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Sunday, 29 April 2012


The British Broadcasting Corporation is the UK state-owned broadcasting network. It was formed by a consortium of six electrical companies including Marconi on October 18, 1922 to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters in order to provide a national broadcasting service.

The BBC began broadcasting radio programs on the 2LO radio station from Savoy Hill studios (off the Strand) in London. It first went on air on November 14, 1922 at 6 p.m., with the news read by Arthur Burrows.

The first entertainment program was broadcast two days later and lasted an hour. British baritone Leonard Hawke led off with "Drake Goes West" and "Tick."

The BBC was converted from a private company to a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.  The first director-general was John Reith 1922–38.

Under the BBC charter, news programs were required to be politically impartial.

The BBC's World Service was launched on December 19, 1932 as BBC Empire Service. The first radio programme from the World Service transmitting station at Daventry opened  with Big Ben chiming 9.30 am, the playing of the National Anthem, and the greeting: "Good evening, everybody!"  The explanation of the greeting was that BBC chairman Mr J.H. Whitley was inaugurating this great scheme for imperial outposts by addressing the Australasian Zone, where it was evening.

Upon launch, the World Service was located, along with nearly all Radio output, in Broadcasting House. However, following the explosion of a parachute mine outside the building in December 1940, the services relocated to new premises away from the likely target of Broadcasting House. The European services moved permanently into Bush House towards the end of 1940, completing the move in 1941, with the Overseas services joining them in 1958.

Bush House in London was home to the World Service between 1941 and 2012. By Nigel Cox, 

The BBC began transmitting a regular television service at 3pm on November 2, 1936 from a converted wing of the Alexandra Palace in London. It was the world's first regular, public all-electronic "high-definition" television service.  The BBC originally offered three hours of programming a day.

From 1934 to 1948, the motto of the BBC was Quaecunque, Latin for ‘Whatever’.

BBC suspended their television service from 1939–46 during World War II. Two days before Britain declared war on Germany, it was taken off air for security reasons and the last thing aired was a Mickey Mouse cartoon.  It returned on June 7, 1946, with Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, saying, "Good afternoon everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?" The same Mickey Mouse cartoon was replayed 20 minutes later.

Before criticizing propaganda in his classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell worked as a propagandist for BBC.

The BBC Light Programme radio station was launched on July 29, 1945 for mainstream light entertainment and music. It took over the longwave frequency which had earlier been used – prior to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 – by the BBC National Programme. The Light Programme is now known as BBC Radio 2.

A £2 a year television license was introduced on June 1, 1946 for households to watch BBC mono transmissions.

A second channel, BBC2, was launched in 1964, aimed at minority interests. It launched with a power cut because of the fire at Battersea Power Station.

The BBC announced plans on March 3, 1966 plans to broadcast in color from the following year, making Britain the first country in Europe to offer regular TV color programming.

The BBC Light Programme, Third Programme and Home Service were replaced with BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 respectively on September 30, 1967. BBC Radio 1 was also launched with Tony Blackburn presenting its first show.

Nineties sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, starring Patricia Routledge as suburban snob Hyacinth Bucket, has been sold roughly 1,000 times times to overseas broadcasters— more than any other BBC series in the past 40 years. Creator Roy Clarke says its popularity is because "everyone knows a Hyacinth."

Its expenses are met by licence fees, paid by anyone owning a radio or subsequently a television; the level of the fee is fixed annually by the government (it was ten shillings in 1927).

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