History of the BBC

History of the BBC

The Written Archives

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An interview with Jacquie Kavanagh, BBC Written Archivist


The BBC's Written Archives stretch back to the origins of broadcasting. Listen to Jacquie Kavanagh, BBC Archivist, explain what is contained in this unique collection.


Key features

  • thousands of files, scripts and working papers from all parts of the BBC, from the BBC's formation in 1922 to the 1980s
  • information about older programmes and the history of broadcasting
  • core documents which have formed the BBC's written history
  • correspondence, memoranda, contracts, scripts and many publications.


Please note we do not have, and cannot supply, recordings or information about current TV or radio programmes. We only hold Written Archives. For further information about accessing current TV or radio programmes please click here.


The Written Archives are a uniquely invaluable resource if you are an academic in higher education undertaking accredited research, a writer commissioned to write a book or article on BBC history, or undertaking research for a commercial project.


Visiting the Archives

The Archives are open during the following hours: 9.30 am-5.00pm. Academics/writers are welcome to make an appointment on the visiting days of Wednesday-Friday.


Contact us at the address below, giving full details of the nature of your work and what you wish to study. Please allow about four weeks’ notice for your request. Because of the demand for places, we regret that we are not able to accept researchers pursuing school projects or personal interests. For commercial research there is a daily charge.


If you have questions about recent programmes, please browse the online 'self-service' information at About the BBC.


Write to:

BBC Written Archives Centre,

Peppard Road,

Caversham Park,

Reading, RG4 8TZ, UK

or phone: 0118-948-6281

or fax: 0118-946-1145

or email: heritage@bbc.co.uk



Please click here for information about visiting the archives, restrictions and permission from the copyright holder(s) and the BBC.

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