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The Cello and The Nightingale

In 1924 the BBC transmitted its first live outside broadcast: a duet between cellist Beatrice Harrison and the nightingales nesting in the garden of her Surrey home. Capturing the song of the Nightingale. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Aug 16, 2014 - 10 comments

A hundred years ago Europe was in the midst of the July Crisis.

The BBC will be covering World War One in great detail over the next four years. They've already started, with podcasts, interactive guides, online courses, programs new and old plus much, much more. Perhaps it's best to start at the beginning, with Professor Margaret MacMillan's Countdown to World War One (podcast link) or the account of her fellow historian Christopher Clark, Month of Madness. Of course, how the war started is still contested by historians, as recounted in The Great War of Words. The latter two are also part of the main WWI podcast. Or you can dive into the Music and Culture section, go through an A-Z guide or look at comics drawn by modern cartoonists.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 27, 2014 - 42 comments

We Must Consider the Sounds of Knives and Forks

Noise: A Human History is a cool 30-part radio series by David Hendy in collaboration with the British Library Sound Archive and the BBC that explores the past 100,000 years of sound and listening.
posted by Lutoslawski on Oct 22, 2013 - 6 comments

I have to be clear. Clear as glass.

"Echo Point" is a chilling, sound-rich supernatural radio drama written by Australian author Louis Nowra. Originally aired on BBC Radio 4, it is now available on SoundCloud via producer/director Judith Kampfner. [more inside]
posted by mykescipark on Jul 31, 2013 - 6 comments

Ovaries! Time MAchines!

British comedian Josie Long explores All the Planet's Wonders in a very short series on BBC radio: Collecting. Animals. Astronomy. Plants.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jul 8, 2013 - 11 comments

John Oliver: "The most formative comedy of my teenage years."

There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.
John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep), Christopher Morris (Jam, Brass Eye, Four Lions, Why Bother?), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I'm Alan Partridge). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6), and begat a television series called The Day Today. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted, The IT Crowd) to On the Hour's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six), as well as a special 9/11 radio report. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 10, 2013 - 64 comments

Battered Vinyl Retaliates

BBC DJs Mark and Lard show of some of their treasured vinyl recordings which are "particularly hard to find these days in this kind of condition": Mull of *Kintyre, Messing about on the River, Rocking around the Christmas Tree, Bright Eyes (more). NSFW - although somehow they got away with broadcasting it in the middle of the afternoon.
posted by rongorongo on Jan 30, 2013 - 13 comments

The Real George Orwell

The Radio 4 on the BBC is presenting a month of readings from George Orwell's books. Some of them will only be available for one week from the date of broadcast, so be quick. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Jan 29, 2013 - 5 comments

The Value of Culture

The Value of Culture is a five part BBC radio series by Melvyn Bragg (which can be downloaded as a podcast) which explores the modern concept of 'culture' from its roots in mid-19th Century Britain, specifically Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy and Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture (vol. 2), and exploring the discourse and uses of the concept until the present day. There are five episodes, each a little over forty minutes long, focusing in turn on Arnold and the roots of the concept of culture, Tylor and the anthropological conception of culture, C. P. Snow and the 'Two Cultures' debate, mass culture and culture studies, and then ending with a debate on the value of culture today.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 6, 2013 - 11 comments

Round Britain Quiz

The world's hardest radio quiz is back.
posted by Paul Slade on Sep 5, 2012 - 41 comments

The USSR's War and Peace

An 8 hour radio dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is being broadcast by the BBC. Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star. [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Sep 19, 2011 - 9 comments

I never heard that she had any other Name than the Princess Seraphina.

