|Industry||TV network station|
|Headquarters||Television Centre, London|
BBC Television is a service of the BBC. The corporation has operated public television services in the United Kingdom under the terms of a royal charter since 1927. It produced television programmes from its own studios from 1932, although the start of its regular service of television broadcasts is dated to 2 November 1936.
The BBC's domestic television channels have no commercial advertising and collectively they accounted for more than 30% of all UK viewing in 2013.The services are funded by a television licence.
As a result of the 2016 Licence Fee settlement, the BBC Television division was split, with in-house television production being separated into a new division called BBC Studios and the remaining parts of television (channels and genre commissioning, BBC Sport, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer) being renamed as BBC Content.
The BBC operates several television networks, television stations (although there is generally very little distinction between the two terms in the UK), and related programming services in the United Kingdom. As well as being a broadcaster, the corporation also produces a large number of its own programmes in-house and thereby ranks as one of the world's largest television production companies.
John Logie Baird set up the Baird Television Development Company in 1926; on 30 September 1929, he made the first experimental television broadcast for the BBC from its studio in Long Acre in the Covent Garden area of London via the BBC's London transmitter. Baird used his electromechanical system with a vertically-scanned image of 30 lines, which is just enough resolution for a close-up of one person, and a bandwidth low enough to use existing radio transmitters. The simultaneous transmission of sound and pictures was achieved on 30 March 1930, by using the BBC's new twin transmitter at Brookmans Park. By late 1930, thirty minutes of morning programmes were broadcast from Monday to Friday, and thirty minutes at midnight on Tuesdays and Fridays after BBC radio went off the air. Baird's broadcasts via the BBC continued until June 1932.
The BBC began its own regular television programming from the basement of Broadcasting House, London, on 22 August 1932. The studio moved to larger quarters in 16 Portland Place, London, in February 1934, and continued broadcasting the 30-line images, carried by telephone line to the medium wave transmitter at Brookmans Park, until 11 September 1935, by which time advances in all-electronic television systems made the electromechanical broadcasts obsolete.
After a series of test transmissions and special broadcasts that began in August 1936, the BBC Television Service officially launched on 2 November 1936 from a converted wing of Alexandra Palace in London."Ally Pally" housed two studios, various scenery stores, make-up areas, dressing rooms, offices, and the transmitter itself, which then broadcast on the VHF band. BBC television initially used two systems on alternate weeks: the 240-line Baird intermediate film system and the 405-line Marconi-EMI system. The use of both formats made the BBC's service the world's first regular high-definition television service; it broadcast from Monday to Saturday between 15:00 and 16:00, and 21:00 and 22:00. The first programme broadcast – and thus the first ever, on a dedicated TV channel – was "Opening of the BBC Television Service" at 15:00. The first major outside broadcast was the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937.
The two systems were to run on a trial basis for six months; early television sets supported both resolutions. However, the Baird system, which used a mechanical camera for filmed programming and Farnsworth image dissector cameras for live programming, proved too cumbersome and visually inferior, and ended with closedown (at 22:00) on Saturday 30 January 1937. It was advertised in Radio Times for 2 weeks later but the decision to end the Baird system was made too late for it be changed in the printed Radio Times.
Initially, the station's range was officially a 40 kilometres radius of the Alexandra Palace transmitter—in practice, however, transmissions could be picked up a good deal further away, and on one occasion in 1938 were picked up by engineers at RCA in New York, who were experimenting with a British television set.The service was reaching an estimated 25,000–40,000 homes before the outbreak of World War II which caused the service to be suspended in September 1939.
On 1 September 1939, two days before Britain declared war on Germany, the station was taken off air with little warning;the government was concerned that the VHF transmissions would act as a beacon to enemy aircraft homing in on London. Also, many of the television service's technical staff and engineers would be needed for the war effort, in particular on the radar programme. The last programme transmitted was a Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey's Gala Premier (1933), which was followed by test transmissions; this account refuted the popular memory according to which broadcasting was suspended before the end of the cartoon.
According to figures from Britain's Radio Manufacturers Association, 18,999 television sets had been manufactured from 1936 to September 1939, when production was halted by the war.
BBC Television returned on 7 June 1946 at 15:00. Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, made the first announcement, saying, 'Good afternoon everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?'. The Mickey Mouse cartoon of 1939 was repeated twenty minutes later.Alexandra Palace was the home base of the channel until the early 1950s, when the majority of production moved into the newly acquired Lime Grove Studios.
Postwar broadcast coverage was extended to Birmingham in 1949, with the opening of the Sutton Coldfield transmitting station, and by the mid-1950s most of the country was covered, transmitting a 405-line interlaced image on VHF.
