The British Broadcasting Century with Paul Kerensa

The First BBC Christmas: From Carols to Kings

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Episode notes

Merry listening! Now, do you hear what I hear?

Join our sleigh ride back to Christmas 1922, and delve deep into our pod-sack to discover what the BBC was broadcasting in its first Christmas.

Includes: the first religious broadcast from Rev John Mayo, the first play written for radio in The Truth About Father Christmas, the BBC's first celebrity guest, the first radio talk ('Christmas among the Blind'), carols, Peter Pan, comedy from Fred Gibson and Helena Millais... and that's just from the London 2LO station.

Birmingham 5IT gives us Dickens, the Birmingham City Police Band and no-shows, so listeners rush to the studio to help out.

Manchester 2ZY brings ghost stories and Handel's Messiah.

And Newcastle 5NO launches; hear the first station boss on how he funded it from his own pocket.

Plus other radio Christmases: Carols from King's, the first royal Christmas broadcast, a Cornish play called Bethlehem, a wax cylinder recording from 1898...

Our guest is Xmas Xpert James Cooper from - head there for all your online Christmas needs.

Paul reads from his festive history book Hark! The Biography of Christmas. Signed copies available from Paul; unsigned copies available from your friendly local bookshop.


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Paul's mailing list has more on his upcomings, inc. the next series of Not Going Out.

Be on the podcast next year: email us a 2min audio clip of an Airwave Memory, recorded as a Voice Memo - your earliest memories of radio or TV.

Clips are either public domain or the BBC's, to whom we doff our caps, and thank them.

We're unaffiliated with the BBC - we're just here to inform, educate, entertain and wish you a Merry Christmas.