Princess Seraphina was an 18th Century cross-dresser who brought a thief to court for stealing her clothes. Her trial provides a brief glimpse into the life of queer men in 18th-Century England.
posted by Mooseli on Aug 3, 2011 - 31 comments

But Beowulf fought on

Each of us must face the monster down: Children's author Michael Morpurgo reads his essay for the Norwegian people.
posted by Mooseli on Jul 26, 2011 - 25 comments

Bloggers against type

Maggie McNeil is a semi-retired "honest courtesan" who recently countered Ashton Kutcher's "sex slavery" claims (previously) with some statistics and facts. Bobbi Starr is a professional concert oboist, nationally ranked swimmer, and works in some of the hardest porn available. She was recently featured on the (highly recommended) BBC Radio Assignment series. Primary links are obviously NSFW; BobbiStarr.com also has potential trigger warnings.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 8, 2011 - 23 comments

Audionatomy of Melancholy

A discussion on BBC Radio 4 of Robert Burton's 17th-century compendium The Anatomy Of Melancholy. Examining the medical, literary, political, and religious influences of this enormous work, as well as how it contributed to those same fields over its many years of revisions and continuing popularity. Not exactly thorough (how could it be?) but an interesting listen.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on May 14, 2011 - 26 comments

BBC Radio 4 Collections

BBC Radio 4 now has a dedicated online program library! Rather than hunting through the site, you can now browse by subject and/or program from one main 'Collections' page. It's not all of the output by any means, but there's plenty there to keep you going, such as the philosophy archives from Melvyn Bragg's "In Our Time", or various mathematics programs from different series. There's much much more as well. [more inside]
posted by carter on Apr 24, 2011 - 11 comments

Monday, 9:00 AM. Briefing meeting with Deparment Research Team Thirty-Two.

The Department. Regular listeners to The Bugle (previously) will have been missing their usual weekly dose of historico-politico-silliness. But there is a fallback. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Apr 3, 2011 - 10 comments

A Booth, a Mic, and a Tower

It’s increasingly rare for musicians to come into a radio station for anything more than a concert or album promo, but you can still find live performances from the booth if you know where to tune in: WNRN, an independent radio station in Virginia, has regular live acoustic performances of touring musicians, and records them in HD: The Punch Brothers covering Reptilia and Rye Whiskey; Locust in the Willow and Sometimes in This Country from Crooked Still. (much more)

Stevie Wonder and Eric Benet improvising on “You and I” at Stevie’s own radio station, KJLH.

Eminem freestyling on BBC Radio 1. BBC Live Lounge.

Howard Stern has supported live acoustic acts for a long time: Elton John, “Why Isn’t Howard Stern On TV?”; Dave Grohl, Everlong, My Hero; Counting Crows. A few public radio stations have dedicated performance spaces used for live shows : WNYC’s Greene Space and the BBC’s Maida Vale. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Feb 27, 2011 - 37 comments

In the beginning was the Word

Canadian horror flick Pontypool (trailer) is a modern zombie tale quite unlike any other. Loosely based on a dense, complicated novel by Tony Burgess and inspired by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, it tells the story of Grant Mazzy, a grumbling yet likable radio host (played by veteran character actor Stephen McHattie) whose penchant for philosophical ramblings gets him booted from Toronto to the sleepy winter pastures of Pontypool, Ontario. One bleak morning, as the outspoken Mazzy chafes against no-nonsense producer Sydney Briar, disturbing news begins rolling in of a series of bizarre and violent incidents sweeping the town. Trapped in their church basement broadcasting booth, Mazzy, Briar, and intern Laurel-Ann Drummond struggle to understand the odd nature of the crisis and warn the wider world before it's too late. But this is no ordinary virus, and they find their efforts may be causing far more harm than good. You can watch the film on YouTube horror channel Dead By Dawn (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), but if you're pressed for time you can also experience it in its more logical form: as a one-hour BBC radio drama voiced by the original cast. And after the credits, make sure not to miss the film's playful non-sequitur coda.
posted by Rhaomi on Feb 25, 2011 - 49 comments