When ITV was launched in 1955, the BBC Television Service (renamed "BBC tv" in 1960) showed popular programming, including comedies, drama, documentaries, game shows, and soap operas, covering a wide range of genres and regularly competed with ITV to become the channel with the highest ratings for that week. The channel also introduced the science fiction show Doctor Who on 23 November 1963 - at 17:16 - which went on to become one of Britain's most iconic and beloved television programmes.
BBC TV was renamed BBC1 in 1964, after the launch of BBC2 (now BBC Two), the third television station (ITV was the second) for the UK; its remit, to provide more niche programming. The channel was due to launch on 20 April 1964, but was put off the air by a massive power failure that affected much of London, caused by a fire at Battersea Power Station. A videotape made on the opening night was rediscovered in 2003 by a BBC technician.[ citation needed ] In the end the launch went ahead the following night, hosted by Denis Tuohy holding a candle. BBC2 was the first British channel to use UHF and 625-line pictures, giving higher definition than the existing VHF 405-line system.
On 1 July 1967, BBC Two became the first television channel in Europe to broadcast regularly in colour, using the West German PAL system that was used for decades until it was gradually superseded by digital systems.(BBC One and ITV began 625-line colour broadcasts simultaneously on 15 November 1969). Unlike other terrestrial channels, BBC Two does not have soap opera or standard news programming, but a range of programmes intended to be eclectic and diverse (although if a programme has high audience ratings it is often eventually repositioned to BBC One). The different remit of BBC2 allowed its first controller, Sir David Attenborough to commission the first heavyweight documentaries and documentary series such as Civilisation , The Ascent of Man and Horizon .
Attenborough was later granted sabbatical leave from his job as Controller to work with the BBC Natural History Unit which had existed since the 1950s. This unit is now famed throughout the world for producing high quality programmes with Attenborough such as Life on Earth , The Private Life of Plants , The Blue Planet , The Life of Mammals , Planet Earth and Frozen Planet .
National and regional variations also occur within the BBC One and BBC Two schedules. England's BBC One output is split up into fifteen regions (such as South West and East), which exist mainly to produce local news programming, but also occasionally opt out of the network to show programmes of local importance (such as major local events). The other nations of the United Kingdom (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have been granted more autonomy from the English network; for example, programmes are mostly introduced by local announcers, rather than by those in London. BBC One and BBC Two schedules in the other UK nations can vary immensely from BBC One and BBC Two in England.
Programmes, such as the politically fuelled Give My Head Peace (produced by BBC Northern Ireland) and the soap opera River City (produced by BBC Scotland), have been created specifically to cater for some viewers in their respective nations. BBC Scotland produces daily programmes for its Gaelic-speaking viewers, including current affairs, political and children's programming such as the popular Eòrpa and Dè a-nis? . BBC Wales also produces a large amount of Welsh language programming for S4C, particularly news, sport and other programmes, especially the soap opera Pobol y Cwm ('People of the Valley') briefly shown on BBC2 across the UK with subtitles in the 1990s.The UK nations also produce a number of programmes that are shown across the UK, such as BBC Scotland's comedy series Chewin' the Fat, and BBC Northern Ireland's talk show Patrick Kielty Almost Live .
During the 1980s, the BBC came under pressure to commission more programmes from independent British production companies, and following the Broadcasting Act 1990 it was legally required to source 25% of its output from such companies by the terms of the Act. This eventually led to the creation of the "WoCC" (Window of Creative Competition) for independent production companies to pitch programmes to the BBC.
Programmes have also been imported mainly from English-speaking countries: notable—though no longer shown—examples include The Simpsons from the United States and Neighbours from Australia. Programming from countries outside the English-speaking world consisted of feature films, shown in the original language with subtitles instead of being dubbed, with dubbing only used for cartoons and children's programmes.These included programmes from Eastern Europe, including The Singing Ringing Tree from East Germany, although voice-over translation was used instead of dubbing for budgetary reasons.
Ceefax, the first teletext service, launched on 23 September 1974. This service allowed BBC viewers to view textual information such as the latest news on their television. CEEFAX did not make a full transition to digital television, instead being gradually replaced by the new interactive BBCi service before being fully closed down on 22 October 2012.[ citation needed ]
In March 2003 the BBC announced that from the end of May 2003 (subsequently deferred to 14 July) it intended to transmit all eight of its domestic television channels (including the 15 regional variations of BBC1) unencrypted from the Astra 2D satellite. This move was estimated to save the BBC £85 million over the next five years.[ citation needed ]
While the "footprint" of the Astra 2D satellite was smaller than that of Astra 2A, from which it was previously broadcast encrypted, it meant that viewers with appropriate equipment were able to receive BBC channels "free-to-air" over much of Western Europe. Consequently, some rights concerns have needed to be resolved with programme providers such as Hollywood studios and sporting organisations, which have expressed concern about the unencrypted signal leaking out. This led to some broadcasts being made unavailable on the Sky Digital platform, such as Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup football, while on other platforms such broadcasts were not disrupted. Later, when rights contracts were renewed, this problem was resolved.[ citation needed ]
The BBC Television department headed by Jana Bennett was absorbed into a new, much larger group; BBC Vision, in late 2006. [ citation needed ]The new group was part of larger restructuring within the BBC with the onset of new media outlets and technology.
