On Thursday 11 October a number of BBC buildings around the UK will be opening their doors and encouraging people to bring tapes, cassettes and recordings of BBC programmes they’ve found in their attics, under their stairs or in their garages - in the hope that they help build The Listeners’ Archive.
The major initiative is part of the BBC’s 90th anniversary celebrations and aims to recover the lost gems of the BBC’s archive of radio programmes from 1936 to 2000. It is a pan-BBC Radio project involving BBC local radio in England, BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, along with BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 6 Music.
The recordings will help enrich the BBC’s archive and plug the gaps in broadcasting history for future generations. The material collected will then be broadcast in a special programme to be hosted by Simon Mayo on Wednesday 14 November - the day of the 90th anniversary of BBC Radio.
The team are looking for a number of key programmes – including music sessions by high profile guests pre-1990, comedy programmes pre-1990, dramas and readings pre-1990, appearances by Dylan Thomas, a number of Reith lectures and lots more. A full wish list can be found at bbc.co.uk/listenersarchive.
The BBC buildings taking part in the amnesty are:
- BBC Bristol, Whiteladies Road, Bristol.
- BBC Leeds, Broadcasting Centre, 2 St Peter's Square
- BBC Southampton, Havelock Road
- BBC WM, BBC Birmingham Mailbox
- BBC Norwich, The Forum, Millennium Plain
- BBC Newcastle, Barrack Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne
- BBC Sheffield, 54 Shoreham Street, Sheffield
- BBC Nottingham, Island Business District, London Road, Nottingham
- BBC York, 20 Bootham Row, York
- BBC Wales, Llantrisant Road, Cardiff
- BBC Radio Ulster, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.
- BBC Radio Foyle, Northland Road, Londonderry
Anyone who isn’t able to get to an Open Day can contact the team behind The Listeners’ Archive with details of recording they may have by emailing email@example.com or via Twitter @BBCListeners.
“Even before the project was officially announced we began to get offers from collectors and radio enthusiasts who’ve been delighted to find that they might be able to share their old recordings with a wider audience. We have old Kenny Everett Shows, John Peel on Top Gear, Music While You Work and an old Stuart Henry show to name but a few. And since we told BBC Local Radio listeners about the project we’ve received a flood of really promising offers. One collector told us ‘this has made my year’. We say this may make the BBC’s 90 Years,” says Trevor Dann, Editor of The Listeners’ Archive.
The Listeners’ Archive is part of a range of events and programming to mark BBC Radio’s 90th birthday. Other highlights include: Radio Reunited, an unprecedented global simulcast across the BBC’s radio networks - including every UK station (local, network and national) and many World Service outlets - curated by Damon Albarn; 90 x 90, a series of 90-second miniatures that celebrate, calibrate and curate the diversity of radio in its widest form, each episode representing one year of the 90; and a range of programming from Radio 2’s History of Music Radio to Radio 4’s Who’s Reithian Now?
(Source : BBC Media Centre)