RE: Penis Enlargement

[Probably NSFW] Alan Bennett responds to Penis Enlargement spam. [more inside]
posted by nam3d on Oct 13, 2010 - 14 comments

The Big British Castle

BBC Radio 6 Music, home of amongst other things the Adam and Joe show, is facing the axe. Phil Jupitus on why this sucks. (Previously, previously, previously, previously)
posted by Artw on Feb 26, 2010 - 36 comments

The Interview

The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
posted by Len on Feb 7, 2010 - 7 comments

In Our Time - 440 archived programmes

You guys know about BBC Radio 4's In Our Time, right? Each week, the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg hosts a 45-minute discussion on some aspect of culture, history, philosophy, religion or science. His guests are always three academics with expert knowledge of the chosen subject, and the tone is serious and detailed but never inaccessible. By respecting his audience's intelligence, Bragg delivers a programme of unrivaled interest, depth and educational value. The topics covered this year alone include The Frankfurt School, The Glencoe Massacre, Silas Marner and Ibn Khaldun. Eclectic, yes, but never less than fascinating. The good news is that the programme has just redesigned its website, making all 440 episodes to date available for your listening pleasure in its eminently browsable archive. In the dumbed-down 21st Century, it's a miracle that a programme like this still exists, so let's all make the most of it while we can.
posted by Paul Slade on Feb 4, 2010 - 59 comments

creative dissatisfaction, that elusive fire in the belly

MAN is one of a number of animals that make things, but man is the only one that depends for its very survival on the things he has made. That simple observation is the starting point for an ambitious history programme that the BBC will begin broadcasting on January 18th in which it aims to tell a history of the world through 100 objects in the British Museum (BM). A joint venture four years in the making between the BM and the BBC, the series features 100 15-minute radio broadcasts, a separate 13 episodes in which children visit the museum at night and try to unlock its mysteries, a BBC World Service package of tailored omnibus editions for broadcasting around the world and an interactive digital programme involving 350 museums in Britain which will be available free over the internet. The presenter is Neil MacGregor, the BM’s director, who has moved from the study of art to the contemplation of things. “Objects take you into the thought world of the past,” he says. “When you think about the skills required to make something you begin to think about the brain that made it.” via The Economist [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 30, 2009 - 36 comments

John Humphrys on the move

BBC Streams has rekindled my love of all things BBC Radio 4, now I can listen to The Today Programme on my iPhone whilst on my commute.
posted by nam3d on Oct 17, 2009 - 21 comments

North Ustire, South Ustire, Rockall, Malin

Don't want to wait until bedtime (UK bedtime that is) to drift off to Sailing By (one of Jarvis Cocker's Desert Island Discs)? Well thanks to permanent bedtime you can listen to the BBC shipping forecast all day. Oh? What's that? It's no use because it's from months ago? Okay, here's the Met Office current data, and the listen again page on the beeb. Or test yourself: can you name all the weather areas?
posted by itsjustanalias on Jun 19, 2009 - 21 comments

You might as well have said you were going to fly to the moon

The English town of Doncaster has a new mayor. English Democrat Peter Davies was elected on the 8th of June 2009. His first engagement in his new role was an interview with the local BBC Radio station. Listen here (MP3 link) with a transcript here.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Jun 11, 2009 - 39 comments

Waits for applause...not a sausage

The Goon Show was a popular and influential radio comedy produced by the BBC from 1951 - 1960, starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Here, you can listen to it whenever you like. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Apr 5, 2008 - 37 comments

Kidnapped

From Our Own Correspondent BBC journalist Alan Johnston gives his account of being kidnapped in Gaza for 114 days. Best in his own voice [mp3]. [more inside]
posted by TrashyRambo on Oct 26, 2007 - 3 comments

2007 Reith Lectures

Over the next four weeks, Jeffrey Sachs will be giving the 2007 BBC Reith Lectures. Download [MP3] the first week's lecture ("Bursting at the Seams"), or subscribe [XML] to the podcast. Listen to the 1999-2006 lectures in full, or hear historic lecturers such as Bertrand Russell and J.K. Galbraith.
posted by Aloysius Bear on Apr 13, 2007 - 14 comments

