83 Facts About BBC


BBC is established under a royal charter and operates under its agreement with the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

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From its inception, through the Second World War, to the popularisation of television in the post-WW2 era and the internet in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the BBC has played a prominent role in British life and culture.

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BBC was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved domestic manufacturers.

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The BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising.

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Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss-making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise.

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The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 general strike broke out in May The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production, and with restrictions on news bulletins waived, the BBC suddenly became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis.

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The government was divided on how to handle the BBC, but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own.

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The resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment, or that the BBC had banned broadcasts from the Labour Party and delayed a peace appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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BBC did well out of the crisis, which cemented a national audience for its broadcasting, and it was followed by the Government's acceptance of the recommendation made by the Crawford Committee that the British Broadcasting Company be replaced by a non-commercial, Crown-chartered organisation: the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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At a time when American, Australian and Canadian stations were drawing huge audiences cheering for their local teams with the broadcast of baseball, rugby and hockey, the BBC emphasised service for a national rather than a regional audience.

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Boat races were well covered along with tennis and horse racing, but the BBC was reluctant to spend its severely limited air time on long football or cricket games, regardless of their popularity.

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The BBC excluded popular foreign music and musicians from its broadcasts, while promoting British alternatives.

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In 1935, the BBC censored the broadcasts of Oswald Mosley and Harry Pollitt.

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The censorship of political discourse by the BBC was a precursor to the total shutdown of political debate that manifested over the BBC's wartime airwaves.

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From 1935 to 1939, the BBC attempted to unite the British Empire's radio waves, sending staff to Egypt, Palestine, Newfoundland, Jamaica, India, Canada and South Africa.

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Success of broadcasting provoked animosities between the BBC and well-established media such as theatres, concert halls and the recording industry.

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The BBC moved most of its radio operations out of London, initially to Bristol, and then to Bedford.

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On 18 June 1940, French general Charles de Gaulle, in exile in London as the leader of the Free French, made a speech, broadcast by the BBC, urging the French people not to capitulate to the Nazis.

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Regional BBC workers, based on their regional geo-political climate, would then further censor the material their broadcasts would cover.

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The BBC argued that like the Italian or German languages, listeners would be irritated by the inclusion of enemy composers.

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Competition to the BBC was introduced in 1955, with the commercial and independently operated television network of ITV.

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BBC2 used the higher resolution 625-line standard which had been standardised across Europe.

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BBC2 was broadcast in colour from 1 July 1967 and was joined by BBC1 and ITV on 15 November 1969.

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The 405-line VHF transmissions of BBC1 were continued for compatibility with older television receivers until 1985.

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In 1978, BBC staff went on strike just before the Christmas, thus blocking out the transmission of both channels and amalgamating all four radio stations into one.

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Since the deregulation of the UK television and radio market in the 1980s, the BBC has faced increased competition from the commercial sector, especially on satellite television, cable television, and digital television services.

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In 1987, BBC decided to centralize its operations by the management team with the radio and television divisions joining forces together for the first time, the activities of the news and currents departments and coordinated jointly under the new directorate.

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BBC Enterprises was reorganised and relaunched in 1995, as BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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The BBC was responsible for the development of the NICAM stereo standard.

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The BBC purchased The Parliamentary Channel, which was renamed BBC Parliament.

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In January 2007, the BBC released minutes of the board meeting which led to Greg Dyke's resignation.

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In 2006, BBC HD launched as an experimental service, and became official in December 2007.

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Since 2017, the BBC has funded the Local Democracy Reporting Service, with up to 165 journalists employed by independent news organisations to report on local democracy issues on a pooled basis.

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BBC is a statutory corporation, independent from direct government intervention, with its activities being overseen from April 2017 by the BBC Board and regulated by Ofcom.

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The BBC took up a policy of denying any suggestion of such a relationship by the press.

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In October 1985, the BBC announced that it would stop the vetting process, except for a few people in top roles, as well as those in charge of Wartime Broadcasting Service emergency broadcasting and staff in the BBC World Service.

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BBC has the second largest budget of any UK-based broadcaster with an operating expenditure of £4.

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BBC pursues its licence fee collection and enforcement under the trading name "TV Licensing".

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BBC uses advertising campaigns to inform customers of the requirement to pay the licence fee.

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Until it closed at the end of March 2013, BBC Television was based at BBC Television Centre, a purpose built television facility opened in 1960 located in White City, four miles west of central London.

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BBC Scotland, based in Pacific Quay, Glasgow is a large producer of programmes for the network, including several quiz shows.

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BBC Midlands, based at The Mailbox in Birmingham, produces drama and contains the headquarters for the English regions and the BBC's daytime output.

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BBC operates several news gathering centres in various locations around the world, which provide news coverage of that region to the national and international news operations.

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In 2004, the BBC contracted out its former BBC Technology division to the German engineering and electronics company Siemens IT Solutions and Services, outsourcing its IT, telephony and broadcast technology systems.

