What is the BBC World Service Digital Archive Project?
Before the World Service moved out of its old headquarters, Bush House, thousands of tapes were digitised. The BBC World Service Digital Archive Project aims to put around 24,000 of these digitised programmes onto the website.
Archive Contact Information
Many programmes restored as part of the World Service Digital archive project belong to series which are no longer broadcast, and as such any postal or email addresses, or any other contact details read out during the programme are no longer relevant and your query will not be dealt with. If you wish to contact the BBC, please email us.
All competitions mentioned in archive programmes are now closed. Please do not try to enter via any method referenced in the programme, your entry will not count and you may incur a charge in attempting to do so.
Why are there some programmes with out-of-date views on the site?
Both contributor opinions and broadcasting standards have changed over time. The world has changed and the archive reflects how things were seen at the time, both in terms of language and depiction of society.
The language used throughout the archive reflects the tastes and standards at the time of original broadcast, and some of it may not be acceptable now. However, our broadcasts are a record of the BBC's history and as such, it is of historical and cultural interest, which the BBC has not sought to rewrite.
Audio from the BBC World Service archive should be listened to in the context of the past, remembering that it reflects the attitudes and standards of its time - not those of today.
Why does the archive stop in June 2008?
In June 2008 the BBC World Service began to make programmes available online in their current format.
What audio has been made available from the archive?
Not all audio has been restored as part of the BBC World Service archive project. A few programmes have been found and restored from the 1970s and 1980s, a more significant number of programmes from the 1990s and 2000s have been made available.
What is not included in the archive?
Some programmes have not been included for technical reasons - for example the main reason that programmes have not been restored is that the magnetic audio tapes on which programmes were recorded were reused or lost. Other programmes have not been included for legal reasons, and some audio has not been made available for other privacy or editorial policy reasons.
Do you have something to add to the programme information?
Do you know something about a programme that we do not? Can you identify contributors featured in a programme? You can also let us know whether a programme was actually broadcast as scheduled, or share any additional information you have about a programme.
Please email us, it would be great to hear from you. We will not share any contact details or personal information.
Have we got something wrong?
We would very much like to hear from you to let us know about any errors, gaps or anomalies by contacting us, because it helps us make sure we are picking up all the problems. Please email us. We will not share any contact details or personal information.
Are the broadcast times accurate?
Not always, no. The dates on programmes have come from the original audio tape label - these dates may have been a broadcast date, or equally, may have been the date a programme was recorded.
Schedules then, as now, were subject to change. In the early years of BBC broadcasting, technical breakdowns, as well as other difficulties, prompted changes to the published schedule. Throughout the BBC's broadcast history, changes in live broadcasts and major world events have meant that programme details did not always remain accurate. The scheduling of programmes on BBC World Service, for different time zones means that identifying a date of broadcast can be difficult.
You can let us know about accurate broadcast dates by emailing us.
How can I complain about something in the archive?
If you would like to make a complaint, please fill in the form on this page.