Tuesday 18 October 2022 marks 100 years since the first broadcast made by the BBC. It’s the first public service broadcaster in the world to have reached a full century, and as such a week of programming has been planned to celebrate and commemorate this hundredth anniversary.
There’s a whole host of drama, comedy, and documentaries scheduled to tie in with the anniversary, from Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who regeneration to a Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse Adam Curtis spoof to a look at underappreciated figures like producer Una Marson, the first Black producer at the BBC.
Here’s your guide to all the BBC centenary specials planned over the next week.
Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor | BBC One, Sunday 23 October @ 7:30pm
In this feature-length Special to mark her last adventure, Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor must fight for her very existence, against her deadliest enemies: the Daleks, the Cybermen and her arch-nemesis, the Master.
The Love Box in Your Living Room with Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse | BBC Two, Thursday 27 October @ 9pm
Harry and Paul tell the true story of Britain’s political and social evolution over the last century through the life of the BBC, with a comic take on Adam Curtis documentaries (Enfield plays Adam Adamant Curtis, in reference to Jackanory and the Hypernormalisation director).
Strictly Come Dancing BBC 100 Special | BBC One, Saturday 22 October @ 6:45pm
Celebrating 100 years of the BBC, the fun-filled new themed episode will see each of the couples take to the Strictly ballroom floor, either dancing to a theme tune from an iconic BBC programme or in tribute to one of the BBC’s most loved services. (Ellie Taylor is dancing to the Casualty theme, Will Mellor to the Line of Duty theme, so on and so forth.)
Horrible Histories: BBC’s Big Birthday Bonanza! | CBBC, n.d.
The first Director General, Lord Reith, reveals why he needed a postman’s help with his job application; we find out why the Queen’s Coronation made you the most popular house on the street, if you had a telly; how the launch night of BBC2 went awry, with not only a power cut, but also an escaped kangaroo, and radio Announcer Wilfred Pickles confounds the Nazis with his Yorkshire accent.
Pioneers: The BBC’s First Years | BBC Two, Saturday 22 October @ 8pm
A two-part documentary that tells the stories behind some of the seminal moments of the first fifty years of the BBC across television and radio. Eyewitnesses and participants in the BBC’s early history recount some of the triumphs and disasters as new frontiers of broadcasting were mapped out – often by accident rather than design.
Talking Movies | BBC News, Saturday 22 October
Talking Movies celebrates 100 years of the BBC by talking to some of the biggest names in the British film industry. Award-winning directors from the world of cinema including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Mary Harron, Sally El Hosaini and James Marsh participate in a special Talking Movies season looking at the role the BBC has played in nurturing their careers.
Una Marson: Our Lost Caribbean Voice | BBC Two, Sunday 23 October @ 9pm
Una Marson - trailblazing poet, playwright, and campaigner, and the first black producer and broadcaster at the BBC - joined the BBC’s Empire Service during World War II. She was the first broadcaster to give voice to Caribbean writers and intellectuals, bringing their stories and culture to a global audience accustomed to hearing only English accents.
Kid’s TV: The Surprising Story | BBC One, Wednesday 26 October @ 9pm
Konnie Huq celebrates the very best of British children’s television, with a dazzling array of clips from some of the most treasured programmes ever made and revealing chats with some of TV’s most beloved stars. British children’s television has, from its very earliest days, been quietly trailblazing – ahead of the curve when it comes to the inclusion and representation of minority groups, and tackling emerging social themes long before ‘grown up’ programmes began to address them.
David Dimbleby: The Days that Shook the BBC | BBC iPlayer, available now
David Dimbleby goes behind the scenes to investigate major controversies that have affected the BBC and its viewers over the last sixty years, from the Hutton inquiry to the Martin Bashir/Diana interview to Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time.
The Repair Shop: Centenary Special | BBC One, Wednesday 26 October @ 8pm
Jay Blades and The Repair Shop team meet with King Charles, with the monarch asking for a piece of pottery made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and an 18th Century clock to be restored by the programme’s experts.
Saturday Kitchen Live | BBC One, Saturday 29 October
This special episode will feature guests and chefs who have shaped food television over the years with a collage of vintage archive from some of the greats – from the first TV chef, Marcel Boulestin, to Delia Smith.
Top Gear | BBC One, n.d.
Freddie, Chris and Paddy celebrate 100 years of the BBC by tackling motorsport 1920s-style. Paddy also delves into the history of BMW’s legendary M-cars, Chris gets to grips with Ford’s new WRC racer, and the team investigate the future of fuel.
Bargain Hunt | BBC One, n.d.
In a special show to celebrate the BBC’s 100th birthday, two teams of famous faces go head to head at an antiques fair in Newark. On the red team are broadcasting legends Tony Blackburn and Gyles Brandreth. Their opposition in blue are presenter and writer Josie d’Arby and broadcaster and drummer extraordinaire Owain Wyn Evans.
Antiques Roadshow | BBC One, n.d.
Antiques Roadshow is at Alexandra Palace, the birthplace of television, for this special edition programme to celebrate 100 years of broadcasting – featuring the first script for Florizel Street (the original name of Coronation Street), the original Mastermind chair, Del Boy’s Ford Capri, and more.