News of the day you were born

Radio Times cover from 1976A new digital archive of Radio Times listings has opened up a treasure chest of TV nostalgia. So what BBC shows are people celebrating from the day they were born, asks Tom de Castella.

It is a gold mine for nostalgia buffs. The BBC's new digital archive, called Genome, lets users look at the Radio Times TV listings from any given day between 1923 and 2009. It covers just BBC output until 1991 when TV listings were deregulated and Radio Times could include ITV and Channel Four.

Many Twitter users seized on television or radio that went out on the day they were born.

Two Radio Times coversRadio Times writer Andrew Collins calls the Genome project "a brilliant time capsule". Most of the period covered is pre-video, iPlayer or Catch Up. You get a snapshot of what Britain was sitting down to watch at any given time, he says.

Collins, who was born in 1965, recalls how for long swaths of the day there were no children's programmes - no bad thing, he says, with a faint echo of Why Don't You.

The 1970s, he believes, was a "Golden Age" for television, especially sit-coms. "Man About the House looks a bit shaky, the sexual politics are dated but it's still funny, " he says. There would be two good sit-coms a night - Dad's Army and On The Buses are other favourites that still work, he says. It was part of the national conversation. "There was nothing else to watch and everyone was watching the same thing. Look at the Radio Times now and there's so many channels and so much choice."

Today the communal experience - barring exceptions like Bake-Off - is nostalgia. Share your birthday TV and radio highlights by tweeting @BBCNewsMagazine and include #genome - we'll update the story throughout the day.


You might also like

TommeeTippee The Day you were born.
TommeeTippee The Day you were born.
"On the Day You were Born" an adaptation of Debora Fraiser
"On the Day You were Born" an adaptation of Debora Fraiser
The 1935 U.S. Yearbook: Interesting facts from 1935 including News, Sport, Music, Films, Famous Births, Cost Of Living - Excellent birthday gift / present!
Book (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)