The history of ideas

In Our Time Faced with a wet weekend indoors, I realised it's time to dig into the archive of In Our Time, the most unashamedly intellectual radio discussion series every produced. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and hosted by Melvyn Bragg (sorry, make that Lord Bragg), the show's format is simple: Take a topic that's shaped our world, invite a handful of academics who specialize in that field, and chat. But remember: Commercially suicidal program(me)s like this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the unique way the BBC is funded.
posted by humblepigeon on Mar 24, 2007 - 25 comments

BBC on Last.fm

Last.fm isn't just for humans. Matt Biddulph, a systems architect for the BBC, rigged a homemade plug-in for Last.fm (Previously on MeFi) that, over the course of a year, transmitted over 50,000 songs played on BBC 6Music to a Last.fm account named Sekrit. (Oh, and wondering what MetaFilter users listen to?) (via waxy)
posted by Robot Johnny on Apr 28, 2006 - 32 comments

BBC Programme Catalogue

The BBC Programme Catalogue: an index of 946,614 radio and television broadcasts, dating back 75 years. (Via BB.)
posted by steef on Apr 26, 2006 - 14 comments

Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!

It's not over until the fat lady sings, and she's not due up till midnight. BBC Radio 3 has devoted its schedule to a week of Beethoven and a month of Bach. Now it's going for the endurance record: devoting a day to a complete performance of Wagner's Ring cycle: a rare thing for a work and composer more often discussed than listened to, and more often excerpted or parodied than heard in full. The website offers even more lavish augmentation this time, including live libretto translation and commentary.
posted by holgate on Apr 17, 2006 - 12 comments

Comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer

British comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer. Linda Smith, president of the Humanist society and a regular on BBC Radio 4's flagship comedy shows such as The News Quiz and Just A Minute, plus her own A Brief History of Timewasting, her wonderfully deadpan style and the ability to transform moaning into an art form will be missed by many.
posted by ceri richard on Feb 28, 2006 - 31 comments

In Search of Mornington Crescent

In Search of Mornington Crescent Every wondered what the rules of this vital part of Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue (the antidote to panel games) might be? Well you won't find them here, but what you will enjoy are some excellent jokes at the expense of many British institutions (if you have real player or the alternative installed). Worth listening to for how the game was played during the restoration. Anybody care for a game? I'll start ... erm ... Tower Bridge ...
posted by feelinglistless on Dec 24, 2005 - 21 comments

Tagging bbc radio songs via mobile phone

Tagging bbc radio songs via mobile phone
posted by Tlogmer on Aug 30, 2005 - 7 comments

BBC on broadband

The BBC announces plans to make its TV channels available on the internet. As you already know, you can already listen to all BBC radio channels live and view news clips and some news programmes. Now the BBC has ambitions to expand its internet offer even further. Starting next year, on demand radio and tv content will be available through MyBBCPlayer, with the past seven days of programmes, along with live streaming of BBC tv channels (apparently to be restricted to UK viewers only) and access to the archives. Plans also include the ability to purchase music downloads.
posted by funambulist on Aug 28, 2005 - 26 comments

The DJ is dead. Long live the DJ.

John Peel's Successors Named. Begining on February 1st, John Peel's week night show will be succeeded by OneMusic, three shows hosted by three DJs. The three chosen to fill those gigantic boots? Huw Stephens, Ras Kwame, and Rob da Bank. Good luck gents.
posted by helvetica on Jan 11, 2005 - 8 comments

Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment & Memories

Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment & Memories. On these pages are pictures of old BBC radio equipment and memories from the people who used it. We don't aim at building a comprehensive history but to provide some 'snap-shots' of times and places. [via The Cartoonist]
posted by soundofsuburbia on Nov 11, 2004 - 1 comment

Hoopy!

