The BBC Genome – 86 years of TV and radio history


We’ve all seen those birthday cards that let you know the #1 song on the radio, the price of a gallon of milk or loaf of bread or even the average home price from the year you were born. There are also ways to get the front page of the New York Times for the day you were born. But, how many times have you ever wondered not just what the #1 television show was for the year you were born, but rather what was on telly at the exact moment you were born. Well, thanks to the BBC and Radio Times, you can now easily find out.
 
BBC Genome Project

The BBC has just launched an unbelievably cool searchable online archive where you can browse the listings from every copy of the Radio Times ever published, from 1923-2009 (in case your wondering, that’s 4,469 separate editions and 350,622 pages covering 4,423,653 individual programs. Imagine, 86 years of TV and radio history at the touch of a button. The BBC Genome Project, which launched on Thursday, takes users to a full plain text TV listing for any given day in the space of just four clicks. There is one qualifier, however. Last minute schedule changes due to sports or breaking news stories are obviously not reflected so what you’ll see is what was ‘scheduled’ for transmission at the time the issue went to print.

Not only will it provide hours of endless ‘I wonder what aired…’ scenarios, it will be a treasure-trove of trivia for that next amaze your friends opportunity at dinner. As this monumental effort is an endless work-in-progress, the BBC Genome welcomes comments from people who worked on the shows or even personal memories from the audience. The project invites also users to contribute their own notes and corrections to the information, which will be added after they are verified.