The first in-depth history of the iconic radio and TV network that has shaped our past and present.

Doctor Who; tennis from Wimbledon; the Beatles and the Stones; the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales: for one hundred years, the British Broadcasting Corporation has been the preeminent broadcaster in the UK and around the world, a constant source of information, comfort, and entertainment through both war and peace, feast and famine.

The BBC has broadcast to over two hundred countries and in more than forty languages. Its history is a broad cultural panorama of the twentieth century itself, often, although not always, delivered in a mellifluous Oxford accent. With special access to the BBC’s archives, historian David Hendy presents a dazzling portrait of a unique institution whose cultural influence is greater than any other media organization. 

Mixing politics, espionage, the arts, social change, and everyday life, The BBC is a vivid social history of the organization that has provided both background commentary and screen-grabbing headlines—woven so deeply into the culture and politics of the past century that almost none of us has been left untouched by it.

What's Inside

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Praise

“Much of this history has been told before but never in such well-researched depth and sparkling detail…An appropriately large-scale account of the media giant at the very heart of British life."—Kirkus
“[A] highly readable, at times gripping, history of the BBC…I found much that was striking and new… a fascinating and informative account of the BBC’s first 100 years.”—The Telegraph
“[E]ngaging and fair… It is very much the case for the BBC, but it is a case which, with things as they are, needs to be made; and Hendy makes it well.”—The Scotsman
“Hendy…set[s] the scene rather well of these three influential figures at the dawning of what would turn out to be this country’s biggest and most significant cultural institution.”—The Observer (UK)
“Hendy's lively new history is a reminder that the BBC 's present struggles—government rows, culture wars, foreign rivals and more—are modern manifestations of old problems. His account of the corporation also makes for an incisive history of Britain's 20th century.”—The Economist
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