Dial B for Britain: The Story of the Landline

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Dial B for Britain: The Story of the Landline

Series 17



Smartphone “zombies” might be a curse on modern pavements, but when telephones were first introduced into Victorian houses, they were seen as stains on the sanctity of home life – “thundering nuisances” as one clip in this fun, fact-filled history of the landline network has it.

Victoria Coren Mitchell’s arch narration places the changes in our phone habits in their wider social contexts, while excellent contributors, including GPO engineers and switchboard operators, provide juicy details, such as the story of the first act of phone-box vandalism (in 1907!) and a switchboard operator’s delightful tale of the misunderstanding over a plummy woman’s request for the “Countess of Ayr’s” number.


Victoria Coren Mitchell narrates this Timeshift documentary telling the story of how Britain's phone network was built over the course of 100 years, from early call boxes to the Post Office Tower, and its impact on the public.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Victoria Coren Mitchell
Executive Producer John Das
Producer Andy Hall
Documentary Science