History of the BBC

Explore the history of the BBC since its foundation in 1922 to the present day

Explore more than 100 years of the BBC’s history – click on our interactive timeline or investigate a topical anniversary, unpack the story of fascinating objects from our varied collections, or go in-depth via one of our long-form articles.

And tell us your memories of what the BBC means to you.

  • AnniversariesThe first of the classic television interview series Face to Face aired on 4 February 1959. Each episode featured an extended live interview with one guest, conducted by John Freeman. Interviewer and interviewee faced each other in an otherwise darkened studio. The result was a popular programme that frequently produced dramatic and revealing interviews and created a high-watermark in serious television.
  • The VoiceLineDon’t miss the unique VoiceLine project. Created by sound artist Nick Ryan in the brand new public space at the heart of Westminster, it uses 100 years of BBC archive to transport the urban pedestrian on an evocative journey through space and time.
  • Objects of the BBCThe first week of February is National Storytelling Week. Stories have always been at the heart of the BBC, especially in programming for the very young, such as Listen/Watch with Mother. Do you remember Bill and Ben?
  • Faces of the BBCOne of the most popular and idiosyncratic on air storytellers was Kenneth Williams. Here he is in full flow… Explore other iconic BBC photos from our BBC Faces collection.
  • Voices of the BBCFrom the BBC Oral History Collection here are the key personalities, producers, and innovators that tell the inside story of the BBC.
  • TimelineOur timeline brings together a selection of the BBC's best-known programmes and an overview of some of the many milestones that have shaped the corporation over the years.
  • New Research for BBC 100BBC History collaborates with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), involving people in new research projects exploring the BBC’s impact over time, from health stories triggered by the drama Call the Midwife to the Asian community’s engagement with the BBC during the 1960s.
  • BBC ExhibitionsLocations around the UK where the BBC’s collection of fascinating models, props, costumes and archive are on tour.
  • PlaquesThe BBC Heritage Trail brings together newly commissioned blue plaques and existing plaque schemes to celebrate the buildings used for broadcasting over the decades. Also featured are plaques installed as part of David Olusoga’s landmark series Black and British - A Forgotten History, and the BBC Music Day plaques created for BBC Local Radio.
  • Share Your MemoriesTell us about your favourite moments from BBC programmes and what they mean to you. With over 100 years of the BBC there's a lot to choose from, be it major news moments, international and national events, comedy, sport, natural history, science and technology, music, and the arts.
  • BBC ArchiveHand-picked and popular selections from the BBC archives.
  • BBC Research BlogResearch articles on the BBC Blog
  • BBC Programme IndexExplore the BBC’s historical listings information from 1922 to the present day.
  • Connected Histories of the BBCA University of Sussex-AHRC research project
  • British Entertainment History ProjectThe UK's largest oral history collection of interviews with professionals from across the film, television, radio and theatre industries.
  • BBC Memory BankGiving longstanding and retired staff the opportunity to write their part of the unofficial history of the BBC.
  • BBC FourThe destination to discover the most distinctive content from the BBC's rich archive.
  • Archive on FourBrilliant stories told using archive from the BBC and beyond.