After ninety years, during which time even the Nazis failed to halt publication in a bid to destroy the spirits of the radio-loving British, Radio Times is marking its birthday with an exhibition at the Museum of London.
Cover Story: Radio Times at 90 celebrates the history of the magazine which was last night named Consumer Magazine of Year at the Professional Publishers Association awards.
It will tell the story of broadcasting in Britain and showcase some of its iconic covers from the last nine decades of the magazine, which was first published by the BBC in London on 28 September 1923.
Alongside audio of landmark broadcasts, archive clips and broadcast artefacts, the exhibition will include original Radio Times photography and artwork. These includes pieces by CRW Nevinson, John Gilroy and influential British graphic designer Abram Games – with cover stars ranging from Tony Hancock, The Goon Show, EastEnders, Coronation Street and Call The Midwife.
The exhibition also features an exclusive Doctor Who display including genuine life-size Dalek against a backdrop of Westminster Bridge. This recreates the 2005 “Vote Dalek” Radio Times cover which was voted most iconic cover of all time in the Periodical Publishers Association’s Great Cover Debate in 2008.
Other highlights include an original 1941 Luftwaffe Stadtplan von London map (original) which reveals that the Radio Times’ Waterlows printing plant in Park Royal, London, was a Nazi air-raid target. Damaging the magazine’s print run was seen by the Nazis as a crucial part of the propaganda war and a means of undermining British morale.
Ben Preston, Radio Times Editor, said, “To flick through the covers of Radio Times over the past 90 years is to watch a popular history of Britain unfold: Royal weddings; Coronations; the outbreak of war and peace; moon landings and even a victorious World Cup, household names created and stars born – all have graced the cover of Radio Times.
“No other magazine can rival Radio Times for showcasing the work of some of the nation’s finest artists and photographers, creating unforgettable magazine covers that resonate today. In our 90th year, it is fantastic to work with the Museum of London to celebrate Radio Times heritage and continued success.”
Jim Gledhill, Museum of London Curator added: “The history of broadcasting in Britain has strong associations with London as the birthplace of the BBC. Radio Times has been an integral part of this history, so it is fitting that the Museum of London mark its 90th anniversary.”
* Cover Story: Radio Times at 90 is free to visitors, and is open from Friday 2 August 2013 until Sunday 3 November 2013 at the Museum of London.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.