUL HAYES' book is Pull to Open: 1962-1963: The Inside Story of How the BBC Created and Launched Doctor Who AMANDA HANCOX's book is Sunday: A History of Religious Affairs through 50 Years of Conversations and Controversies DAVID HAMILTON's books are The Golden Days of Radio One and Commercial Radio Daze BEN BAKER's book is The Dreams We Had As Children: Children's ITV and Me PAUL KERENSA's book is Hark! The Biography of Christmas - in paperback and audiobook You'll also hear BBC Radio Sussex/Surrey's (now Kent's as well) Mark Carter - who to my knowledge doesn't have a book (yet) but is, in David Hamilton's words "a great radio man"., or Next time: our Christmas/Epiphany special will be the FULL re-enactment of Britain's First Religious Broadcast from July 1922. A rarely-known story - you'll sometimes see the BBC credited as first religious broadcaster, 24 Dec 1922. But no, there was one preacher who five months earlier... More next time! Religious or not, if you like radio, you'll love this tale. Merry Nearly Christmas, or if you're reading this in the rest of year, a simple hello will suffice. Hello.


#078 Three Authors on Broadcasting History: Love | Films | Education

You need more books in your life. So here are three authors to shout about theirs and enthuse about their research. This time we have three academics. (Next time we'll have three presenters/producers, covering music radio, Radio 4’s Sunday and Doctor Who...) But this is a different episode of The Three Doctors. And they are… DR CAROLYN BIRDSALL, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam + author of Radiophilia (Bloomsbury, 2023): She tells us about the love of radio, 'wireless-itis', and the early days of radio fandom. DR MARTIN COOPER, Assistant Subject Leader Emeritus at the University of Huddersfield + author of Radio's Legacy in Popular Culture: The Sounds of British Broadcasting over the Decades (Bloomsbury, 2023): He tells us about some of the books, films and songs that feature radio, from Death at Broadcasting House fo James Joyce to Bob the Builder. DR JOSH SHEPPERD, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder + author of Shadow of the New Deal: The Victory of Public Broadcasting (University of Illinois Press, 2023): He tells us about the origin story of education & public radio in the US, from the first WWI university broadcasts to ex-BBC emigre Charles Siepmann (who worked under BBC Talks Director Hilda Matheson in the 1920s - it all links back...). In telling these tales chronologically, we mix and match between these three wise doctors. So expect a story of rural reach, radio hams and Professor Branestawm as we dovetail in and out of our experts. It's a bit like retuning and cruising up and down that dial..., or Next time? Three more authors. Then it's our Christmas special: The First Religious Broadcast: Re-staged where it began. Stay tuned.


#077 Loose Ends 2: 1920’s SS Victorian to 1980’s Tardis via Frank Milligan

Episode 77 is a surprise pop-up episode, with nuggets spanning 1920, 1922 and 1980, from the mid-Atlantic to Glasgow, and from music to horse-racing. We had a few too many tales to tell, so couldn't wait. We're meant to be on a break. Whoops. Like our previous 'Loose Ends' episode, we've a few threads to pull on: More soon. Next time: Authors' special. Aren't they?


#076 Radio Times at 100 - Part 2

Episode 76: On RT centenary day itself, part 2 of our back-story of back issues, as Radio Times turns 100. Catch part 1 if you haven't already: - there we journeyed from 1923 to 1991, when the monopoly was ended and the British government opened up the TV listings market. In part 2, we're joined again by today's Radio Times co-editor Shem Law and RT enthusiast, collector, historian and BBC Genome contributor Dr Steve Arnold - plus the author of The Radio Times Story Tony Currie. How come part 2 covers just a few decades then? Well, Shem Law told us aplenty about RT present and future too. It's a real treat that certainly made me re-assess the state of the industry in a number of ways: from what we consume, to how we choose what to consume, to how we hear about what we choose what to consume. With me? Great. Listen on. Listen in. If it's on Radio Times, it's in this episode. SHOWNOTES: radiotimesarchive.com NEXT TIME: We'll be having a break for a month or so, partly to delineate the seasons (partly to do more researching). Up next, an authors' special, navigating approx 150 years of wireless, radio, TV and more via half a dozen or so notable writers and academics with books that you-yes-you can buy, read, and grow your brain. Thanks for listening (in). And happy centenary, Radio Times!


