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24 September 2014
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BBC 7 launches Sunday 15 December

The best of BBC comedy, drama and books;
Launch day features two-hour simulcast with BBC Radio 4;
Search starts to find the greatest comic ever

BBC 7, a new digital radio network, launches on Sunday 15 December 2002.

A great mix of entertainment with the best of BBC comedy, drama and books as well as a brand new daily live kids' radio show, BBC 7 is the fifth BBC digital radio station to launch this year and completes the BBC's digital radio portfolio.

Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music, says: "The launch of BBC 7 marks the end of an astonishing year for BBC Radio in which we have doubled the number of national radio stations.

"With BBC 7 and its companion digital services 6 Music, Five Live Sports Extra, 1Xtra and the Asian Network we have made a huge addition to public service broadcasting which should prove attractive to new as well as existing listeners.

"They mark a major step towards the digital future."

Broadcasting 18 hours a day, from 7.00am to 1.00am, the BBC 7 schedule is "stripped" across the week, with regular programme zones at the same time each day.

The first day's broadcasting, Sunday 15 December, features a special two-hour programme (8.00 to 10.00pm) showcasing BBC 7 and simulcast on BBC Radio 4.

Featured shows include: Knowing Me, Knowing You; Dr Who; Hancock's Happy Christmas; The Goons; The Woman In White; Fatherland and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Enjoy classics including Hancock's Half Hour on BBC 7
BBC 7's comedy is zoned across the day and includes all-time classics such as Hancock's Half Hour, The Goons and Round The Horne, great panel games like I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and Just A Minute and, in the Comedy Club zone, the best in stand-up from Greg Proops, Jo Brand, Rory Bremner, Graham Fellows and Sean Hughes.


Recent radio comedy hits such as The Boosh and Little Britain get another airing as well as shows that have successfully transferred to television: Room 101, They Think It's All Over, Goodness Gracious Me, Alan Partridge and The League Of Gentlemen.

All in all, BBC 7 presents over six hours of comedy every day.

The 7 Drama zone offers a daily feast of great drama - A Suitable Boy, The French Lieutenant's Woman, This Sporting Life - and the best in crime and thrillers, from Inspector Rebus to George Smiley.

And BBC 7 provides a daily fix of science fiction and horror in 7th Dimension from Dr Who and A Wizard Of Earthsea to Pet Sematary.

The best reads in fiction and non-fiction can be found each weekday morning, including The Shipping News, Behind The Scenes At The Museum and Notes From A Small Island.

Jez Edwards and Kirsten O'Brien, presenters of Big ToeSeven days a week, from 4.00 to 6.00pm, there is BBC 7's Big Toe, a live, interactive show for nine to 11 year-olds packed with stories, competitions, quizzes, interviews, discussions, games and music.

Each day there are continuing stories from the best authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and Roald Dahl.

Younger children have not been forgotten - each morning Little Toe airs the best children's stories for the younger age group, starting with Wiggly Park and including Thomas The Tank Engine, read by John Gielgud.

Mary Kalemkerian, Editor BBC 7, says: "Nothing beats being asked to create a brand new network from the biggest broadcasting archive in the world.

"The underlying theme throughout the schedule is quality. BBC 7 offers a treasure trove of treats for people who love good radio."

Helen Boaden, Controller BBC Radio 4 and launch controller for the new station, adds: "It's not every Radio Controller who has the privilege of launching a totally new station.

"I'm tremendously proud of the team that has developed such an exciting, fresh sound and programmed such an innovative schedule for BBC 7."

As the place for entertainment, BBC 7 is asking people to vote for who they think is the funniest person they have ever heard.

Nominations can be for comedy groups as well as individuals and votes can be registered via the website at or by phone on the BBC 7 Information Line on 0800 100 700.

Nominations are welcomed from the whole range of comedy talent featured on BBC 7 - from The Goons to The League Of Gentlemen, from Tony Hancock to Steve Coogan, from Kenneth Williams to Julian Clary.

Voting opens on Wednesday 13 November and closes on Wednesday 11 December. The winner will be announced on launch day (15 December).

BBC 7 will broadcast across the UK on digital radio, digital television (cable, satellite, Freeview) and online.

Archive material is drawn from BBC Radio 4, Radio 2 and Radio 1, with other acquired material not previously heard on radio before.

