BBC reveals new archive that allows access to 200,000 programmes – and early editions of Radio Times

The BBC's new Programme Index boasts transmissions ranging from 1923 up until the present day.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) logo hangs on a BBC building

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.

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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!”

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”.

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You can check out the BBC Programme Index via its website. Looking for something to watch? Check out our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.