New Hitchhiker's BBC radio series debuted today. I managed to miss it but one can listen online starting Thursday. Previously discussed here.
posted by CunningLinguist on Sep 21, 2004 - 15 comments

BBC Radio Interviews From Hell

BBC Radio Interviews From Hell My favourite is Dr Hastings Banda the leader of Malawi in 1962 who seems to have to the perfect way of getting out of an interview he obviously doesn't want to be having. See also the minimalist pleasure of Gordon Clough's dog. [in Real Audio]
posted by feelinglistless on Aug 8, 2004 - 7 comments

Trailer for The Tertiary Phase of H2G2

The trailer for The broadcast of The Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (by Douglas Adams). It doesn't just sound great, it doesn't just sound amazing, it sounds amazingly amazing! [via]
posted by feelinglistless on Jun 21, 2004 - 33 comments

The world of double entendre

The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre - the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’ from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari (underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke (it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy. Of course the double entendre can also be unintentional.
posted by rolo on Feb 27, 2004 - 8 comments

This is the BBC.

Dyke to open up BBC archive. Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, has announced plans to give the public full access to all the corporation's programme archives. Wow! The BBC has archives stretching back to when the Earth was still cooling. And now it will all be available online and for free. [Via Slashdot]
posted by PenDevil on Aug 24, 2003 - 36 comments

Funny Latin Phrases

Quanto putas mihi stare hoc conclave ? That's "How many prostitutes does it take to change a lightbulb?" in Latin. No, actually it's "How much do you think I paid for this apartment?". Here's hoping, in the wake of the BBC's superb The Roman Way series, written and presented by David Aaranovich, that good old Latin is on its way back, albeit in an Internet, soundbitey way. Those intending to smuggle some into MetaFilter should definitely start here. The owner, for instance, might find Ne ponatur in mea vicinitate useful - "Not in my backyard". And Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione - "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult" should prove popular in the God threads. Vale!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Feb 3, 2003 - 26 comments

BBC 7: New Comedy Radio Channel

Britannia BBC Rules The Radio Waves and no other broadcaster in the world comes close. Radio 4, The World Service and Radio 3 are simply the best radio stations for news, commentary and classical music there are. Now, their sparkling new channel, BBC7, is full of comedy and drama greatness. The League of Gentleman, Rory Bremner, Stephen Fry, Griff Rhys-Jones... nobody does comedy or radio like the British and when the two come together, it's bliss. Bless 'em! [Specially for us non-license-paying foreigners listening in on the Internet... Real Audio required, nonetheless.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 19, 2002 - 32 comments

The BBC launch a new radio station.

The BBC launch a new radio station. For too long, an entire demographic has been excluded from British radio. That is, contemporary and classic rock music that isn't exclusively chart oriented. It's only available on digital radio and streaming over the internet. So far it looks very promising. As a public sector broadcaster, this is exactly the sort of thing the Beeb should be doing - filling in the gaps left by commercial stations. Enjoy.
posted by salmacis on Mar 11, 2002 - 28 comments

Mullah Omar speaks

Mullah Omar speaks to the people of Afghanistan and Muslims around the world. But Voice of Shariat was destroyed in the bombing. So a tape of his speech was delivered to Voice of America and the BBC World Service, and they both broadcast it.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Oct 10, 2001 - 28 comments

BBC to North America and Australia: Drop Dead.

BBC to North America and Australia: Drop Dead. The BBC World Service is dumping all shortwave broadcasts to the US, Canada and Australia as of July. If you want to listen you'll have to get it off the net, or hope your local public radio station uses at least a few WS programs as cheap filler material. A couple hundred US stations do this, but did we mention they tend to do it at 3 in the morning? (Scroll down past the Angola stuff in the above link.)
posted by aaron on May 8, 2001 - 18 comments

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