Best of British marks BBC 100th

Drama, Comedy, Entertainment, Natural History & Children's -BBC turns 100 on October 18 and viewers get to unwrap the TV gifts.

This week marks the 100th birthday of BBC.

Founded on 18 October 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. its very first radio transmission would soon follow on November 14. The BBC Television Service officially launched in 1936.

In Australia BBC 100 will be celebrated with a week of content across BBC First, BBC Earth and UKTV all week.

There will be a special BBC 100 VOD collection featured on Foxtel, bringing hundreds of hours of audience favourites across BBC First, UKTV, BBC Earth and CBeebies together in one place. Titles include Time, Guilt, Baptiste, Shetland, Unforgotten, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife and Inside No 9 which will sit alongside documentaries from Louis Theroux, Simon Reeve, natural history shows, plus Would I Lie To You? and Qi, Absolutely Fabulous, The Graham Norton Show, Hey Duggee, Charlie and Lola and Andy’s Adventures and many more.

James Stirling, the Executive Editor of BBC 100 celebrations tells TV Tonight the Centenary is celebrated right across 2022 in the UK, having kicked with a a major Education initiative and followed by Glastonbury, and Platinum Jubilee events.

“We started the year with a very clear education initiative. Obviously, the mantra of the BBC is inform, educate, entertain. That’s something that’s been with us since like Inception and underpins the organisation to this day. I think we’ll forever do so,” he said.

“We’re incredibly proud of our history. But actually, for our Centenary, we wanted to think about the here and now, and the future. Where we’re going as an organisation, the role that we play in the UK and globally in 2022, rather than just being too nostalgic all the time.”

In the UK viewers will see a special focus from 22nd to 28th of October.

“There’s Jodie Whitaker’s last outing in Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing, it’s hard to convey how big that is. The show is 20 years old, it still has mammoth audiences in the UK. So we will certainly have a bespoke program that recognises our Centenary in October, but in the way that recognises and celebrates new talent. So it’s framing our history through a contemporary lens, how can we bring stories from the past to life with new talent?” he continued.

Top Gear is another program that we will nod to in the Centenary, and Horrible Histories has made a bespoke history of the BBC. Their fairly flippant tone will poke fun at our own expense

“There’s great natural history programs as well. We’ve already played Green Planet in the UK this year and we will have Frozen Planet II as well. So I suppose we are tapping into the genres that we are famous for.”

Unexpectedly 2022 also included the Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but audiences for milestone events are a reminder of the power of the broadcaster.

In 2023 BBC is host broadcaster for the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Liverpool on behalf of 2022 winners, Ukraine.

“Everyone would really wish that Ukraine as winners could host that. But we know that won’t happen. Certainly the BBC is very well poised to be able to produce a show like that and the UK has the infrastructure to make a show like that,” Stirling observed.

Eurovision is our biggest single music program of the year. It has a gigantic audience, as I’m sure it does, globally. We’re pretty proud to be associated with that.”

Amongst recent changes for the public broadcaster were the return of BBC3 to linear broadcasting, after it was relegated to online only in 2016.

“BBC Three, our youth orientated channel is 16 to 24 did have around five years where it played on digital platform, rather than a linear one. But it’s now back on linear but obviously has a strong digital presence as well. Shows like Killing Eve, Fleabag, and I May Destroy You were doing so well it came back for linear broadcast as well,” he explained.

“What we’ve said about the Digital First strategy is that at an unspecified time in the future, some of our smaller channels in terms of audience reach may live in a digital platform rather than a linear and I think that’s all part of the transition from linear to digital, which we know it’s gonna take a long time because linear audiences are still incredibly strong.

“But you only have to look at moments like the Queen’s Jubilee and Glastonbury to to see the huge audience figures that congregate around those live moments. I think as as time progresses, we will definitely pursue a Digital First strategy that helps us to really set set the next phase up at the BBC in terms of consumption.”

Stirling also offers some advice to ABC having just celebrated its 90th anniversary and it looks to 100.

“We’ve got a close connection with ABC, and have been talking to him about what we’ve been doing. I would say now having run this myself for two years, it’s never too early to start thinking about your Centenary!”

4 Responses

  1. More repeats, it would be good to see different content they’ve made for a change to celebrate. Watched Strictly Come Dancing on Foxtel years ago but only one season with Bruce Forsyth and Len Goodman it was very enjoyable but about 10 weeks long never to return. Ten even did one season a few years back never to return either. I’m just waiting for BBC First to have adds during the show not before or after. When it was first launched there was some great show e.g The Three Musketeers, The Gunpowder Plot and others they could show. Unfortunately Foxtel have mastered the art of rearranging the deckchairs around all the various channels and tend to drop one or two new shows on various channel once a month considering all the channels they have. They know how to market various packages so you pay extra for the content you want. The ABC have been outstanding this year, just because they are celebrating 90 I hope they continue.

    1. Dancing with the Stars returned to Seven after 10 had two seasons. But it’s obviously still huge in the UK. BBC First drops new dramas every month, plus new titles on other BBC channels such as UKTV, BBC Earth etc. Foxtel also doesn’t program BBC channels which is done by BBC in Aus.

      1. Thank you David I also check Foxtel website Coming Soon, My Foxtel app, but Seven not a big
        fan only the news, into Shetland latest season with Douglas Hensle leaving. Thanks for the heads up though.

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