In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Decimalisation 2


1971. Do we need a new 25p coin?

When decimal coins were introduced in 1971 it spelt the end for the old halfpenny, the 'three-penny bit', the 'tanner' and the 'bob'.

The new coins were: ½p, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p. The pound remained a paper note.

This clip, recorded six months after decimalisation, considers the need to introduce another coin, worth somewhere between 10p and 50p.

The speakers are John Hosker of the Consumers' Association and Noel Moore, one of the senior civil servants responsible for overseeing decimalisation.

In fact the new coin - the 20p - was not introduced until 1982. Thereafter: the new halfpenny coin was retired in 1984 (it had insufficient value and actually cost more to make than it was worth); the paper pound was replaced by a coin later the same year; the £2 coin was introduced in 1998.



There does seem a little bit of evidence that a new denomination coin might be useful, somewhere between 10p and 50p, and one of the suggestions I've heard is that it should actually be a 20p coin.


I think that's an interesting one. I think, first of all, if we were to have an intermediate coin between the 10 and the 50, it would probably be a 20 rather than a 25. It's easier to count in 20s than to count in 25s.


So, now that it is almost completed with the end of the copper and the threepenny bit this week, a conclusion from the Consumers' Association:


On the whole it was handled extremely smoothly. It didn't cause an awful lot of problems. What we would all really like to know, and what none of us have yet found a way of checking, is just what it cost to the average consumer, and that's the very difficult thing.

Programmes to download

Programmes to download at any time

Download programmes

A collection of programmes to download as mp3 files at any time. Includes dance and music.



Current podcasts

See all School Radio and other Learning podcasts available from the BBC Podcast Directory.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact us

We are always pleased to receive your feedback, suggestions and pupils' work.

Perform our School Musicals

Perform our School Musicals

School Musicals

Our performance scripts for 9 to 11s, complete with music, songs and special effects to download.

Macbeth for mobile and tablet

Macbeth videos for mobile and tablet

Macbeth animations

Watch Macbeth animated in 8 short video episodes for mobile/tablet. See the Teacher Notes.

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War

Coming in the Autumn term: a new reading of Carrie's War in 10 episodes. Series begins 20/09/2016.

Curriculum for Excellence

100 years since World War 1

WW1 Performance Pack

WW1 Performance Pack

Commemorate 100 years since WW1 by staging our specially-written play 'Archie Dobson's War'.

Private Peaceful - listen now!

Click to listen to Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Private Peaceful

All 13 episodes of Michael Morpurgo's moving WW1 story are available to listen to online.

Teacher's notes

Teacher's Notes

Online Teacher's Notes

Notes to support the programmes including details of all the series content.