On 14 November 1922, the British Broadcasting Company began reporting from a studio on the Strand in London. A hundred years later, this rich heritage is the inspiration for the Science Museum Group’s series of exhibitions up and down the country, celebrating both the BBC’s centenary and the 40th anniversary of Channel 4.
At London’s Science Museum, the BBC At 100 exhibition brings together a collection of artefacts from the past century, including a portable disc recorder used to report directly from the battlefields of the Second World War and a 1980s Cyberman costume from the 25th series of Doctor Who. The show focuses not just on broadcasting, but also on the pivotal role the Beeb has played in the nation’s education, too, with a look at its Computer Literacy Project from the 1970s, right up to BBC Bitesize. Runs until January 2023.
In Bradford, meanwhile, the National Science and Media Museum is hosting Switched On until January, a hands-on exhibition that charts the evolution of broadcasting, from early 1920s radio microphones to high-definition streaming platforms. The BBC is well-represented, too, with a host of artefacts on display and a focus on some of the most influential figures in broadcasting, including David Attenborough and Doctor Who theme tune composer Delia Derbyshire.
Manchester is also marking the centenary at the Science and Industry Museum, with a look at the city’s role as a hub of broadcasting innovation. Key to this was 2ZY Radio, one of the country’s first radio stations, and visitors can learn more about how listeners bought, built and tuned in their radios in the 1920s. There’s also the chance to look at the tech that’s likely to shape another century of TV and radio. Runs until February 2023.
Three experiences that bring the BBC to life
The lauded series aired its final season earlier this year, but the thrills and spills needn’t stop there. Fans of the show can head to the new Camden Garrison in London’s Camden Market for Peaky Blinders: The Rise, an immersive theatre experience that unfolds within the gritty glamour of the 1920s. Flat caps optional.
The pretty Cornish village of Charlestown, near St Austell, played host to several scenes in the hit historical drama. It’s a must for history buffs as it is for fans: rummage through antique shops, admire the tall ships in the harbour and pop into the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre to learn more about Cornwall’s history of smuggling.
Step into the shoes of the famous sleuth in this thrilling London escape room. Created by the makers of the BBC series, the experience also features original snippets from the cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott. There’s even a Sherlock-themed speakeasy to toast your achievements afterwards.
Published in the December 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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