Today the BBC has launched the Programme Explorer, which for the first time pulls together all the radio and TV programmes across the various platforms run by the organisation into one searchable database.
The Programme Explorer platform has been launched as a way of helping viewers and listeners uncover BBC content related to their interests, which has previously been a challenge to find across Weather, Sport, Sounds, iPlayer and beyond.
“Programme Explorer is a real treasure trove for anyone with a niche passion about virtually anything, and an invaluable informal learning tool,” said Peter Rippon, executive editor of the BBC Archive, of the launch.
“There are over 200,000 programmes available for people to watch or listen, and until now it’s been difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for.
“This tool also makes it easy to find things you didn’t know you were looking for – sending you down a rabbit hole, following your curiosity through a wide range of brilliant BBC programmes from across the archive.”
Verdict had an early preview of Programme Explorer ahead of its launch by the BBC, and has selected some of the best technology deep cuts from the archives. Here’s our choices.
BBC Programme Explorer: The best technology programming deep cuts
Running at 26 minutes, this episode of BBC World Service’s radio programme Future Perfect was first broadcast in 2000, and makes for joyous listening two decades later. It focuses on an interview with noted futurist Ray Kurzweil, then director of engineering at Google, who presents his at times prescient and at times comically inaccurate timeline of the future. Well worth a listen if you want to feel inspired but amused.
A 45-minute televisual gem from 1996, Panorama’s California 2000 explores the then nascent Californian tech industry, complete with outlandish predictions, fascinating explorations of the knock-on impacts of computing and some seriously cool footage of very early computers. A must-watch for lovers of technology.
Recorded at 2012’s Aspen Festival of Ideas, this episode of BBC Radio 4’s The Forum features MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, filmmaker Julie Taymor and Entertainment Software Association CEO Mike Gallagher, and tackles how digital technology is impacting the way we think, live and learn. Much of what is discussed is highly familiar, and yet – six years later – listening now brings a new perspective to this highly engaging discussion.
First broadcast in 1982 and running at 25 minutes, this TV programme is charmingly of the era, taking the British public through the emerging world of home computers, and how they can use them. Highlights include the befuddled presenter being taken through the basics of loading a game off a cassette tape, an explanation of the impact on the travel industry and some brilliant yet questionable fashion choices.
First broadcast in 2000, this episode of BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time features broadcaster and parliamentarian Melvyn Bragg, and focuses on the socioeconomic consequences of the “information revolution”. Set against the backdrop of Time Warner’s merger with AOL, it portrays the concepts, fears and ideas of a time on the cusp of our own.
Broadcast earlier this year on BBC News, TV programme Three Years in Wuhan is the first in a series, following startups in the city’s optics valley both before and during the coronavirus. A fascinating watch for anyone interested to see Wuhan beyond the virus, and who is interested in what it’s like to build and run a startup in China.