Notes to Editors

BBC 7 Zones and Programme Highlights


Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton in The League of GentlemenComedy Hour: original radio comedies which went on to become tv hits, including Knowing Me, Knowing You (with Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge), The League Of Gentlemen (with Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith), Goodness Gracious Me (featuring Sanjeev Baskar and Meera Syal), People Like Us (with Chris Langham as Roy Mallard), Dead Ringers and Room 101 (with Nick Hancock in the chair).

Classic Comedy: some of the best-loved radio shows of all time - Just A Minute, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, The Goons, Hancock's Half Hour, Round The Horne and The Frankie Howerd Show.

Comedy Zone: tv favourites made for radio and the best of current radio comedy - Dad's Army, Steptoe & Son, Yes Minister, As Time Goes By, One Foot In The Grave, The Masterson Inheritance (improvisation with Paul Merton and Josie Lawrence), Little Britain (with Matt Lucas and David Walliams and about to move to tv) and The Mark Steel Solution.

BBC 7 Comedy Club: the best names in stand-up comedy, recorded live - Graham Fellows, Sean Hughes, Greg Proops, Jo Brand, Rory Bremner, Linda Smith, Hattie Hayridge and Marcus Brigstocke.


7 Drama: great radio drama, including The Piano, The French Lieutenant's Woman, This Sporting Life, A Suitable Boy, Don't Look Now, War And Peace, Little Dorrit plus the complete canon of Sherlock Holmes.

Crimes And Thrillers: Bitter Medicine (Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski), Let It Bleed (Ian Rankin's Detective Inspector Rebus), Monk's Hood, Virgin In The Ice (Ellis Peters' Cadfael), Cover Her Face, Devices And Desires (PD James' Commander Dalgleish), The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (John le Carré), Murder On The Orient Express (Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot), Fatherland (Robert Harris).

7th Dimension: leave planet earth and enter the world of aliens, daleks and dragons - The Foundation Trilogy (Isaac Asimov), Dr Who, Tales Of The Bizarre (Ray Bradbury), Pet Sematary (Stephen King).

Best Sellers: best-selling books read by leading actors and sometimes the authors themselves - Notes From A Small Island (Bill Bryson), The Shipping News (Annie Proulx), Behind The Scenes At The Museum (Kate Atkinson).

Kids' Programmes

Little Toe: stories for younger listeners every day from 7.00 to 8.00am and 3.00 to 4.00pm - Wind In The Willows, Just William, Jennings, Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan And Wendy, Doctor Doolittle, Winnie The Pooh, Treasure Island, Ballet Shoes, Charlotte's Web.

BBC 7's Big Toe: radio just for kids, with two hours each day (4.00 to 6.00pm) of games, gossip, competitions, quizzes and stories for 9-11 year-olds.

The team of eight presenters includes Jez Edwards and Kirsten O'Brien, well-known faces from CBBC, and Kevin Duala from Nickelodeon and Channel 4.

Each day's show features three children in the studio and others joining the fun by phone, email and the internet.

Story readers include Natalie Cassidy (Sonia from EastEnders) reading Anne Fine's Charm School, Ralf Little reading Neil Arksey's Brooksie, Adrian Edmundson reading Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Kathy Burke reading Dahl's The Witches and author Eoin Colfer reading his own Artemis Fowl.

Special Features

The Selection: on Saturdays Mark Radcliffe presents his selection of award-winning radio comedies, including Sony Award winners (the radio Oscars). His first programme on Saturday 21 December features the Sunday newspaper spoof The Sunday Format.

Eric Sykes presents an evening dedicated to Spike Milligan
Theme Nights: the first Sunday of every month BBC7 sets aside three hours to highlight some of the greatest stars and cult shows of all time.

The first theme night, on Sunday 5 January, is Spike Night, an evening dedicated to Spike Milligan and presented by Eric Sykes, which includes Fear Of Wages, Spike's favourite Goon Show, and More Plain Tales From The Raj (Spike talking about his childhood in India).

Comedy Controller: the first Saturday of every month a guest comedy controller takes over the BBC7 studio to schedule an evening of their favourite comedy programmes and discuss the influences on their brand of humour. First in the controller's seat, on Saturday 4 January, is Steve Punt.

BBC 7 poll to find the greatest comic

New digital station from BBC Radio (30.09.02)



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