Tuesday, 2 February 2016


From 1984 (or, possibly, 1983): the cover of the BBC ANNUAL REPORT AND HANDBOOK, spotlighting BREAKFAST TIME (the still was, presumably, taken in the gallery of Breakfast Time's Lime Grove studios, one of several different centres in West London dotted around the Shepherd's Bush area).

The BBC Annual Report was a statutory requirement for the publicly funded Corporation beginning in 1927. The BBC Handbook, originally a separate publication, began a year later. The two were merged in 1973 and this arrangement continued through to the last combined edition in 1987. 

Print copies of the Annual Report continued into the new millennium. The handbook was replaced by SEE FOR YOURSELF, an extended TV programme (first aired in 1987) that covered all aspects of the BBC's operations in a self congratulatory but called-to-account fashion. The annual programme continued for several years (sometimes accompanied by a RADIO TIMES supplement) before being quietly abandoned in the early nineties. Ideal for media geeks, it left its intended audience cold. 

Tucked away somewhere I have a copy of the 1938 (I think) BBC Annual Report (a lucky book store find) which, amongst other gems, predicts the overseas services might be important in the year ahead in the light of increasing tensions in Europe. They got that right. 

The IBA, of course, published their own version celebrating the accomplishments of Independent Television and Independent Local Radio. Ideal for finding out how many VT machines your local ITV outpost owned. 

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