History of the BBC

History of the BBC

BBC History milestones

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BBC History milestones

On the 14 November, 1922 the British Broadcasting Company went on the air for the first time. The transmission sparked huge interest and was considered the latest scientific marvel of the age. It was the first of many key milestones in UK broadcast history, which until the advent of commercial competition, were largely the preserve of the BBC. By 1932 the 'Company' had transformed itself into a public corporation, and had opened one of the most advanced broadcasting centres in the world, Broadcasting House.


Four years later the BBC was the focus of attention again causing a sensation with the world's first regular TV service. By the 1960s a second BBC TV channel was added operating in colour - the first to do so in Europe. Hit science fiction series Doctor Who also began during that decade, going on to be the longest running TV sci-fi series of all time.


Huge outside broadcast events such as Live Aid were to be masterminded by the BBC in the 80s, and by the 90s it was the ever expanding digital world that dominated Corporation thinking, creating the digital platforms for today's accessible and audience-led output.


Included in the slideshow you can hear the following:

  • George V makes the first broadcast Christmas Speech in 1932, simultaneously inaugurating the launch of The Empire Service.
  • Adele Dixon sings the BBC TV song, opening the BBC TV service, in 1936.
  • President De Gaulle makes his "L'Appel du 18 Juin" speech.
  • Sir Winston Churchill's famous "we shall fight them on the beaches" speech of 4 June 1940.
  • Richard Dimbleby commentates at The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 2 June 1953.
  • Sir David Attenborough, Controller, BBC Two, 1965-1973, talking about the introduction of colour on the channel.


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