Hello Ruby Sunday!

TV  As you have seen (possibly above), the newest Doctor Who companion was announced during tonight's Children in Need and here she is in the first joint photo with Ncuti as tweeted out by the Disney+ Twitter account because everything is weird now:

Usually I would have just embedded that tweet but like I said everything is weird now and its worth keeping for posterity, just in case the unthinkable actually does happen.  Space Karen.

Not having been party to Coronation Street I've no idea who Millie is but having done due diligence whilst writing this paragraph, I've watched some clips of her on YouTube and she seems very good indeed and won a soap award this year.  So consider me somewhere between positively whelmed and cautiously optimistic.  

What is clear, especially from this photo is that after the fan service of next year, RTD2 is very much looking to give the show a much fresher, younger tone, the casting of both leads pointing towards capturing the kind of audience that like Millie were born during the revival series and for whom this might their first Doctor Who.

Just to finish picking over the bones of what we actually know right now, Ruby Sunday's quite the name.  Redolent of a Rolling Stones song, it feels unusual in a way that Who companion names tend to be, as memorable as possible.  But it's not as unusual as you might think.  It's root is Sandys which was first recorded in Worcestershire and then spread across the world, notably to Nigeria where its immensely popular and there have been a number of footballers with that name across the years.

My first reaction was that it sounded very late era JNT, something Andrew Cartmel might include in a story inspired by a dystopian novel set in space.  But on reflection, I don't think Russell is going to break the routine of having this new  companion from a non-contemporary Earth setting so my guess is she'll be another iteration of the Dorothy McShane/Sam Jones/Izzy Sinclair/Lucie Miller/Rose Tyler genre of companion, especially with those Tooth & Claw style dungarees.

Welcome to the family Millie.  See you in 2023.

A History of the BBC in other Archives: 1923

By 1923, the BBC broadcasts were successful enough to require their own listing magazine and so the Radio Times was born.  Elsewhere, the British National Opera's production of The Magic Flute from Covent Garden becomes the corporation's first outside broadcast, transmitters in Glasgow, Sheffield, Aberdeen and Bournemouth open and at the close of the year the BBC broadcasts the chimes of Big Ben for the first time at New Year's Eve.

Radio Times


"It was launched in a fit of pique. In January 1923, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association announced that it would be charging the three-month-old British Broadcasting Company the standard advertising rates for publishing its radio listings in newspapers. Although the newspapers capitulated the following month, realising that not including the broadcasting schedules would affect their circulations, the BBC’s general manager, John Reith, was irritated by their attitude and it gave him an idea."
[joe moran's words]

The very first issue of the Radio Times.
[BBC Programme Index]

"The first edition of Radio Times magazine hit the bookstands in September 1923. Nine decades later, radio historian Simon Elmes discovers that music, and particularly classical music has always been a staple ingredient of its success formula."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]


Off and Running


BBC gets licence
"Extract of a letter from General Post Office to the Secretary of State for the Colonial Office about the licensing of the BBC, 8 March, 1923."
[The National Archives]

"Here, BBC Chairman Lord Gainford reflects on the BBC's first year."
[Audioboom]

"In the earliest days of radio, women commented on 'household matters', talked about their garden or their travels - writers Vita Sackville-West and Rebecca West were regulars - and became Children's Hour 'Aunts'; but certainly never read the news. On the other hand, the young BBC employed a number of brilliant young women behind the microphone who shaped the earliest days of programme-making."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

"We reveal the vast activities behind the organization of the B.B.C. Studio shots of band playing. Announcer at mike. Instrument panels. Shots of the staff at work. Pan shots around machinery. Studio shot of string band playing. Sound proof booth with man wearing headphones. Announcer introduces the next tune. Lamp flashes on wall. Band starts playing. Operators at work. Exterior shot of radio tower. Pan down from tower."
[British Movietone]

"On January 1923, one of the earliest outside broadcasts from the newly formed BBC took place - The Magic Flute performed at Covent Garden by The British National Opera Company. The programme was a statement of intent by the early BBC as broadcasting was a revolutionary way in which culture could be brought to many people through their new wireless sets. Ever since its foundation 100 years ago, the BBC has been an arena in which debates have played out about what sorts of culture the British people want or need."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

A History of the BBC in Other Archives: 1922

It's 1922:  Ivy Williams becomes the first woman to be called to the English bar, Howard Carter finds Tutankhamun's tomb, TS Eliot's The Waste Land is published and Branston Pickle begins production at the Cross & Blackwell factory in Staffordshire.

Meanwhile, the BBC begins.  Find below the history of 2LO and its first broadcast base through various text and video and a virtual recreation of the hut from which some of the very first radio transmissions were produced.  But as BBC News reports today, this was a national service, the schedule for which we're still piecing together.