#075 (The) Radio Times at 100 - Part 1

Happy 100th to (The) Radio Times! (The 'the' vanished in 1937) Britain's favourite magazine is a century old this very week, at time of recording. So it's a bumper edition - not dissimilar to the fat two-weeker that lands on your doorstep or falls off supermarket shelves due to weight and gravity every festive season. This is a two-parter, paying tribute to a century of the 'Official Organ of the British Broadcasting Company' as it was once subtitled. If it's on, it's in, and it's in this podcast. Part 1 brings us from 1923-1991 - with two tour guides: Shem Law is one of today's two Radio Times editors, and he invited me to RT HQ for a chat, a cuppa, and a browse of his favourite covers. (See link below for a link to our Facebook page, to see the covers he picks at as favourites - or least favourite). Dr Steve Arnold is a RT enthusiast, collector and broadcast historian. If it's on Radio Times history, it's in his brain. Also this episode, Radio 4's Justin Webb on his grandfather Leonard Crocombe - the first RT editor. Or was he? Steve Arnold has more on that. This is only part 1. Part 2 will follow in a couple of days, with more from Shem and Steve as well as Tony Currie, author of The Radio Times Story. SHOWNOTES: NEXT TIME: Part two of the Radio Times back story!


#074 The BBC and Music: from Percy Pitt to Johnny Beerling

The genesis of music on the BBC for episode 74... On 30 April 1923, celebrated conductor Percy Pitt joins the BBC as Musical Advisor/Director/Controller (his job keeps changing), bringing new scope and scale to the nation's favourite music provider. Symphonies! Dance bands! A violinist who's refused a taxi cos the driver doesn't like what he's heard! In 1955, Johnny Beerling joins the BBC in a world of Housewive's Choice and needle time. In 1967, Johnny journeys to the pirate ships then helps bring Tony Blackburn to the airwaves for the launch of Radio 1. Johnny tells us all about it in part 1 of an exclusive interview. And in 1969, Alec Reid is a studio manager when a talented young band have a brush with the Beeb - the genesis of Genesis. Oh, and a little thing called the Moon landing. Plus, what was the first song on the BBC, back in November 1922? We have answers. Several. Happy listening! SHOWNOTES: Beerling's book is Radio 1: The Inside Scene.Alec Reid's ghostly tales can be found here in audiobook NEXT EPISODE: Nearing the end of 'season 5' (though season 6 will follow straight after) will be a special on the centenary of the Radio Times. Stay subscribed: or wherever you get podcasts. Thanks for listening!


#073 Comedy on Air: Hysterical History from The Co-Optimists to Bottom

Episode 73: Comedy tonight! And comedy back then, particularly 26 April 1923... It's a royal wedding so the BBC celebrate in style, with a gala concert, sponsored by Harrods (yes, sponsorship on the BBC!), given by The Co-Optimists, the legendary interwar comedy troupe. The cast includes Stanley Holloway (later of My Fair Lady) and, weirdly, the ex of the prince getting married. Whoops. We also explore a landmark pre-BBC broadcast by The Co-Optimists, in the summer of 1921. It's London's first broadcast, and pretty much the only legal broadcast of 1921. We'll explain why, and you'll hear them in full flow. Plus, for those who prefer their comedy more recent, we've got comedy writers James Cary and Simon Dunn, as well as Hi-De-Hi's Jeffrey Holland, telling us about later BBC comedy from The Goons to Bottom, via Steptoe, Dad's Army and Roy Clarke's ovens. It's a lot to pack in, so it's a longer episode than we usually go for, but we trust you'll be entertained, or at least informed about being entertained, or educated about being informed about being entertained... SHOWNOTES: Proctology: A Bottom ExaminationThe Gospel According to a Sitcom WriterHark! The Biography of Christmas - also available as an audiobook.this Youtube channel.Alan Stafford's article on John Henry and the first BBC topical comedyA photo of 'Listening to the Gala Concert at Harrods'A photo of the Beaver Hut, StrandSidney Nicholson's wedding anthem - Beloved Let Us Love One Another - hosted by the English Heritage Music Series at University of NEXT TIME: Music! With Percy Pitt in 1923 and ex Radio 1 boss Johnny Beerling in the present day, reflecting on 1967+.


