Friday, 21 November 2014


BBC Genome

Dear friends of TV Minus 50

The first post of the new weekly TV Minus 50 isn't ready yet, I'm afraid, but I thought I'd alert you to something really rather amazing that has recently appeared on the internet.  BBC Genome is a new resource where you can access listings (taken from the Radio Times) for programmes on all the BBC's radio and television channels stretching back to 1934 for free.

You can find BBC Genome here.

Obviously it's a massive boon to me, though as usually happens when I see TV listings of the time I realise that, due to relying in large part on incomplete transmission details from places like IMDb and a fair bit of guesswork, I've got something wrong.  In this case it's the transmission dates of the BBC's adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, which rather than the summer, where I put it, in fact commenced broadcasting in October (the show's IMDb entry lists the cast of one episode and the transmission date of one episode - I took these to both be from the final instalment, but in fact the transmission date was for the first.  All very confusing.  And dull).  Best not even to think about ITV transmissions - I've long since become resigned to viewing the programmes as broadcast by a composite of the various regions.

As well as showing me where I've been going wrong, BBC Genome has made me feel wistful about all those programmes lost forever, and ones that may as well be for all the likelihood of them ever being made available: I'll never get to see Komm Mit! or Having a Baby, or Curtain of Fear (I believe it's the Iron Curtain rather than a literal curtain being referred to, which I suppose makes the loss a bit more bearable).  Or will I? Who knows, maybe having given us the menu, the BBC will eventually get round to serving the dishes on it (or what's left of them).  But if the day comes, dear reader, when their whole archive is available to view, I will probably contemplate the task ahead of me and go quietly, irretrievably mad.

See you soon


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