What is the BBC?

BBC photo 


The BBC is the British Broadcasting Company.   The BBC is ‘public service’ television and radio network.   If you have a television in the UK and watch televisions programmes you must buy a television licence.  The money from the licence pays for BBC programmes on television and radio.  Most of the money for the BBC comes from UK households.  There are no commercial advertisements* on BBC channels. 

When did the BBC start?

The BBC was created* in London on 18th October 1922 by a group of men who were wireless manufacturers*.  One of the men was Italian inventor* Guglielmo Marconi.  On November 14th, 1922 the BBC began broadcasting news daily.  They also broadcasted dramas* and talk shows. In September 1923 the BBC started a magazine called ‘The Radio Times’ which told listeners the times the radio programmes were on.  The Radio Times is still sold today.

BBC Radio and Television.

Before television some people listened to the radio or went to the cinema to watch silent (no sound) films.  In 1924, Scottish inventor, John Logie Baird helped invent the television.  He was the first man to show televisions to the world.  The first picture was of a cross.  In 1927 Baird sent pictures from London to Glasgow through the telephone line and in 1928 sent picture to America.

In 1936 the BBC started showing television programmes although, at this point, most people did not have a television. A year later they broadcasted the coronation* of King George V and a year after, Egyptian radio presenter Ahmad Kamal Sourour Effendi introduced the first foreign language programme.  Today there are programmes in 28 languages including English on the BBC World Service, listened to by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s three regular programmes started.  ‘Woman’s Hour’ and ‘Desert Island Discs’ and ‘The Archers’.  These programmes are still on the radio today on BBC Radio Four.  There were also televisions shows for children and weather.  In the 1970’s the first children’s news programme began called ‘Newsround’ and the BBC began to work with ‘The Open University’.  The Open University is a university for older students who want to get a qualification but have commitments* such as family or job which stops them attending university full-time.  The BBC made, and still makes, programmes with The Open University.

The BBC makes money by selling many of its programmes to other countries or by selling DVD’s, toys, games, magazines and books from its shows.  Some of the programmes that have been sold abroad* are Strictly Come Dancing, The Office, Sherlock, Spooks, Planet Earth, Lonely Planet, The Musketeers and Doctor Who.


Advertisements: videos or pictures that try to sell products. On television there are advertisements before, after and during television programmes on most channels.


Created: made – The new supermarket has created 50 new jobs.


Manufacturer: a person or company that produces (makes) things. For example, ‘BMW manufacture cars’.


Inventor: Someone who creates something for the first time. For example, ‘The telephone was invented by famous Scottish inventor and scientist Alexander Graham Bell’.


Drama: a serious play for theatre, radio or television.


Coronation: When a new king or queen is crowned.


Commitments: Responsibilities such as paying bills and looking after family.


Abroad: Other countries from one’s own.

 Photo: depositphotos.com





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