Pioneers: How The BBC Began | Preview (BBC Two)

As part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations, Pioneers and Mavericks tells the stories behind some of the seminal moments of the first fifty years of the BBC across television and radio.



Eyewitnesses and participants in the BBC’s early history recount some of the triumphs and disasters as new frontiers of broadcasting were mapped out – often by accident rather than design.



Participants chart the BBC’s first, stuttering, attempt at rolling news on the night of President Kennedy’s assassination and the presenter James Burke tells how the Queen Mother helped to shape the BBC’s coverage of an Apollo space mission.


The programme gathers the testimony of people such as Lord Reith’s secretary, Dorothy Singer; producers such as David Attenborough and Peter Dimmock, who brought about the television coverage of the Coronation; programme editors Paul Fox, Monica Sims and John Grist; newsreaders Richard Baker and Nan Winton.



Presenters including Sylvia Peters, David Dimbleby, Tony Blackburn, Denis Tuohy, John Tusa and Joan Bakewell, as well as the engineers and technicians working behind the scenes. There are also interviews from the BBC’s own Oral History project, most of which have never been broadcast before.


Pioneers: The BBC’s First Years (w/t) is a Crux Productions and The Garden Productions film for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. The producer is John Bridcut and the executive producer is Magnus Temple. The commissioning editor for the BBC Arts is Mark Bell