A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1991

Even though large parts of my school life have disappeared from my memory due to trauma or age or both, there is one image that remains vivid. The internet tells me it happened in early January 1991: sitting in the form room before registration and assembly, listening to coverage of the Gulf War on a radio that another boy had brought in for the purpose.

This was unusual. The school had strict rules about what could and couldn't happen in classrooms. Having a radio blasting out, even the news, was very much frowned upon. (Although having half the class taunt one of its pupils to the point of sobbing was apparently fine, but I digress. See what I mean about trauma?)

Radio 4 News FM, as it was officially known (or Scud FM as quickly dubbed by the media), ran from January 16th until March 2nd, 1991. The channel's usual schedule continued on longwave (LW). Despite its immense popularity, internal fears at the BBC about news and current affairs over-reaching led senior executives to close it abruptly as the war ended.

Also around that time, we were moving from a house in Speke to where we still live now. Scud FM became the backdrop for packing and unpacking, and the longest sustained period of my listening to the BBC's fourth channel (which had usually only been for repeats of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Afterwards, I probably went back to my usual background music – Debbie Gibson tunes and shit. It was certainly the last time I remember a radio being smuggled into school. But, it held the door ajar slightly in my understanding of what was available on the BBC,  leading to Five Live becoming a mainstay during my university years.


"Midlands Today prepares for a move to a new studio, and the introduction of a separate news programme for the East Midlands."
[BBC Rewind]


"Noel’s House Party: A Decade Of Crinkley Bottom - some highlights from the archives, produced by Richard Latto."
NHP began this year and this (perhaps little seen) clip show was created specially for the History of the BBC website.
[BBC Clips]

"Nickelodeon asked me for ideas. I thought, All I do right now is watch my four and 15-month year old kids go to the bathroom."
[The Guardian]

"In the early summer of 1991 I was coming to the end of my degree course at the then Nottingham Polytechnic and found myself killing a few hours in its library whilst nervously awaiting my results. As I leafed through the day’s broadsheets, trying desperately to distract myself from my anxiety, I came across an article which caught my eye and excited me."
[Off The Telly]

"Revisiting Stephen Gallagher’s Chimera, an early 90s TV mini-series exploring the perilous consequences when scientific advancement meets government corruption…"
[Horrified Magazine]

"One thing I’ve become vaguely obsessed with over the past year is how often the things that “everyone” knows about a TV show turn out to be incorrect. Of course, by “everyone”, I don’t actually mean everyone. The person on the street doesn’t mutter Brittas Empire TX dates as they go about their shopping. At least not in my local Tesco."
[Dirty Feed]

"Although Thunderbirds had premiered on British television back in 1965 and would be repeated several times over the next two decades, the fragmented regional makeup of the British television landscape of the time meant that different regions would see different episodes airing at different times – with some regions receiving more broadcasts than others."
[The Official Gerry Anderson Website]

"Some people probably think I compile lists of recording dates for sitcoms in lieu of having anything interesting to say about them. These people are entirely correct.  Nonetheless, as I’ve just had a delightful time watching the whole run on iPlayer, let’s take a look at Series 1 of Andrew Marshall’s brilliant 2point4 children."
[Dirty Feed]


From Blondie to Lulu: The songs the BBC banned during the Gulf War
"When the Gulf War broke out in 1991, the BBC acted with responsibility."
[Far Out Magazine]

"This has been another testing year, filled with change and challenge for the BBC. But what is more significant for our millions of viewers and listeners, both in the UK and around the world, is that it has also been another year of programme achievement."
[World Radio History]

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