BBC unveils digital schedules for Radio and TV programmes from past Radio Times

The publication of the BBC Genome marks a significant step forward in helping us to open up more of the BBC’s vast and priceless archives to the public, by creating this record of the history of BBC programming across Radio and TV since 1922.Tony Ageh, Controller, Archive Development
Date: 16.10.2014     Last updated: 16.10.2014 at 10.43
The BBC today launched ‘BBC Genome’, its project to publish a comprehensive history of every radio and TV programme ever broadcast by the Corporation.

It has been created by using the BBC programme schedule from digitised copies of editions of Radio Times magazine between 1923 – 2009. The next phase of the project will look at capturing regional and national variations and changes to the planned broadcast schedules. 

Launched as a beta, BBC Genome lets viewers and listeners search millions of programmes, cast details, writers and transmission dates of past BBC shows as listed in 4469 editions of Radio Times, helping fans find details about that long-forgotten loved BBC programme, research a particular person or find their very own appearance on the BBC.

Audiences will also be able to take part in the project, by making edits and corrections to the programme listings, via a simple edit button - with edits sent directly to the BBC to verify. Accepted edits will then be published. This is the first time the BBC is inviting the public to get involved with its data on such a scale. People can also contribute their memories and experiences of the programmes, to be stored by the BBC for future inclusion.

The project scanned 350,622 pages and 4,423,653 programme records from Radio Times between 1923 and 2009.

Using BBC Genome data, you can discover that:

• On this day (16/10) in 1958 – the first ever Blue Peter was broadcast. Listed as: “Toys, model railways games, stories, cartoons. A new weekly programme for Younger Viewers with Christopher Trace and Leila Williams.”

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/b02eb970d3474079804f91f74f8a0311

• On this day in 1982 – Saturday Superstore was broadcast on the BBC. Listed as: “Join the Superstore staff for a Fame style dance class with top choreographer Arlene Phillips. See Mike Read's knees and try and win our special bargain-John Craven 's leg-warmers. There are star bargains from the book and video departments on offer this morning and many, many more attractions, including a personal appearance from Sheena Easton.”

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/1c01e636f2fe47fcbf933aefde20b22c

Tony Ageh, Controller, Archive Development, said: “The publication of the BBC Genome marks a significant step forward in helping us to open up more of the BBC’s vast and priceless archives to the public, by creating this record of the history of BBC programming across radio and TV since 1922. This information will be invaluable to anybody looking to discover more about the BBC and the wonderful and important broadcasts from years gone by and it will also be our first chance to invite them to help us establish where there are gaps in our information and knowledge about the breadth and depth of our enormous collections.”

Ben Preston, Radio Times Editor, said: “To flick through these new digital pages of Radio Times over the last 90 years is to watch a popular history of Britain, television, radio and every family unfold. Royal weddings, moments of history, stars being born and even shows that everyone has now forgotten – they are all here. If you want to find out what was on the television or radio on the day of your birth, this treasure house of an archive will reveal whether you were a Blue Peter baby – or child of Flog It!"

BBC Genome is a historical record of what was planned to be transmitted on a particular day, as described in Radio Times. It was created prior to current BBC editorial standards and reflects attitudes and standards of the time.

Notes to Editors

BBC schedules listed within Radio Times were correct at the time of printing, however in the early days of radio and television, technical hitches sometimes affected the schedules. Similarly, throughout the BBC's broadcast history, changes in live broadcasts and major events at home and abroad will have meant that the published schedules in Radio Times were not always accurate.

IW