#072 The First Radio Dramatist: The Truth about Phyllis Twigg

Britain's first writer for radio was Phyllis M Twigg. An unusual name, and yet... she seemed to pretty much vanish after her debut broadcast play, 'The Truth About Father Christmas' on 24th December 1922. So much so, that the official record - in history books, on various BBC sites, in broadcasting legend - wrongly credits Richard Hughes' A Comedy of Danger in 1924 as the first original radioplay. So is it because Twigg was writing for children? Or because her script didn't survive? Or because she's female? All and more? On episode 72, our timeline brings us to 23rd April 1923 - Shakespeare's birthday - so as good a time as any to glance back, and forwards, to set the record straight about this forgotten female pioneer. Her pen name unlocks a whole new side to her, proving that far from vanish into the ether, she gave broadcast more children's stories, a bizarre paranormal experiment, and somehow also became the world's first TV cook! Plus there are cookbooks for children, porcelain cats and novelty lampshades. Wow. Somehow Phyllis Twigg/Moira Meighn is therefore the ancestor of Dennis Potter, Jamie Oliver, Angelica Bell and Derren Brown. She's one of a kind - in fact she's about four of a kind. Her tale's not fully been told till now, and we've gathered pretty much everyone who knows it onto this podcast. Hear from Professor Tim Crook, Emeritus Professor of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London - he's gathered biographical information, sheet music, cookbooks and wonderful insights into this double pioneer. Peter Grimaldi, Phyllis Twigg's grandson, brings tales from the archive that he's only recently discovered. (Watch the full video of Peter's interview with us here on Youtube: Dr Andrea Smith of the University of Suffolk joins us too to anchor us back in our April 1923 timeline, with scenes from Shakespeare on-air for the bard's birthday. Thanks to the Twigg family for sharing her story with us, and especially to Prof Tim Crook for sharing his research and linking us with Peter Grimaldi. Thanks too to Robert Seatter and John Escolme of the BBC History and Heritage Department, for being so open and hospitable to hearing Twigg's tale... ...Now you can hear it too! It's quite a story - and perhaps for the first time on this podcast, we're discovering something new about something old. While the script of The Truth About Father Christmas remains lost, we do now have the short story that Twigg adapted it into... Anyone for a retro-adaptation back into a radioplay again? I think this tale needs telling further. But let's start with this podcast... SHOWNOTES: blog post about Twigg/Meighn The Truth About Father ChristmasBBC's Mass Telepathy ExperimentBampton Shows the WayWriting Audio Thanks for listening. Share this episode by all means. Online, offline, over a garden fence, on the phone to an old pal, whomever. NEXT EPISODE: We've had drama, time for some comedy! April 1923 on the BBC: Comedians, at Harrods. Stay subscribed: or wherever you get podcasts Pip pip pip pip pip piiiiiiiiiip


