• Show TV Channels

    Hide TV Channels

    TV
  • Show Radio Channels

    Hide Radio Channels

    Radio
  • Show Years

    Hide Years

    Year
  • Issues

Close group

Close group


FAQs


Search by issue

You can browse the Radio Times magazine by selecting a decade and then a year. You will then be taken to the weekly issues, from where you will be able to browse the listings. Use the top navigation bar to go from week to week or day to day. You will only be able to see the TV and radio listings in the issues, not the articles and photographs and other material.

Back to top

Search by service

If you want to look at a particular BBC service, choose between TV and Radio and click on the icon of your selected channel or station. This will take you to the listings of the first-ever broadcast of that channel or station.

Some regional services may appear to have intermittent broadcast histories, for example, Newcastle (5NO) appears to have no transmissions from 1927-30 and 1932-33, but this is because we have not scanned issues of Radio Times which capture all of 5NOs output. So Genome does not reflect the actual transmission history of 5NO.

We hope to include more versions of Radio Times in the future. Use the top navigation bar to go from date to date. You will only be able to see the TV and radio listings from the issues, not the articles, photographs and other material.

Back to top

Using the free-text search function

You can do a free-text search, which will currently search all of the schedule information, including the title, synopsis and contributors. It will also let you know if the programme is available to listen or watch. It does not include the magazine articles.

Place words in quotation marks to search for an exact phrase (such as "Doctor Who"), or separate individual terms with a vertical bar character ("|"), this will help you find entries which match any one of the alternative terms given (such as fruit|vegetables).

You can also narrow your search by using the following special fields before your query: @title, @synopsis, @people, @issue, @year. For example, adding @issue 500 will search for your keywords only on the listings from Issue 500, or adding @year 1976 will only search the listings from that year.

The advanced search section allows you to:

  • Filter your results by date (year, month, day of the week and time).
  • Get search results from only TV or only radio programmes, or only available programmes.
  • Search through the contributor details only.

Once your search results are returned, you can specify further, by selecting the relevant BBC service from the icons at the top of the results page.

You can find more information about Boolean search operators and modifiers in the search syntax reference.

Back to top

How do I watch or hear the programmes which are listed?

The BBC has about 30% of the programmes listed in Genome in its physical archives, which amounts to more than a million hours of output.

The Radio Times data provides a catalogue of BBC output as scheduled. We have begun to link Genome listings to the thousands of TV and radio programmes which are already available on the BBC website.

You will see that on some of the listings, an icon will appear that directs you to that particular programme on the BBC iPlayer.

You can also enter a particular keyword in the search box and click on the "programme available" option in the Advanced tab - this will only return the search results which link to available programmes on the BBC iPlayer.

If you just want to browse the thousands of available TV and radio programmes, you can run an empty search and click on the "programme available" button - this will show you all the listings linked to programmes.

In a future stage of this project we will attempt to include other material such as scripts and photos.

If you work for the BBC and a listing is of particular interest please contact Information & Archives. If you're a member of the public and you, or your company, organisation or property has been featured in a BBC programme, you may be able to purchase a copy by visiting the Contributor Access Page. Radio Times listings are a vital first stage in bringing the BBC's broadcast history to life.

Back to top

What are we asking you to do?

There are two ways that you can help us make this data set better;

  • Firstly, we are trying to ensure that all the programme information, including title, synopsis and all the contributors, as printed in the Radio Times magazine, are captured in Genome. We cannot replicate exactly the magazine layout, as we need to capture data in specific ways to make it searchable.

    We are also trying to ensure that all the contributors listed on Radio Times, either in the synopsis or the small print, are listed on the Contributors field, in order to make them searchable.

    This Style Guide might help you with your editing as it explains how best to structure and format the data.

    Once you edit an entry your suggestion will be validated, and if accepted, Genome will be changed. If your suggestion does not match the magazine, we will include your edit in the additional data we are gathering for use at a later date.

  • Secondly, we are aware that there may be occasions when the magazine entry is wrong. The broadcast may have been different from the schedule, contributor details were printed inaccurately, etc. In order to tell us about these kinds of errors, please use the Tell Us More form at the bottom of the specific programme listing page.

    The information you send using the Tell Us More form will not be published on the page. We plan to hold on to it and use it at a later stage, to fill any gaps in the data or to help us bring the BBC's broadcast history to life. We will not share any contact details or personal information without seeking your consent.

Back to top

How do I edit an entry?

As a result of the scanning process, there are lots of spelling mistakes and punctuation errors in the Genome data set. Furthermore, the software has sometimes had difficulty identifying contributor details correctly when extracting them from Radio Times billings. This is one of the aspects where human intervention is invaluable (e.g. to know when Albert Hall is a person and not a building!)

