90 years of the BBC

Nov 11, 2012, 09:04 PM

In 1922, a group of determined radio companies gathered to become the British Broadcasting Company, and adopted the earlier experimental stations.

Enjoy here a cruise at indecent speed through the eras. From the stentorian beginnings of London's 2LO, through comments from those involved in its close successors in Birmingham and Manchester. Enjoy the King's first broadcast speech in 1924; early, prescient statements from the BBC Chairman and its controversial first DG, John Reith, who dared to fall from Government favour in 1926 in a dispute over editorial independence.

You'll hear the DG managing expectations as the Empire Service is born in 1932; and its successors, the Overseas (1939)/World Service(1965). The Forces Programme is featured, alongside the Home, Light and, albeit briefly, a snap of the Third Programme. Pick out too the famous Archers death, as ITV launched alongside in 1955; and the familiar Radio Newsreel and Housewives' Choice. Savour Moffat bidding farewell in 67 to the BBC Light; and Robin Scott's Radio 1 launch, alongside a hint of the oft-forgotten Paul Hollingdale who uttered the words 'Radio 2' for the first time. On the opening day of Wonderful Radio 1, hear John Dunn's delightful riposte to the shouty first Rosko show; then Walker and Wogan sounding almost as they always have. Jack de Manio almost manages a timecheck on the early 'Today'; John Peel muses on how he spends his money and BBC local radio launches carefully in Leicester. Radio 1 matures with delicious immaturity; and in steps Bannister to do what feels right for the Nation's pop service.

Hear the first play of Radio 4's jolly UK theme, and the early words on 5 Live and 1Xtra; and the first moments of Chris Moyles' breakfast tenure, spiced with a woof from Blackburn's 'dog', Arnold. Where else to close than with the shipping forecast.

Happy birthday, BBC.