These 10 Numbers Are Key To BBC’s History As It Marks 100 Years

The BBC broadcasts in 42 languages around the world. (File)

Here are some key numbers associated with broadcasting giant, the BBC, which marks the centenary of its creation on October 18.

Here are some amazing facts about the BBC in numbers:

  1. 2: The number of times the first news bulletin was read on air in November 1922, once at normal speed, once twice as slowly, with listeners asked to give their preference.

  2. 10: The amount in shillings (half a pound) of the BBC licence fee when it was introduced in 1923 to help fund the broadcaster. The fee, which must be paid by every household with a television set, now stands at 159 pounds ($176). The Conservative government, which argues that the BBC’s funding model needs to change to reflect a shift to streaming services, is considering abolishing it.

  3. 12: Number of times the famously pugnacious BBC interviewer Jeremy Paxman asked the same question of interior minister Michael Howard (“Did you threaten to overrule him?”) in a May 1997 grilling over a controversy involving the head of the prison service.

  4. 33: Speeches given by prime minister Winston Churchill on BBC radio to rally the nation during World War II, including his famous “we shall fight on the beaches” address.

  5. 42: Languages in which the BBC broadcasts around the world — a key component of British soft power since the launch in 1932 of the BBC World Service, known at the time as the Empire Service. Faced with a funding freeze, it has been forced to reduce its output, with Chinese, Hindi and Arabic among the nine languages it has proposed to drop from its radio broadcasts as part of a move to a “digital-first” model.

  6. 71: Years the world’s longest-running radio drama, “The Archers”, has been broadcast on the BBC. The wildly popular soap about a farming community in the fictional village of Ambridge was created to try to boost farm yields after World War II. Since then, it has grown into a lodestone of British popular culture, with the storylines increasingly tracking evolutions in society, from the arrival of a female vicar in 1996 to a gay wedding in 2006.

  7. 517: Number of times Franck Bauer, a presenter on the BBC’s French-language radio station Radio Londres, addressed Nazi-occupied France from London during World War II, beginning: “This is London, the French speaking to the French.” Charles de Gaulle used the station with his famous June 18, 1940 appeal to the French to join the Resistance with him in London.

  8. 2,000,000: The number of people who have obtained a degree thanks to the Open University, which began working with the BBC in the early 1970s to beam lectures into the living rooms of people who wanted to further their education from home. Now, most of the content is provided online.

  9. 21,000,000: Number of people around the world who watched the coronation of the young Queen Elizabeth II on BBC television in 1953 — the first major event to be televised.

  10. 22,400,000: Number of people who watched BBC coverage of the queen’s coffin being taken from Westminster Abbey through the streets of London after her funeral on September 19. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died on September 8 at the age of 96.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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