If you’ve ever wanted to time travel via your television set, then you’re in luck (sort of) – the BBC has updated its programming archive to include a host of transmissions from 1923 to the present day.
Formerly known as BBC Genome, the BBC’s Programme Index now makes the broadcaster’s archive more accessible than ever, with viewers able to browse over 10 million listings, 200,000 playable programmes and even early editions of Radio Times magazine.
The BBC announced the news in a tweet, previewing the website’s new look with the caption: “*Drum roll* BBC Genome has grown up…please say hello to Programme Index!”
*Drum roll*— BBC Genome (@bbcgenome) June 16, 2021
BBC Genome has grown up… please say hello to Programme Index!
Now you can browse 10 million listings, watch or listen to more than 200K playable programmes and browse early editions of Radio Times - all in the same place. https://t.co/lgS0X69SeQ pic.twitter.com/cCnVsTBmu3
From a 1955 interview with writer and director Orson Welles and a 1970 documentary about the Carry On films, to an episode of Stacey Dooley’s Between the Covers which aired earlier this month, there’s a wide array of watchable programmes available to stream on the archive, as well as audio records from BBC Radio shows like historic episodes of Desert Island Discs.
As for copies of Radio Times magazine, the archive features pages from those published between 1923 and 1959, while just the listings copies published between 1959 and 2009 are available.
The programming data added to the Genome archive was extracted from copies of Radio Times from each week between 1923 to 2009 before being filtered through optical character recognition technology to recreate schedules for most of the BBC’s broadcast history.
With the Programme Index being a historical record of the BBC’s planned output, the broadcaster added that it “should be viewed in this context and with the understanding that historical listings reflect the attitudes and standards of their time – not those of today”.