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Siemens staff working on the BBC contract were transferred to Atos; the BBC's Information Technology systems are now managed by Atos.

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BBC stated that supplier accountability had been strengthened following some high-profile technology failures which had taken place during the partnership with Siemens.

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BBC One is a regionalised TV service which provides opt-outs throughout the day for local news and other local programming.

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In 2019, the Scottish variation of BBC Two ceased operation and was replaced with the networked version in favour of the BBC Scotland channel.

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BBC Two was the first channel to be transmitted on 625 lines in 1964, then carry a small-scale regular colour service from 1967.

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BBC currently operates HD simulcasts of all its nationwide channels with the exception of BBC Parliament.

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Since 1975, the BBC has provided its TV programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service, allowing members of UK military serving abroad to watch them on four dedicated TV channels.

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Since 2008, all the BBC channels are available to watch online through the BBC iPlayer service.

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In March 2014, the BBC confirmed plans for BBC Three to become an internet-only channel.

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BBC has ten radio stations serving the whole of the UK, a further seven stations in the "national regions", and 39 other local stations serving defined areas of England.

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Historically, the BBC was the only legal radio broadcaster based in the UK mainland until 1967, when University Radio York, then under the name Radio York, was launched as the first, and now oldest, legal independent radio station in the country.

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However, the BBC did not enjoy a complete monopoly before this, as several Continental stations, such as Radio Luxembourg, had broadcast programmes in English to Britain since the 1930s and the Isle of Man-based Manx Radio began in 1964.

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BBC programming is available to other services and in other countries.

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Since 1943, the BBC has provided radio programming to the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which broadcasts in countries where British troops are stationed.

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The previous all-time high at BBC Online was caused by the announcement of the Michael Jackson verdict, which used 7.

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BBC Jam was a free online service, delivered through broadband and narrowband connections, providing high-quality interactive resources designed to stimulate learning at home and at school.

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In recent years, some major on-line companies and politicians have complained that BBC Online receives too much funding from the television licence, meaning that other websites are unable to compete with the vast amount of advertising-free on-line content available on BBC Online.

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BBC Proms have been produced by the BBC every year since 1927, stepping in to fund the popular classical music festival when music publishers Chappell and Co withdrew their support.

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The BBC is responsible for the broadcast of Glastonbury Festival, Reading Festival and United Kingdom coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest, a show with which the broadcaster has been associated for over 60 years.

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The BBC operates the division of BBC Audiobooks sometimes found in association with Chivers Audiobooks.

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BBC operates other ventures in addition to their broadcasting arm.

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The BBC developed several computers throughout the 1980s, most notably the BBC Micro, which ran alongside the corporation's educational aims and programming.

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In 1951, in conjunction with Oxford University Press the BBC published The BBC Hymn Book which was intended to be used by radio listeners to follow hymns being broadcast.

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BBC Magazines was sold to Exponent Private Equity in 2011, which merged it with Origin Publishing to form Immediate Media Company.

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BBC Studios publishes books, to accompany programmes such as Doctor Who under the BBC Books brand, a publishing imprint majority owned by Random House.

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The BBC introduced the world's first "high-definition" 405-line television service in 1936.

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However, the arrival of BBC2 allowed the BBC to make programmes for minority interests in drama, documentaries, current affairs, entertainment, and sport.

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Long-running BBC shows include: Desert Island Discs, broadcast on radio since 1942; Panorama, broadcast on BBC television since 1953 it is the world's longest-running news television programme.

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Term "BBC English" was used as an alternative name for Received Pronunciation, and the English Pronouncing Dictionary uses the term "BBC Pronunciation" to label its recommendations.

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From its "starchy" beginnings, the BBC has become more inclusive, and now attempts to accommodate the interests of all strata of society and all minorities, because they all pay the licence fee.

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David Bowie's recording sessions at the BBC were released as Bowie at the Beeb, while Queen's recording sessions with the BBC were released as At the Beeb.

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The term "Auntie" for the BBC is often credited to radio disc-jockey Jack Jackson.

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In October 2014, the BBC Trust issued the "BBC complaints framework", outlining complaints and appeals procedures.

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BBC has long faced accusations from conservatives of liberal and left-wing bias.

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In 2011, Peter Sissons, a main news presenter at the BBC from 1989 to 2009, said that "at the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left".

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Conversely, writing for The Guardian, the left-wing columnist Owen Jones stated "the truth is the BBC is stacked full of rightwingers, " and cited as an example of bias its employment of "ultra-Thatcherite" Andrew Neil as a politics presenter.

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In 2008, the BBC was criticised by some for referring to the men who carried out the November 2008 Mumbai attacks as "gunmen" rather than "terrorists".

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The BBC presenter resigned from his post in 2010 once the allegations of his participation in the revolution became public.

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BBC's inverted variant of the second three-box logo used from 1963 until 1971.

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