  • To edit an entry, go to the individual listing of the programme you wish to edit.
  • Click on the green Edit button.
    This will allow you to edit the title, synopsis and contributor details.
  • This Style Guide might help you with your editing as it explains how best to structure and format the data.
  • Then click the Submit button.

Your changes will be sent for verification and won't appear immediately. If they are approved, they will be visible to all users. (See What are we asking you to do?)

Back to top

How can I tell you something you don't know about an entry? How can I tell you if the magazine is wrong?

You can also let us know whether this programme was actually broadcast as scheduled, or share any additional information you have about a programme.

  • Click on the green Edit button on the individual programme listing.
  • Use the form entitled 'Tell Us More' below the listing.
    This is a free text field.
  • Then, click the green Submit button.

The information you send using the Tell Us More form will not be published on the page. We plan to hold on to it and use it at a later stage, to fill any gaps in the data or to help us bring the BBC's broadcast history to life. We will not share any contact details or personal information without seeking your consent.

Please try not to use this form for alerting us to typos or mistakes in the text - it will be more useful if you correct the text in the Title, Synopsis and Contributors field and then click on the Submit button.

Back to top

Why are there some offensive terms on the site?

Over the more than 90 years since Radio Times was first published, the world has changed and Radio Times has reflected those changes in its language and depiction of society.

The language used in Radio Times reflects the tastes and standards at the time of original publication, and some of it is not acceptable now. However, Radio Times is a public record of the BBC's broadcast history and as such, it is of historical and cultural interest, which the BBC has not sought to rewrite.

Back to top

How can I make a complaint?

If you have any comment or complaint that cannot be sent by using the Edit button on the programme page or the Tell Us More form, you can contact us via email at GenomeFeedback@bbc.co.uk. This can also be used to send us feedback about any technical issues you might be experiencing and tell us about any listing that you are concerned about. (See Why are there some offensive terms in the site?)

Back to top

What is Optical Character Recognition?

Each page of the Radio Times was scanned and a high resolution TIFF image was produced. The programme listings were then zoned in blocks and optical character recognition (OCR) techniques applied to the zones. OCR is the mechanical or electronic translation of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. It is widely used to convert books and documents into electronic files.

Back to top

What regional versions of Radio Times have been included in Genome?

Radio Times has been published with regional variations since 1926, though these have changed between 1923 and 2009. The magazines which have been scanned and the data sets which have been included in Genome are not exhaustive, rather they represent the ones which we could access and which covered the greatest areas and variations. If you visit the issue page you can see which edition has been scanned.

If you want to look at a particular BBC service, choose between TV and Radio and click on the icon of your selected channel or station. This will take you to the listings of the first-ever broadcast of that channel or station.

Some regional services may appear to have intermittent broadcast histories, for example, Newcastle (5NO) appears to have no transmissions from 1927-30 and 1932-33, but this is due to the issues of Radio Times which have been scanned, and does not reflect the actual transmission history. This will be rectified in later versions of the Genome Project.

Use the top navigation bar to go from date to date. You will only be able to see the TV and radio listings from the issues, not the articles, photographs and other material.

Back to top

How can I access other regional versions of Radio Times listings?

It is hoped that all regional variations of BBC listings will in due course be available on this website to give the complete picture of the BBC's output, but this might take some time. If you need access to a particular region's listings, you may be able to see regional editions at reference libraries in the relevant part of the country.

The fullest range of variations is available for research by academics, researchers and writers at the BBC's Written Archives Centre at Caversham, near Reading, Berkshire.

Back to top

Does Radio Times/Genome cover every week of the BBC's broadcast history?

No. The British Broadcasting Company started broadcasting in November 1922. Radio Times was first published in September 1923. There were also eleven weeks between 1926 and 1983 when Radio Times was not published:

14 May 1926
General Strike
21 February 1947
Fuel Crisis
28 February 1947
Fuel Crisis
8 September 1950
Printing dispute
13 October 1950
Printing dispute
20 October 1950
Printing dispute
27 October 1950
Printing dispute
1 August 1981
Printing dispute
2 April 1983
Printing dispute
9 April 1983
Printing dispute
3 December 1983
Printing dispute

This project only includes Radio Times listings up until the end of 2009. It is possible to find the BBC's broadcast history from then on at bbc.co.uk/programmes

Back to top

Why are there missing listings and what are we doing about it?

We are aware that we have not published all the information scanned from the magazines.

Some missing listings are caused by scanning, OCR and processing errors. The scanning process created 'zones' within Radio Times pages, based upon various 'rules' which tried to algorithmically identify discreet chunks of text and the gaps between these chunks; and 'patterns' that would describe how Radio Times would usually lay out programme information and in which order, e.g. broadcast time, title, synopsis, contributors.

For example, the algorithms would look for sets of characters that looked at broadcast time (such as 11.20), and would then assume that the following sets of characters would make up the programme title, and the next set the synopsis etc.

