History of the BBC

History of the BBC

In depth

Explore in depth some key themes of the BBC story, from the development of the BBC brand through case studies of editorial independence to the history of classic TV and radio shows.


The BBC logo story

The BBC logo story

Here is the story of one of the most recognisable brands in the world, from decorative motif on a marble floor through the innovative 'bats wings' logo right up to the latest hi-tech, multiple media manifestation.
Children and the BBC

Children and the BBC

Children have always been at the heart of the BBC's public service remit, from Children's Hour on radio in 1922, right through the iconic favourites of Watch with Mother, the long running Blue Peter, and the more recent global success of Teletubbies.
Dance on BBC Television

Dance on BBC Television

From its earliest days, dance was always at the heart of the BBC television schedule - from the Ballet Russe to Charles B Cochrane's 'Young Ladies'. Explore its varied history: ballet and ballroom, dance commentary and digital dance, right up to the present day obsession with Strictly Come Dancing.
BBC and Government

Editorial independence: the BBC and Government

From the General Strike in 1926 to the Hutton Inquiry in 2003-4, the history of the BBC is littered with rows over editorial independence that made headline news. Explore the key challenges that defined the BBC's independent voice.
Gardening on the BBC

80 years of Gardening Programmes on the BBC

Always adapting, always changing, gardening programmes on the BBC have enjoyed an ongoing appeal for countless generations. Perhaps the early realisation that real people, talking about what they really believe in, has sustained gardening on the BBC for the past 80 years.
Local Radio

The origins of local radio

The accepted wisdom is that BBC local radio began sometime in the late 1960's. Its origins go back much further though, and the regional element of BBC radio formed the backbone of the Corporation almost from day one. Dr Matthew Linfoot Director of Undergraduate Media, and Course Leader in Radio Production at the University of Westminster, explores the on-going story of the BBC at the local level.
Radio Times

Radio Times

The first edition of the Radio Times appeared on 28 September 1923, subtitled 'The official organ of the BBC'. It is now one of the bestselling magazines in the UK, transforming itself to cover all broadcasters as well as a range of lifestyle features and interviews.
John Reith

John Reith

Explore the life and times of the man who created the BBC in the 1920s, moulding its very ethos and instigating a model for public service broadcasting all around the world. Also includes aspects of Reith's personal life and his career post BBC.
Soaps on the BBC

Soaps on the BBC

Soaps have become a global phenomenon, watched and listened to by millions. Explore the history of the BBC soap, from the WW2 Front Line Family to today's hugely popular EastEnders and The Archers.
The Story of BBC Television

The Story of BBC Television

The early days of television, from its battle for invention, through early technical and creative triumphs at Alexandra Palace and its reinvention after WW2, and finally the great televisual moment of the 1953 Coronation which popularised the medium.
Women at the BBC

Women at the BBC

Contrary to poular mythology, the BBC employed women from its earliest days, though they rose with difficulty to the very top of this male-dominated corporation. Here are some of the key women who made their mark in BBC, both on and off air.
The BBC at War

The BBC at War

The BBC reinvented itself during World War 2 and public perception of the institution changed dramatically. Explore its expansion into a global media network, the changing nature of its programming, and the way that war re-defined its relationship with both government and audiences.

Other BBC links

About the BBC

About the BBC Blog
Inside the BBC

BBC Archive

Recent highlights from the BBC Archives

The BBC Globe

Collections & Buildings

Key historical buildings in the BBC's property portfolio
The Photo stills library

Charitable appeals

Children in Need - from 1927 to the present day

Classic TV favourites

From Adam Adamant and Basil Brush to Morecambe and Wise and Playschool
Comedy classics
Everything you wanted to know about the history of Doctor Who
BBC Archive: Doctor Who collection


History of the BBC Proms - over 100 years of history behind this world-famous music festival

Natural History

The story of the BBC Natural History Unit


History & highlights of the four longstanding BBC radio networks:
Radio 1
Radio 2
Radio 3
Radio 4
The story of The Archers – the longest running radio soap in the world
The Archers at 60 - A Celebration at the Museum of English Rural Life [www]
Key historic moments from the Woman's Hour archive
BBC Archive: Preserving sound
BBC Archive: The sound archive
How radio comedy changed a nation

Research and Development

BBC Research & Development – the story of the BBC's power house of technological innovation

BBC Archive: The Television Archive
BBC Archive: Preserving the television archive


History of BBC weather forecasts


World Service

BBC World Service - over 75 years of global history


Detailed factsheets for each decade, plus lists of the BBC Directors-General, Chairmen, and key broadcast committees.

Books & Publications

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.