In 2008, the BBC began experimenting with live streaming of certain channels in the UK, and in November 2008, all standard BBC television channels were made available to watch online via BBC iPlayer.
When Tony Hall became Director General in April 2013, he reverted the division to its original name of BBC Television. As Television it was responsible for the commissioning, scheduling and broadcasting of all programming on the BBC's television channels and online, as well as producing content for broadcast.
Following the 2016 Licence Fee settlement, BBC Television was split into two divisions, with in-house television production being separated into a new division called BBC Studios controlled by Mark Linsey and the remaining parts of television (channels and genre commissioning, BBC Sport, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer) being renamed as BBC Content, controlled by Charlotte Moore.As a result, the BBC Television division is now known internally as BBC Content and "BBC Television" as an entity has ceased to exist.
On 8 December 2020, Moore announced a new leadership structure for BBC Content taking effect in April 2021, which will prioritise iPlayer in order to compete with commercial streaming services. The role of Controller for BBC One, Two, and Four will be scrapped, in favour of giving the BBC's genre heads autonomy in commissioning programmes without the requirement for a channel controller to provide secondary approval. A team of "portfolio editors" will select from these commissions for carriage on BBC television channels and iPlayer, with iPlayer Controller Dan McGolpin will becoming Portfolio Director for iPlayer and channels. McGolpin and the genre heads will report to Moore.
The BBC domestic television channels do not broadcast advertisements; they are instead funded by a television licence fee which TV viewers are required to pay annually. This includes viewers who watch real-time streams or catch up services of the BBC's channels online or via their mobile phone. The BBC's international television channels are funded by advertisements and subscription.
These channels are also available outside the UK in neighbouring countries e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
A high definition simulcast, BBC Three HD, launched on 10 December 2013.
The BBC's wholly owned commercial subsidiary, BBC Studios, also operates several international television channels under BBC branding:
The BBC also owns the following:
News channel that targets Persian-speaking countries including Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the Persian/Dari/Tajiki language.
BBC Japan was a general entertainment channel, which operated between December 2004 and April 2006. It ceased operations after its Japanese distributor folded.
|BBC1/2 Mix||BBC E||BBC WSTV (Europe)|
|BBC Text||BBCi||BBC Red Button||BBC Red Button+|
|BBC HD (UK)|
|BBC HD (international)|
|News & factual||TEC|
|BBC ATV||BBC Arabic Television|
|BBC World||BBC World News|
|BBC News 24||BBC News|
|BBC Persian Television|
|UK Horizons||UKTV Documentary|
|BBC K (UK)|
|UK History||UKTV History||Yesterday|
|BBC Knowledge (international)|
|Factual & comedy||BBC Brit|
|Lifestyle||UK Style||UKTV Style||Home||HGTV|
|UK Food||UKTV Food||Good Food|
|UK BI||UKTV BI|
|UKTV SG||UKTV G|
|Drama, comedy & factual||BBC WSTV (Asia)|
|UK Gold||UKTV Gold|
|BBC Prime||BBC Entertainment|
|Drama||UK Arena||UK Drama||UKTV Drama||Drama|
|Comedy, sport & music||UKGC||Gold|
|UK Play||Play UK||UKG2||UKTV G2||Dave|
BBC News is a British television news channel. It was launched as BBC News 24 on 9 November 1997 at 5:30 pm as part of the BBC's foray into digital domestic television channels, becoming the first competitor to Sky News, which had been running since 1989. For a time, looped news, sport and weather bulletins were available to view via BBC Red Button.
BBC World News is an international English-language pay television network, operated under the BBC Global News Ltd division of the BBC, which is a public corporation of the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. According to its corporate PR, the combined 7 channels of the Global News operations have the largest audience market share among all of its rivals, with an estimated 99 million viewers weekly in 2016/2017, part of the estimated 121 million weekly audience of all its operations. Launched on 11 March 1991 as BBC World Service Television outside Europe, its name was changed to BBC World on 16 January 1995 and to BBC World News on 21 April 2008. It broadcasts news bulletins, documentaries, lifestyle programmes and interview shows. Unlike the BBC's domestic channels, it is owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd., part of the BBC's commercial group of companies, and is funded by subscription and advertising revenues, and not by the United Kingdom television licence. The channel is not broadcast in the UK, though BBC World News reports and programming is also used by the BBC News channel. It is distinct from the BBC Studios operations. The linear service is aimed at the overseas market, similar to Al Jazeera, CNN International, France 24, and NHK World.
