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Friday, 25 February 2011

The BBC

Lord Reith 1889 - 1971
(img.dailymail.co.uk)

John Reith is regarded as the founding father of the BBC. This is not because he conceived or pushed for the idea but because he single-handedly was responsible for it's early success and many innovations and 'firsts'.


Reith was a dour puritanical Scotsman of a 'high moral standard', (his words!) Early announcers on the radio had to wear full evening dress and adhere to an extremely strict code of practice. His methods were to become imbued within the ethos of the BBC and, to this day, it is a by-word for unbiased straight reporting. It carries no paid advertisements on any of it's TV or radio stations.  
Although it is a public body, financed mainly by a license which British television viewers must purchase at a cost of £145 (about $234) per annum, it is independent of the government. This had led to conflict on several occasions notably during the General Strike of 1926 and again during the Falklands War in 1982.
Alexandra Palace overlooking  north London
(yourlocalweb.co.uk)
In 1936 regular TV programmes began to be broadcast from Alexandra Palace set in Alexandra Park high above north London, but they were interupted by the Second World War and resumed afterwards. It is now the world's largest broadcasting company employing 23,000 people. It's original aim was to "inform, educate and entertain" and that aim has not changed to this day.
It has been responsible for many breakthroughs in broadcasting and it's doubtful that anything so 'off the wall' as Monty Python's Flying Circus would have been made by any other TV company in the world. At present it's website gets 3.6 billion hits per month! In the UK the organisation is affectionately known as the 'Beeb'. Millions of people around the world depend on it's broadcasts, in many languages, to learn what their governments deem not to tell them.
The BBC's motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation".

13 comments:

Kelly said...

We enjoy watching the BBC over here in America. The shows, no matter what genre they fall under, offer quality programs. I especially enjoy NOVA. The back history you provided about the founder was interesting. He sounded a bit on the uptight side, but, on the positive side of that, it helped him adhere to a strict high standard of doing things.

Solid, informative post, bazza.

bazza said...

Hi Kelly: Funnily enough NOVA is made in Boston but it is based on the BBC programme Horizon. Horizon is a prime-time science programme that sometimes deals with some very complicated issues. I am glad that the 'Beeb'is appreciated overseas.

THE SNEE said...

I love to listen and watch the Beeb. It's where I tune in when I'm not sure that the news I'm receiving is accurate. It usually gives other points of view so that I can widen my horizon so to speak.

The history of John Reith is pretty interesting. It just goes to show you that stiff and puritanical needn't be synonymous with close minded! I enjoyed this read Bazza!

John said...

Hi bazza,
A very interesting read my friend, I thankyou for increasing my knowledge on the BBC as well as all the other subjects you discuss on here. You are a wealth of information!
J
Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

bazza said...

Snee: I am happy about that, Rebecca. I think western nations take their free media for granted sometimes. The shadow of Reith still haunts the corridors of the 'Beeb'!

John: That's just how I feel about your blog which I recommend to all my visitors!

David said...

Dear bazza,
What would we do without old "aunty" beeb?
Frankly, despite the cost of the license fee, I think maintaining the BBC's independence is becomoing more and more important in this multi-media age. God forbid we should all end up watching things run by the thoroughly unpleasant Rupert Murdoch. Yuk!
Yours with Very Best Wishes,
David.

Alicia said...

Thank you for such interesting information on one of my most trusted news sources. I never knew most of this!

bazza said...

David: I feel the same way. (In case Murdoch's lawyers are reading this - no I don't! ha ha).

Alicia: The BBC is such a large corporation now that it's easy to forget it's humble origins less than a century ago.

Meg Rosoff said...

Thanks for that. I've said it before, will say it again. The BBC is the best thing about Britain.

bazza said...

Hi Meg. I'm not sure if you mean that as a complement to Britain or if you are disappointed by the fact! I'll take it as a complement.

klahanie said...

Ah yes, the BBC. A highly respectable broadcaster noted for some wonderful programs and documentaries.
Apparently, you need a license to watch the BBC. They were not amused when I phoned them and told them that I hadn't passed the test and still had an 'L' sticker on my TV screen :)
Have a good weekend, bazza.

bazza said...

Gary: Did you know you require a licence if you receive TV programmes by any means whatsoever? So, if one only watches TV on a computer you still need a licence but you can get a good discount if you only wish to recieve in black and white!
Have a good weekend yourself sir.

bazza said...

I have a technical problem that for some reason is stopping me from posting comments on other blogs! Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible (that's an old BBC line from the early days!)