The BBC is making thousands of memorable clips from its archive available to watch on a new website. More than 1,700 newly published videos are being made available for viewers to watch and enjoy, many of which help paint a rich social history of Britain in the television era.
The new Archive site will help people navigate an ever-increasing portion of the more than 10 million hours of content that currently sit in the BBC’s archive. It will be curated by the same team that currently mines the vaults for the ever popular BBC Archive social media accounts, which have attracted a loyal and ever-increasing daily following over the past four years.
The launch date coincides with the 50th anniversary of Nationwide, the early evening precursor to the One Show that featured quirky stories from around the UK between 1969 and 1983. Many of these delightful characters and oddball reports are finding a fresh worldwide audience online. The website brings together the best of these in an easy-to-use way that viewers can explore at their leisure.
It also contains curated collections of programmes and clips from the BBC archive, themed around everything from the outbreak of World War Two to the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. These are invaluable primary sources where users can see and hear history as it was being made. For something less taxing, curious viewers can take a break by watching a delightfully relaxing 1950s interlude such as the famous potter’s wheel or a kitten playing with a ball of wool. Slow TV, 60 years ahead of its time.
Peter Rippon, BBC Archive executive editor, said: “The site is the beginning of a journey into the BBC’s most cherished asset. Social history, and what it reveals about who we are, is proving especially popular, so we’ve created collections of hundreds of items that give a glimpse of what the archive contains. We are planning to open up the archive much more as the BBC prepares to mark its Centenary in 2022. This is an important step on that journey.”