BBC Two is a British free-to-air television network owned and operated by the BBC. It covers a wide range of subject matter, with a remit "to broadcast programmes of depth and substance" in contrast to the more mainstream and popular BBC One.
BBC One is a British free-to-air television network owned and operated by the BBC, which operates a public television service. It is the corporation’s flagship network, and is known for broadcasting mainstream programming, including BBC News television bulletins, primetime drama and entertainment, and some sports events.
Sveriges Television AB, meaning Sweden's Television Stock Company, is the Swedish national public television broadcaster, funded by a public service tax on personal income set by the Riksdag. Prior to 2019, SVT was funded by a television licence fee payable by all owners of television sets. The Swedish public broadcasting system is largely modelled after the system used in the United Kingdom, and Sveriges Television shares many traits with its British counterpart, the BBC.
BBC Four is a British free-to-air television channel owned and operated by the BBC. It was launched on 2 March 2002, with a schedule running from 7:00 pm to 4:00 am, timesharing with CBeebies. The channel shows a wide variety of programmes including arts, documentaries, music, international film, comedy, original programmes, drama and current affairs. It is required by its licence to air at least 100 hours of new arts and music programmes, 110 hours of new factual programmes and to premiere 20 foreign films each year.
BBC Scotland is a division of the BBC and the main public broadcaster in Scotland.
NPO 2 is a Dutch television channel, sister channel of NPO 1 and NPO 3. It was established on 1 October 1964 at 20:00, initially with a 2.5 hours schedule until 22:30.
Sky Arts is a British free-to-air television channel offering 24 hours a day of programmes dedicated to highbrow arts, including theatrical performances, movies, documentaries and music. The channel is available in the United Kingdom via Freeview, Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk TV and in the Republic of Ireland via Sky Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and eir, included in most basic subscription packs, but started life as a premium service requiring an additional payment on top of the monthly Sky subscription. The channel launched on Freeview and Freesat as a free-to-air service in September 2020.
Television in Scotland mostly consists of UK-wide broadcasts, with regional variations at different times which are specific to Scotland. The BBC and ITV networks both formally began broadcasting in the country during the 1950s. There were further expansions in the early 1960s with the arrival of Grampian, Borders and BBC2 television.
BBC HD was a high-definition television channel provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007 before closing on 26 March 2013. It broadcast only during the afternoon and evening and only broadcast material shot in high definition, either in a simulcast with another channel or by inserting a repeat of an HD programme.
ITV HD is a British free-to-air high-definition television channel operated by ITV plc, the company which is contracted to provide 11 ITV services across the UK. ITV HD is available to view in England, Wales and the Scottish Borders on Freesat via channel 103, Freeview channel 103, Sky channel 103, Virgin Media channel 103 and in Switzerland on SwisscomTV.
10 HD is an Australian free-to-air television channel that was originally launched on 16 December 2007 on channel 1. The channel was available to high definition digital television viewers through Network 10 owned-and-operated stations. The multichannel broadcast live sport, entertainment, films, documentaries, science fiction and news. The channel ceased broadcasting on 25 March 2009, and the following day was replaced by One.
High-definition television in the United Kingdom is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in late 2005 and since then the number of channels available to view has grown to a maximum of 87 that can be viewed on pay-TV service, Sky.
CBBC is a British free-to-air children's television channel owned and operated by the BBC and the brand used for all BBC content for children and teenagers aged 6 to 17. Launching on 11 February 2002 alongside its sister channel, CBeebies, which serves the under six audience, the name was previously used to brand all BBC Children's content. CBBC broadcasts for fourteen hours per-day from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. CBBC was named Channel of the Year at the Children's BAFTA awards in November 2008 and 2012 and 2015. The channel averages 300,000 viewers daily.
BBC HD is an international high-definition television channel provided by BBC Studios. In many countries the channel has been replaced by other BBC Studios operations. At present, the channel is only available in Turkey, selected cruise ships and within the maritime industry.
High-definition television in Australia is available via cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial television. The first high-definition broadcasts began in 2001 and since then the number of channels available to view has grown to a maximum of 27 that can be viewed on pay-TV service, Foxtel.
This is a timeline of the history of non-flagship BBC television channels, i.e., BBC channels that have initially appeared on cable or satellite or digital television. The list excludes events from BBC One and BBC Two, unless they also relate to one of the other channels.
This is a timeline of the history of BBC Television News.
% viewer-ship of all TV viewing: BBC1 (20.2), BBC2 (5.8), BBC3 (1.4), BBC4 (1.0), CBBC (0.6), Cbeebies (1.2), BBC News (1.0) = 31.2% of total viewer minutes relative to all other channels
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