The BBC story

Friday, August 28, 2009 by

The BBC has released details of a new website devoted to the Corporation’s history.

The BBC Heritage site will be renamed The BBC Story to be launched in September 2009. Here, as ever, is the press release…

The BBC Heritage website, now called The BBC Story, will relaunch in September and offer users a richer experience in terms of new content and design.

The new site will give audiences a greater insight into the BBC and provide a range of dynamic routes into the unique history of the corporation.

The site was soft launched in June 2009, and has already proved very popular with users; during its first feature on the BBC homepage the site generated more than 3,000 page impressions.

The official site launch will be in September 2009 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 2 on 3 September 1939 – a seminal moment in BBC’s history which transformed the corporation’s profile and its public impact.

Other BBC “great moments” to be celebrated on the site will include the appearance of Elizabeth Cowell, the first female TV announcer in 1936 (with behind-the-scenes footage including her wardrobe test – never before broadcast on the BBC), the 40th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the info text innovation that was Ceefax, and the 25th anniversary of the BBC’s most popular soap ever, EastEnders.

Robert Seatter, Head of BBC History, said: “The history of the BBC is the nation’s history, and we wanted to reflect that in the new site, offering topical stories as well as a chance for audiences to tell us how the BBC has touched their lives.

“We hope that everyone will find something to engage with in the new site – whether they are looking for in-depth media history, access to our many historical collections, or simply the opportunity to find out something more about their BBC.”

The site aims to:

  • Make BBC History relevant and engaging by connecting the past to the present and future
  • Enable audiences to reflect on what the BBC has meant to them
  • Offer wider access to the corporation’s unique collection of objects, artefacts, photos and artworks
  • Provide a learning resource for users who want to find out more about broadcast history
  • Deliver a future platform for enhanced partnership with other broadcast history agencies, such as the National Media Museum and the BFI

New features of the site include:

  • Interactive History Of Innovation timeline that takes you on a journey through the BBC’s pioneering work from 1922 right up to the present day and the corporation’s latest creative and technological innovations
  • Weekly Great Moments celebration, highlighting key BBC anniversaries with TV/audio clips with short interpretation texts which explain their legacy in terms of contemporary broadcasting
  • Direct link to Memory Share, the interactive part of the site where people can read, upload, or comment on the most memorable moments in their lives as well as research events that are linked to relevant material dating back as far as the 1900s
  • Access to BBC Collections via a weekly feature on an object from the BBC’s range of props, technological artefacts and artworks
  • Changing online photo galleries from the BBC’s unique stills library including many photos that have never been previously released to the general public
  • Video tours of the BBC’s most significant historical buildings: Broadcasting House, the iconic home of BBC Radio, and BBC Television Centre, the first ever purpose-built television studio complex in the world
  • Range of learning articles, from case studies of the BBC’s editorial independence to the BBC at war
  • An improved look and feel, with enhanced graphics and a new page layout that makes it easier to navigate

The site is a valuable resource for licence fee payers and can be used by:

  • Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the BBC
  • Teachers/students (any age) to support learning programmes
  • Historians/heritage enthusiasts
  • Other agencies, eg museums


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