BBC handbooks, annual reports and accounts, 1927-2002

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

This collection contains handbooks, annual reports and accounts published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) between 1927 and 2002. In addition, the collection includes a review of each year’s public service broadcasting, with detailed schedules, audience research, performance and objective tables, commentaries, and editorials. Together, these documents provide students and scholars with a unique opportunity to examine the social and cultural forces that shaped Britain in the 20th century.  

Note: This collection is accompanied by an online guide written by Dr Hugh Chignell.

(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 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...

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...


  • 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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