The BBC: A timeline

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This is a timeline of the 90 years of the BBC.

1922

The British Broadcasting Company is formed by a group of manufacturers to make programmes that could be heard on their radio sets, with John Reith appointed general manager.

1923

With newspapers refusing to publish times of programmes, the Radio Times is produced for the first time by the BBC.

1924

King George V makes the first royal speech on the BBC, from the British Empire Exhibition.

1926

With no newspapers being produced, the BBC broadcasts five news bulletins a day during the General Strike, and is threatened with a government takeover.

1927

The BBC becomes the British Broadcasting Corporation as it is granted its first royal charter.

1931

The first gardening programme goes on air, presented by CH Middleton.

1933

Sheila Borrett becomes the first female announcer on the BBC, but is axed after only three months following complaints from listeners.

1936

The BBC broadcasts the world’s first regular high-definition television service, from Alexandra Palace.

1937

The BBC stages its first outside television broadcast for George VI’s coronation.

1940

Winston Churchill used the power of BBC radio to speak directly to the nation with his famous “we shall fight on the beaches” address.

1942

Desert Islands Discs is broadcast for the first time, with comedian Vic Oliver the first castaway.

1945

Woman’s Hour is launched, but is presented by a man, Alan Ivieson. Items included “how to hang your husband’s suit.”

1946

Jan Bussell presents the first children’s television programme, featuring the Hogarth Puppet Circus.

1948

The London Olympics become the first games to be televised.

1951

The first episode of The Archers is broadcast.

1952

Around 20 million people watch television coverage of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

1954

David Attenborough makes his first TV appearance, on Zoo Quest.

1954

The Grove Family becomes the BBC’s first television soap opera.

1958

Blue Peter goes on air for the first time.

1960

The new BBC television centre opens, at Shepherd’s Bush.

1963

The first episode of Doctor Who goes on air.

1964

BBC 2 starts broadcasting for the first time.

1967

Radio 1 starts broadcasting, with Tony Blackburn the first presenter on air.

1969

The first all-night BBC TV broadcast is staged for the first Moon landing.

1971

The first Open University programmes are broadcast on the BBC.

1972

John Craven presents the first children’s news programme, Newsround.

1974

The Family, featuring the working-class Wilkins clan, is the first fly-on-the-wall TV documentary.

1978

Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven is broadcast.

1979

Radio 2 becomes the first BBC station to broadcast 24 hours a day.

1980

The BBC’s first Children in Need appeal raises more than £1 million.

1981

An estimated 750 million people worldwide watch coverage of the Royal Wedding.

1983

The UK’s first breakfast television service launches on BBC 1.

1983

The Christmas Day edition of new soap EastEnders becomes the BBC’s most watched programme ever.

1990

Regular TV broadcasts from the House of Commons are finally given the go-ahead.

1994

Noel Edmonds hosts the first National Lottery draw.

1995

Diana, Princess of Wales, gives a dramatic 40-minute interview to Panorama presenter Martin Bashir.

1997

The News 24 TV service is launched.

1998

Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon is sacked over claims he took cocaine.

2002

The first concerts are broadcast from Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

2003

Defence journalist Andrew Gilligan tells listeners to Radio Four’s Today programme that an unnamed source says that the Government have “sexed up” a dossier claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

2004

Strictly come Dancing sparks a new wave of interest in dancing.

2005

Doctor Who makes a comeback, with Christopher Eccleston in the lead role.

2007

The BBC launches its iPlayer service, allowing viewers to catch up on programmes online for the first time.

2010

EastEnders celebrates 25 years with a special edition that reveals the murderer of Archie Mitchell.

2012

ITV broadcasts a documentary alleging that former Top of the Pops presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused schoolgirls as far back as the 1970s.