BBC handbooks, annual reports and accounts, 1927-2002

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British Broadcasting Corporation, 1927-2002

British Broadcasting Corporation, 1927-2002

Undoubtedly one of the most important qualities of the handbooks is the way they connect the researcher to a distant time and culture; those dating from the 1930s are of particular value.
Hugh Chignel Bournemouth University

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Follow major British cultural changes through the broadcasts of the 20th century

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This collection, covering 1927-2001/2, includes all the handbooks, annual reports and accounts published by the British Broadcasting Corporation during the 20th century. In addition to financial data relating to the BBC's grant-in-aid and how it was spent, the collection contains a review of each year's public-service broadcasting, with detailed schedules, audience research, performance and objective tables, as well as commentaries and editorials. The titles of the printed volumes vary during the course of the period, for example the changes of name between 'Yearbook', 'Annual' and 'Handbook', or when the Annual report and accounts were merged. Because of this bibliographic variation, items are grouped chronologically. Drawn from the BBC's Written Archives Centre at Caversham Park near Reading, the collection is accompanied by an online guide by Dr Hugh Chignell of the Media School at Bournemouth University. (The BBC word mark and logo are trade marks of the British Broadcasting Corporation and are used under licence. BBC Logo © BBC 1996.)


BBC handbooks, annual reports and accounts, 1927-2002...

Containing 23,247 pages belonging to 116 documents housed in 2 volumes...

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BBC handbooks

The BBC's handbooks were published yearly from 1928 to 1987, apart from a two-year break in 1953-1954. Alongside the Annual...

BBC annual reports and accounts

With the exception of World War II, when a single report covered the years between 1939 and 1944, the BBC's...


  • The annual reports reveal which programs the UK was watching and listening to each year, broken down by theme.
  • The handbooks include financial information and ratings data. They were also printed during World War Two, covering that gap in the annual reports.
  • The introductions to both of these publications provide details of television history as well as national events affecting the industry.
  • The annual report for 1945-1946 describes the affect that the end of the war had, both on the BBC's programming and on the audience it had to reach.
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