From Watch with Mother to Churchill’s funeral, Blue Peter to Live Aid, the BBC has been with us for many iconic moments.
In December 2016 the current Royal Charter and agreement that the BBC has is due to expire. Whilenothing on this planet ever stays the same – and as I have said before life is always about gaining and losing – and in its most positive light renewal of the charter could be a real opportunity for debate and new ideas, I think it’s also very important to understand as much as we can the value of this iconic institution.
Since 1922, it has been with us every step of the way.
On BBC radio we have learnt about the beginning and end of wars, the death of kings and the latest discoveries that made a better world.
In short, the BBC has covered just about every event of note for nearly a century.
While I have to point out that other broadcasters are available – and these have in their own right created some unforgettable television – none, I believe has the gravitas, history or unique make-up of the BBC.
BBC radio alone has shaped people’s lives, with shows such as Workers’ Playtime that began in 1941 as a cheery diversion to help the war effort and carried on until 1964. The Archers Omnibus and Desert Island Discs are still a part of Sunday for millions of listeners and Woman’s Hour continues to be a powerful advocate and voice for women.
From the evolution of popular music to ground-breaking comedy, local radio to charity support, the BBC has been there from the start.
No organisation – particularly one of any size and longevity – ever gets it right all the time. Many people, whether teacher or bus driver, doctor or film director, have also had to cope with many new rules and regulations in the last few decades and seen the goalposts moved many times in their professional lives.
I am not suggesting the BBC should be wrapped in cotton wool and preserved in its current incarnation– we now live in a country where sadly there is rarely such a thing as art for art’s sake any more, so there’s no chance of that happening.
We do though need to stir ourselves when good things we take for granted are diminished, perhaps due to external and/or monetary pressures.
Here’s my shortlist of best moments from the BBC – what would yours be?
The Six Wives of Henry VIIII
Only Fools and Horses
Morecambe & Wise
Coverage of the Olympics
War & Peace (1972)
Play for Today
The Ascent of Man
Have I Got News for You