#071 Yesteryear in Parliament: The BBC vs The Government, April 1923

Sometimes we get nerdy. Sometimes we get very nerdy. This episode is one of those where media meets politics meets history - and we're giving you all the nit-picking details, because if we don't, who will?! We only pass this way once... ...And by 'this way', I mean April 16th-24th 1923. On our previous episode, the five-month-old BBC was almost on its last legs, facing battles from the press (the Express) and the government (a feisty Postmaster General who doesn't feel generous with the licence fee). Now episode 71 sees the BBC discussed in the House of Commons, as two debates introduce the Sykes Inquiry, and see MPs debate, debase, defend and potentially defund the BBC. (A reminder: this was 1923, not 2023.) To bring this to life, we've revisited the Hansard parliamentary record of precisely what was said, and reunited (or recruited) our Podcast Parliamentary Players. So you'll hear: Neil Jackson - Mr Ammon Alexander Perkins - Lt Col Moore-Brabazon Lou Sutcliffe, David Monteath, Paul Hayes, Fay Roberts, Tom Chivers - Postmaster General Sir William Joynson-Hicks (aka Jix) Shaun Jacques - Sir William Bull, Mr Pringle Gordon Bathgate - Ramsay Macdonald, Sir Douglas Newton Steve Smallwood - Captain Benn Jamie Medhurst - Captain Berkeley Carol Carman - Mr Jones Andrew Barker - Mystery Speaker Wayne Clarke - Mr Speaker, J.H. Whitley ...and apologies if I've missed anyone out! It's quite possible. If you'd like to follow along (why would you?), the text of the two debates are here: April 19th 1923: April 24th 1923: OTHER LINKS: (Join our Facebook group!) episode contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v.3.0 Oh and we're nothing to do with the BBC. We're talking about the old BBCompany, and not made by the present-day BBCorporation. Thanks for listening, if you do. This one's a bit heavy! NEXT TIME: The first radio dramatist - The Truth about Phyllis Twigg


#070 The Press vs the BBC vs the Govt: 1923 + 2023

Episode 70 is a biggie. In April 1923, the five-month-old BBC faced a two-pronged attack. The Daily Express ran an anti-BBC campaign, with front page stories questioning its existence, and even offering to take over broadcasting themselves. Over the course of one week, the Express applied to the government for a broadcast licence (and were turned down). Meanwhile the Postmaster General's chance encounter with Reith in the street brought to a head 'the licence problem'. Reith wanted more £ for the BBC; the govt wanted more £ for themselves. It's a hundred years' war that's still raging, so it's the ideal episode to bring in Prof Patrick Barwise and Peter York, authors of The War Against the BBC: How an Unprecedented Combination of Hostile Forces is Destroying Britain's Greatest Cultural Institution... And Why You Should Care. Their insight in 2023's BBC battles tell us of right-wing press ('SMET': Sun, Mail, Express, Telegraph), now joined by GB News and Talk TV, plus think tanks galore doing down Auntie Beeb. This is all coupled with cuts in funding that is starting to affect output, from local radio to orchestras to the merged news channel. April 5th-15th 1923 is perhaps just the beginning then... Next time... Episode 71 - Today in Parliament: The BBC Debates of April 1923, plus Dr Martin Cooper on radio in popular culture.


#069 Children’s Hour to Bedtime Hour: Uncles, Aunts and Iggle Piggle

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin... Episode 69 of our deep dive into British broadcasting's back-story brings us to 5th April 1923, and the hiring of Ella Fitzgerald (not that one), to organise and centralise Children's Hour. That leads us to a packed episode with both academic insight and tales from those who were there, whether listening or programme-making. We have more guests than you could fit on Auntie Bronwen's magic carpet - including authors and academics: Programme-makers and listeners: And early uncles and aunts: We cover programmes including Children's Hour, Watch with Mother, Playschool, Wide Awake Club, Sooty, Teletubbies, In the Night Garden, Old Jack's Boat, Bedtime Hour, and many more. FURTHER READING, LINKS ETC: Next time: The Press vs BBC vs Govt: 1923 and 2023 - with Prof Patrick Barwise and Peter York. Be afraid, be very afraid...


#068 Major Arthur Corbett-Smith: Reith’s Rival

Episode 68 and STILL in March 1923 - March 26th to be precise, as Major Arthur Corbett-Smith is hired to be the 5th Cardiff station director in about as many weeks. It's not going well there... ...Corbett-Smith to the rescue? Trouble is, he's a little divisive. Some say he's the greatest gift to broadcasting (well, he does - he wrote his memoir in the third person), others say he's best out of the BBC (Reith, some newspaper correspondents). Listen - make your own mind up. To help you decide, two fab guests - Shakespeare-on-the-air expert DR ANDREA SMITH of the University of Suffolk (as Corbett-Smith aimed to be first to broadcast all his complete works) and GARETH GWYNN (writer of sitcom The Ministry of Happiness, all about Corbett-Smith and Cardiff 5WA). Plus the first National Anthem on the BBC... the first time signals... and an early Newcastle station director so popular that when he moved to Bournemouth, Geordies bought more powerful radio sets just to hear him from the south coast. Enjoy!