Before 2L0


"The UK’s first weekly radio show was broadcast on 14 February 1922 from a former military hut in Writtle, using the call sign 2MT or ‘Two Emma Toc’. The experimental, irreverent shows proved to be so popular with audiences that they led to the creation of the BBC on 18 October 1922."
Interactive website which includes digital recreation of the hut, which is in Chelmsford Museum's collection and connected documents.  More information here.
[Chelmsford Museum]

"The third episode of A Century Remembered, presented by Robert Kee, about the birth of the BBC."
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"The press fulminated, the enthusiasts were frustrated, and the radio manufacturers fumed. Despite the fact that Marconi had invented radio before Queen Victoria had celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, radio in Britain took another 25 years to begin an official service to listeners. But when, on November 14th 1922 the British Broadcasting Company's station at Marconi House radiated to an awaiting nation "This is 2LO calling" for the first time under the company's name, it marked the start of the first and most distinguished public-service radio station in the world."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

2LO


"In 1922 the BBC transmitted its first radio programme, marking the beginnings of official state broadcasting and a new era for listeners at home.   On 14 November 1922, Arthur Burrows, Director of Programmes at the British Broadcasting Company, launched Britain’s first national radio broadcasting service from Marconi House in the Strand, London."
[Science Museum]

"This is a presentation about 2LO, the BBC's first transmitter, given by Martin Ellen on 14th November 2002 (the BBC's 80th birthday)."
[Science Museum]

"Marconi 1.5kW transmitter, Marconi Company Limited, Chelmsford, 1922. Used by the BBC London station 2LO between 1922 and 1925, as rebuilt c.1954 incorporating some non-original but contemporary components."
[Science Museum]

"Main part of Marconi 1.5kW transmitter (minus central rack), 1922, used by the BBC London station 2LO between 1922 and 1925, as rebuilt c.1954."
[Science Museum]

"A century ago, a group of idealistic radio pioneers launched one of Britain’s most famous institutions: the BBC. In the first instalment of our new 13-part series charting how the corporation shaped the nation, David Hendy looks back at its earliest days."
[History Extra]


Marconi


"'The birth of the wireless'. Profile of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, with contributions from his daughter Degna Marconi, second wife Maria and radio specialist Dexter Smith."
[BBC Sounds][BBC Programme Index]

"A visitor to the site, John A. Strubbe, who was the architect responsible for the internal reconstruction of Marconi House in 1950-53 when English Electric aquired the Marconi company along with their building, has very kindly sent in a great deal of information and images on Marconi House, formerly the Gaiety Restaurant."
[arthurlloyd.co.uk]

"Shots of Marconi testing radio device. Shots of technicians working on radio transmitter. CU Newspaper 'Wireless For All".  CU top of Marconi House early home of BBC. Arthur Burrows broadcasting. Technicians work machinery. VS radio masts and machines and performers. Shots of people listening to radio in various ways. (Radio garter included). Pan up radio mast."
[Pathe]

Review 2022:
A History of the BBC in Other Archives: Introduction.

Broadcasting  Tomorrow will be the 100th anniversary of the first official transmission of the BBC, a news bulletin through the 2LO station in London.  Within months it quickly grew through a network of transmitters across the country  Now here we are a hundred years later with the multifaceted, multimedia organisation which exists today and we're hoping against hope will continue into the future.

This year's Review 2022 is going to be a bit different in that it's going to span the past hundred years and continue well into the next twelve months.  It will be is a celebration of the BBC but with a twist.  The corporation itself has been doing a pretty good job of highlighting its own history through the BBC 100 website and its connected history website so there's little point in replicating that.  

Instead, I'm going to be look at that history mostly through the prism of other organisations, specifically their digital archives and libraries, news agencies and universities and linking to their video, audio and documents.  It'll be clearer once you see tomorrow's first post which contains links to footage from Pathe News of Marconi testing radio equipment, articles about these origins and photos of the original transmitter.

This will not necessarily be everything.  One or two of the UK film archives have hundreds of news clips from local BBC regional news programmes and I'll exercise some editorial control, only including material which helps to tell the story of the BBC.  Similarly some of the digitisations of deposits in university archives are thorough enough to include random envelopes with a date scrawled on them which I'm not sure is even useful to a George Orwell historian.

As the "mostly" at the top of the third paragraph suggests, some BBC sources will be sewn into the fabric of these posts, but only from the more obscure parts of the corporations website, the "clips" section of programme pages and BBC Sounds, the material which the BBC rarely highlights itself but which reflects on its own history or representing the types of programmes being made at that time.  There are some real gems hidden far below the surface.

Anyway, now the groundwork is laid, I hope you enjoy what's to come.  It's going to be a big, addictive and fascinating effort for me and hopefully interesting for you too.  At least it'll give me something to do in the evenings for a while.  But I'm also genuinely interested to see if I unearth anything the BBC itself doesn't have in its archive.  There's a piece of radio in particular which is old enough and obscure enough that I'm not sure.  But you won't be seeing that for a couple of months yet.