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The Patrician

A Fond Farewell to 90 Years of Enjoyment - Goodbye to the BBC

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The BBC, the British Broadcasting Company, are the people responsible for creating television as we know it and also responsible for allowing the broadcast of hundreds of internationally known television programmes that have been enjoyed not just by the people of the United Kingdom but I'm sure people in other countries. It is today that they close the doors of their British Broadcasting Centre in the heart of London and this may not sound too tragic to many of you but to me, it is. The BBC building is home to so much history, so many memories and it seems like they are leaving it all behind. I feel I should clarify right now that the BBC will go on, they are just moving location. But that building is a monument to television and to finally say goodbye to it seems unthinkable. And so I leave this tribute.

The BBC was founded on October 18th 1922 when the British General Post Office and sixteen separate telecommunications companies came together for some experimental radio broadcasts. Its first broadcast was on November 14th 1922 and it was soon after that it requested a 10 shillings license fee so it would not have to broadcast adverts. In the beginning, there were raised concerns about just how long this would last but in 1927 the first ever manager of the BBC John Reith was given a knighthood and they adopted a coat of arms and the motto "Nation shall speak peace unto Nation". Then in 1934, everything changed. that was when television began...

Regular broadcasting began, and something strange happened. People started watching. And this lasted for seven whole years.

Then from 1939 to 1946 television was suspended due to the Second World War. And after that, not much happened for a bit until 1962 when the BBC were awarded with a second channel, BBC 2 which was broadcast in colour, before BBC 1, in 1967, by which time, BBC was the driving force of entertainment in Great Britain with BBC 1, BBC 2, and 4 separate radio stations. 1990 signified the introduction of BBC Radio 5 Live and, skipping ahead a little, 2006 the introduction of BBC HD, the experimental high definition channel. By 2013 the BBC is a multimedia giant that commands an arsenal of television channels, radio stations, websites and magazines, filling all three media platforms. But the best memories are in the past, don't you agree?

Over the years the BBC have given way to hundreds of television shows but the ones that stick out most prominently are those comedy programmes, the shows that made a generation of comedy that simply didn't exist before, giving birth to shows like Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and Dad's Army, formed using a brand new generation of actors like Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Bruce Forsyth, Terry Wogan, Fry & Laurie, Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies, French & Saunders, Reeves & Mortimer, stop me if you actually know any of these people, which have since evolved into modern day equivalents such as Mitchell & Webb, Harry & Paul, Miranda Hart etc. The BBC truly has laid the foundations for comedy to grow exponentially for centuries to come.

The BBC have been around for the Second World War, surviving the Blitz bombings and then some. The BBC and their news programmes have reported, ot name just a few, the rise and fall of Muhammed Ali, the Suffragette Movement and the incredible journey of Black Rights, from the political career of Martin Luther King Jr. around 1963 to the inauguration of President Barack Obama very recently in 2009.

And then there's the rest. Britain's best loved soap opera Eastenders is made by the BBC, as are some programmes you Americans may have heard of; Top Gear, Doctor Who and Sherlock. Blue Peter has set countless World Records and lasted the majority of the 90 years the BBC has been around. Every year the BBC broadcasts the Eurovision Song Contest, which the UK usually fail miserably at I admit, as well as Children in Need and Comic Relief, which they have raised millions, if not billions of pounds to give to numerous charities around the world. The BBC have changed lives, if not because of charity then because of the dreams and aspirations it has given to millions of people. It is a pillar of worldwide entertainment.

Through thousands of shows, millions of auditors, billions of hours of television and what must be an infinite amount of memories that no archive can ever hold and no single person can ever remember entirely. It is just a building, but it is a building that has inspired the minds and hearts of people all over the country, it is a building that has a spirit great enough to bring a nation to tears of sadness or joy, it is a building that is the heart of television all over the globe. And it seems a shame to say goodbye. But I must.

I will end this post with a quote, as said by British comedian and journalist, David Mitchell, on the set of his TV show That Mitchell & Webb Look and, to a lesser extent, British statesman Sir Edward Grey on the first night of World War 1.

"The lights are going out all over television, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

Thank you.

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Comments

  1. Jack Pschitt's Avatar
    They should make it a museum.

    I'm so glad to hear that the BBC are still operating, though, because I was admittedly confused at first. But fortunately the BBC will continue to be a part of modern life that is trustworthy and pure of intent.
  2. Zexy's Avatar
    It's just a building, no matter what it's history may be, BBC will continue airing, and with it, all those moments you described will live again.
    Any kind of material can hold memories, yet, when the memories keep on, there is nothing to fear.

    Let's hope the best for BBC's broadcasting future.
  3. The Patrician's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Pschitt
    They should make it a museum.

    I'm so glad to hear that the BBC are still operating, though, because I was admittedly confused at first. But fortunately the BBC will continue to be a part of modern life that is trustworthy and pure of intent.
    I agree. I believe that's what they're planning for the future, to make a museum out of some of the building because so many people complained and petitioned for it. So I may one day visit that museum.

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