#067 SPECIAL: A Brief History of Coronation Broadcasts

Episode 67 is a special: A Brief History of Coronation Broadcasts (or Broadcast Coronations) How the BBC has brought two such ceremonies to the air, as they (and others) now tackle a third, for King Charles III. We'll tell you all about the two previous on-air crownings, of George VI and Elizabeth II, both on radio and TV - but first we'll go back to the four monarchs before them: Radio Jottings blog === Like this episode? Do share it. Or rate and review us. Or chip in on (or to help fund like this. Thanks! === This podcast is nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC. We believe the clips used are no longer in copyright due to age. It is possible that some somehow retain BBC or Crown copyright, in which case the content belongs to them, and certainly not us. It's all here purely to inform, educate and entertain. For more on this deep dive project into broadcasting's back-story, see, including details of the live show and novel. Subscribe to get each episode when it lands. NEXT TIME: Major Arthur Corbett-Smith - Reith's maverick rival of 1923. Please stand for the National Anthem.


#066 The BBC’s News, Weather and SOS Broadcasts of March 1923

Here is the news. And the weather. And the SOS messages... Our timeline continues into late March 1923 - which means that as well as news, we now have daily weather forecasts on the early BBC. It's just in time for the end of the Ideal Home Exhibition - selling radio to the masses, and oh look how useful it is. Also that month, SOS messages began in Birmingham: brief broadcasts trying to reach relatives of those critically ill, or missing persons, or even missing pelicans. Joining us to talk about yesterday's news is former news editor at Pebble Mill, Breakfast News and many more BBC news programmes MAURICE BLISSON. To talk about today's BBC news, and the war against it, we have Prof PATRICK BARWISE and Peter York (see their book below - and hear more of them in 3 episodes' time), and on the SOS origins of broadcasting, Prof GABRIELE BALBI. Plus other on-air quirks and remnants from March 1923, such as the first broadcast from a church, the first educational broadcasts, and Peter Eckersley telling us not to oscillate. Episode 66 is packed as ever then... Next time: meet Arthur Corbett-Smith, the unorthodox Cardiff station director. SHOWNOTES:


#065 A Brief History of the BBC’s Archives

Episode 65 welcomes the BBC's only ever Sound Archivist (the title changed a few times), Simon Rooks. For 33 years he was lost in the archives and now he's found his way out, he's here to tell us the way. This episode is more interview than usual, including a whizzthrough 100 years of the BBC Sound Archive - from no recordings to the first recordings, Lance Sieveking's re-enactments and Leslie Baily's archive gathering, Marie Slocombe and Lynton Fletcher's channelling of Marie Kondo, location actuality recordings, the first retake and recording from a WW2 bombing mission... and that's all just in the first two decades! Simon guides us all the way through to BBC7 and the present day - if you love old radio, it's a fascinating insight. Thanks Simon - and thanks to you and the team for looking after it for all these years. Elsewhere, our timeline of British broadcasting's origin story continues, covering March 16th-26th 1923 - which happens to include the first BBC music library under Frank Hook. And the archive is off... So as we traverse the early tale of the Beeb, this is the perfect episode to go deeper into the tale of the archive than you've probably ever gone before (I should add we're mostly talking about the Sound Archive here. As for the Written Archives, the Television Archive - one day...) Plus one of my favourite stories about the early BBC, involving an Archbishop, a bit of Schubert and All-Request Monday. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did putting it together. Happy listening! SHOWNOTES: LOTS of extra things you could listen to if you hunger for more... Thanks for listening. Do rate/review if you like, if you like it. And subscribe so that you get future episodes, including... NEXT TIME: News, the first daily weather and SOS broadcasts in late March 1923 - with more great guests.