A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1995

By 1995, I'd moved within walking distance of numerous cinemas in Leeds, particular the Hyde Park Picture House and was also spending a lot of time at friend's house especially in that second year because I didn't get on very well with my own housemates.  The upshot of that was not watching a lot of television while at university in those years at least not live.  During Pride & Prejudice's initial broadcast, I vividly remember my much nicer third year housemates gathering together in one of the ground floor rooms to watch the latest episode, while I was on the way out of the house probably to see a film.  Given how little I watch during broadcast now, some things don't change.

What's impressive is how influential the series continues to be, the gold standard of period dramas to which all Austen adaptations would subsequently be compared.  The BBC itself hasn't gone anywhere near a new version, offering instead in 2013 an adaptation of the PD James novel Death Comes To Pemberley and a Radio 4 classic serial in 2017.  Perhaps there's also the sense of fatigue, what with the story having been the speed run basis of numerous films including the seriously undervalued Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016).  Here's a detailed list.  But more than most of Austen's novels, it's a story which requires room to breath so I hope we do see a lengthier television adaptation before too long.

Pride & Prejudice

Award-winning adaptation of Jane Austen's classic Regency romance starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
[BBC iPlayer]

"The 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice was born out of director Sue Birtwistle’s vision for a modern day version:  she wanted her film to be a faithful adaptation that’s “a fresh, lively story about real people."
[Modern Mrs Darcy]

"In honour of its 20th anniversary this year, I thought I would look at some of the wonderful places used as filming locations in this, for me, unsurpassed version of Pride and Prejudice."
[Regency History]

"Confession: I have read Pride and Prejudice about 200 times. I get lost in the language--words like thither, mischance, felicity. I’m always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are really going to get together. Read it--I know you’ll love it."


The first edition of the programme.
[BBC Clips]

Surprisingly balanced discussion of the mid-90s strand featuring numerous prominent gay and lesbian voices.
[BBC Clips]


"Throughout 1995 and into early 1996, BBC Two celebrated the Centenary of Cinema -- the 100th anniversary of the first Lumière screening in Paris -- with a season of 100 films under the title The BBC 100."

"The trend had been for Star Trek to spend longer and longer off air between blocks of repeats."
[Space Doubt]

"Continuing with weekday morning broadcasts, Joe 90 concluded its first run on BBC 1 with The Birthday on January 4th, with the only notable anomaly being Viva Cordova’s broadcast on BBC 2 on January 1st – as for some reason the entire BBC 1 early morning children’s schedule had been moved to BBC 2 to allow broadcast of the 1955 Gene Kelly musical comedy It’s Always Fair Weather on BBC 1 at 7.35am."
[The Official Gerry Anderson Website]

"This penultimate edition features producer Paul Schlesinger, who spent the late 1990s making shows such as the Sunday Format, People Like Us and Absolute Power before leaving to make television, returning in 2005 to become Head of Radio Comedy; it also features Meera Syal whose Radio 4 sketch show Goodness Gracious Me was the first British Asian comedy hit, later transferring to BBC Two."
[BBC Sounds]


"Recent revelations about Martin Bashir’s “deceitful behaviour” don’t alter the emotional force of the broadcast."
[The New Yorker]

"We go back to 1995 and tell the behind-the-scenes story of Princess Diana’s famous 1995 Panorama interview – with those who were there at the time."
[BBC Sounds]

"At the beginning of every Watchdog programme Anne Robinson comes on and stresses "its a live programme ... Of course it's not, its three or four pre-recorded items connected together with a bit of commentary by Ms Robinson."
[British Safety Council Digital Archive]

"I am fortunate to have taken over as Chairman of the BBC at a time when the organisation's strength and excellence is so convincingly demonstrated by the quality of its radio and television programmes.  They continue to present a range and diversity, a sustained standard, a wide audience appeal, that is as high as at any time in the BBC's long history."
[World Radio History]

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