BBC Archive

On Thursday Craig and I visited the BBC Media Centre on Wood Lane to learn about the corporation’s archive. We had an great time. The archive boggled out minds and we didn’t see anything beyond photo copies of a few letters. Then the letters did include the pitch for Desert Island Discs (two paragraphs long); the pitch for The Archers, George Orwell’s appraisal and resignation, plus The Rolling Stones writing in the hope they may get a gig and someone tipping off a superior about a young girl with an excellent singing voice (Julie Andrews).
Apparently archiving programs rather than letters wasn’t so common and up until a few years ago remarkably few (400,000) programs were in the archive. Now everything is archived. Which is good news because this afternoon I the last 90 seconds of the PM program on Radio 4 saw the broadcast a piece so good I was jealous it wasn’t one of our ‘pieces for the radio‘ – 90 seconds of the sound of 30 11/12 year olds quietly reading aloud in a class room. 90 is a long time to play that sound for and Because of the outrageous duration ever second started to become better than the previous one.

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