Charlotte Higgins writes about the origins of the BBC

Editor, About the BBC Blog

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In the first of an eight-part series published in the Guardian today, Charlotte Higgins writes about the origins of the BBC and asks whether ninety years after the organisation was started whether founding director-general John Reith's original aims can still apply today. 

Of today's BBC, she writes: 

"... with its workforce of 21,000 and its income of £5bn, is such an ineluctable part of British national life that it is hard to imagine its birth pangs, comparatively recent as they are.

In only its 10th decade, the BBC looms larger in most of our daily lives than properly long-lived British institutions such as the monarchy, the army and the Church. Its magical moving pictures, its sounds and words are not just “content”, but the tissue of our dreams, the warp and weft of our memories, the staging posts of our lives.

The BBC is a portal to other worlds and lives, our own time machine; it brings the dead to life. Once a kindly auntie’s voice in the corner of the room, it is now the daemonic voice in our ear, a loving companion from which we need never be parted. It is our playmate, our instructor, our friend."

"What can the origins of the BBC tell us about its future?by Charlotte Higgins is published on the Guardian website. 

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