BBC 100 in Greater Manchester

This month the BBC celebrates its centenary. We have partnered with the BBC Archives and Greater Manchester’s ten archives services to select interesting local items from our radio and TV archives.

On 18 October a digital exhibition will open on the Greater Manchester Place screen at Archives+ showing content for each of the ten local authorities. This is supported by local and online content around Greater Manchester:

BBC Radio Manchester Newsroom, 1970 (m06300)

The BBC’s presence in Manchester started with the first regular transmission of 2ZY from Trafford Park on 15 November, the day after its sister local station 2LO in London. This clip is from an anonymous polio survivor who worked at Metropolitan-Vickers and was chosen to sing on 2ZY. He describes how the microphone in the studio was set up specifically for his needs after his audition.

2ZY interview – Voice in the Crowd, BBC Radio Manchester, 1972 (RMAN/1500 copyright BBC)

Unfortunately we do not hold any of this early 1920s radio output. But we do have a huge collection of reel-to-reel tapes of the output of BBC Radio Manchester from 1970 to the early 1990s. In total the tapes contain over 18,000 shows – including everything from news to sports to documentaries.

BBC Radio Manchester started broadcasting at 6am on 10 September 1970. The reason we can be so precise is that we have a tape of the first hour broadcast – starting, of course, with a news bulletin in which it boasted about even reaching across to the ‘wrong side of the Pennines’!

Clip from first seconds of BBC Radio Manchester, 1970 (RMAN/19429 copyright BBC)

The station really went to town on their jingles as you can hear on this amazing effort by the Northern Variety Orchestra.

Northern Variety Orchestra jingle, 1970 (RMAN/19429 copyright BBC)

Stay tuned for much more content and jingles through October! All material copyright BBC. Video reproduced with thanks from the BBC Archives. Radio extracts used under fair dealing. If you have any questions or would like to request material to be taken down please get in touch.

You can browse and watch much more Greater Manchester TV content online at BBC Rewind. You can browse the catalogue for the BBC Radio Manchester archives at GMLives and listen to digitised shows at the Archives+ search room at Manchester Central Library.

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