Happy birthday, BBC

It’s exactly 100 years today since the British Broadcasting Company – yet to become a Corporation – was set up. Don’t worry if you’re getting to this late, they didn’t start putting out programmes until 14 November, so read this again then, and you can maintain a BBC tradition by complaining about repeats.

This – and apologies for the photographed pages, the printout is the only version I can find without hunting through old computers in the garage that may or may not work any more – is a sample chapter of a history of broadcasting I pitched in 2004. Yes, that’s right, this is another of the Books I Never Got To Write.

It was rejected by my then publisher on the grounds that “people just aren’t that interested in how the media works.” This was in the week that people were queueing round the block to get in to the Hutton Inquiry to see Andrew Gilligan from the Today programme give evidence. Go figure.

Anyhoo, here it is. TL/DR: a bunch of eccentric men invented broadcasting, fuelled by beer and meringues and to a soundtrack of bashed biscuit tins, broken glass, and shotguns. And, more often than they would have liked, silence.

By Adam Macqueen

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