These rules and patterns had to change as the design, content and layout of the magazine evolved over the decades, so the algorithms had to be 'tuned' to enable a reasonably consistent level of accuracy.

Sometimes, due to unusual or unexpected text layouts, boxed-out sections, unexpected fonts, poor character definition, or ambiguous characters ('I' versus 'l', for example), the algorithms weren't able to correctly identify that a block of text was a listing (as opposed to, say, an article or advertisement) and therefore didn't include that set of characters in the 'listings' fields of the database.

There are also numerous examples that we have subsequently found where a number of programmes were erroneously 'glued together' and published on Genome as a single programme listing. Also, some duplicate or empty listings are a result of the details for a day being printed in two consecutive editions of Radio Times.

Work is underway to 'unpick' many of these errors, and we are confident that hundreds of thousands of 'missing' listings are indeed within our database, but just in the wrong place, and will eventually be made available on the Genome website.

We very much welcome it when you point out any errors, gaps or anomalies using the Tell Us More section or contacting us, because it helps us make sure we are picking up all the problems.

Back to top

Can I see the rest of the magazine, not just the listings?

The articles, photographs and additional material are subject to copyright and have not been cleared for publication on this website.

Hard-copy editions of Radio Times are held at some local reference libraries. They are also available for research by academics, researchers and writers at the BBC's Written Archives Centre at Caversham, near Reading, Berkshire.

Back to top

Where are the non-BBC listings?

From 1991, Radio Times published listings for other TV and radio channels, including ITV and Channel 4. The BBC does not have the rights to reproduce these listings and so only listings for BBC channels and stations are available.

The following websites offer current TV listings for BBC and other TV channels:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Back to top

Are the schedules accurate?

The Radio Times published the planned broadcast information of the BBC. Schedules then, as now, were subject to change. In the early years of BBC broadcasting, technical breakdowns, as well as other difficulties, prompted changes to the published schedule.

Similarly, throughout the BBC's broadcast history, changes in live broadcasts and major events at home and abroad have meant that programme details in Radio Times did not always remain accurate. You can let us know of changes to the schedule by using the Tell Us More form on individual programme listings pages.

Back to top

Have Radio Times Listings been altered in any way?

Non-BBC addresses have been taken out to prevent users writing to an out-of-date address, attempting to donate personal funds to charity appeals which have now closed, or trying to purchase tickets and merchandise which are no longer available.

Telephone numbers, text numbers and email addresses have been edited out for reasons of privacy and to prevent users wasting personal funds contacting numbers or addresses which may no longer be valid.

Some names and trademark terms have been removed for legal reasons.

A small number of Radio Times listings have been the subject of a previous complaint. Where the complaint has been upheld on the grounds of incorrect data or a breach in standards, the information has been extracted for legal reasons.

Back to top

I have a copy of a BBC programme which might be missing from the BBC Archive. How do I let you know?

Radio Times listings are a vital first stage in bringing the BBC's broadcast history to life and in the future we intend to use Genome to establish which programmes are missing from the BBC Archive.

However, at the moment we are not in a position to receive and catalogue recordings you might want to send in. In the meantime, you have three options:

  • Hang on to your tapes and watch this space.
  • Use the Tell Us More form to let us know about it. Don't forget to include your contact details.
  • Email us at genomefeedback@bbc.co.uk to tell us about your recordings.
Back to top

How do I get in touch?

If you have spotted an error in the text of a programme entry, please use the edit feature to correct it.

If you have additional information about a programme or a Radio Times edition, please use the Tell us More form to send through the information.

If you need to contact us about anything else, like technical difficulties, please email us at GenomeFeedback@bbc.co.uk

You can also follow @bbcgenome on Twitter or find us at Facebook on facebook.com/bbcgenome. We also have a BBC Blog where we will keep you updated about new developments on the website and highlight any hidden archive gems or unusual listings.

Back to top
About this project

About this project

This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

We hope it helps you find that long forgotten BBC programme, research a particular person or browse your own involvement with the BBC.

Through the listings, you will also be able to find thousands of radio and TV programmes that are already available to view or listen to on the BBC website.

This is a historical record of both the planned output and the BBC services of any given time. It should be viewed in this context and with the understanding that it reflects the attitudes and standards of its time - not those of today.

Welcome to BBC Genome

Genome is a digitised version of the Radio Times from 1923 to 2009 and is made available for internal research purposes only. You will need to obtain the relevant third party permissions for any other use, including use in programmes, online etc.

This internal version of Genome, which includes all the magazine covers, PDF downloads, images and articles as well as the programme listings from the Radio Times, is different to the version of Genome that is available externally/to the public.

Please do not share this internal version of Genome, or any part of it, with anyone external.

For rights reasons, external users may only have access to the Radio Times listings, which will be available in the external version of Genome.

Your use of this version of Genome is covered by the BBC Acceptable Use of Information Systems Policy and these terms.