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75 Years

BBC World Service 1932 - 2007



This year the BBC World Service celebrates 75 years of broadcasting. In this audio archive, each of those years is looked at in a special one-minute-long programme, based on our vast radio archive.

Helen Boaden
Helen Boaden presents this series and is the BBC's Director of News
Presented by Helen Boaden, the BBC's Director of News, the series looks at how mass communications have changed the world, and how the world has changed the media.

The series begins in 1932, with the rather downbeat words of the BBC's founder, Lord Reith: "as to programmes - don't expect too much in the early days... The programmes will neither be very interesting nor very good."

It covers innovations in broadcasting and charts changing styles in reporting.

Unforgettable moments

But the highlights are those unforgettable moments from radio and television that bring 20th century history to life: the abdication speech of Edward VIII; the Hindenburg airship going up in flames; the War of the Worlds panic in the US; Charles de Gaulle speaking to the Free French from the BBC in 1940; Churchill's famous speeches; Hungarian Free Radio's last desperate call for help as Russian tanks rolled into Budapest; the first man on the moon.

BBC World Service's 75th anniversary brandin
BBC World Service celebtrates its 75th anniversary this year
And in amongst those well-known moments is some astonishing radio, from propaganda jazz songs from World War II, to the sound of Radio Mille Collines, the station whose hate-filled broadcasts played such a key role in the horrific Rwandan genocide in 1994.

This 75th anniversary has given the BBC World Service a chance to look back at what has been achieved by broadcasting over the years, to dig through its archives, and to find some truly amazing gems.

Taken altogether, they provide an insight into not just the history of broadcasting - but the history of the world.

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