Radio Times
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Radio Times

Radio Times
Christmas 2005 double issue
EditorTom Loxley
Shem Law
CategoriesTV and radio listings magazine
Circulation577,087 (January - June 2018)[1]
First issue28 September 1923; 96 years ago (1923-09-28)
CompanyBBC Magazines (1937-2011)
Immediate Media Company (since 2011)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon, England
Language Edit this at Wikidata

Radio Times is a British weekly magazine which provides radio and television listings, and other features such as film reviews. It was the world's first broadcast listings magazine[2] when it was founded in 1923 by John Reith, then general manager of the British Broadcasting Company (from 1 January 1927 the British Broadcasting Corporation).

It was published entirely in-house by BBC Magazines from 8 January 1937[3] until 2011 when the division was merged into Immediate Media Company.[4][5][6] On 12 January 2017, Immediate Media was bought by the German media group Hubert Burda.[7]

The magazine is published on Tuesdays, the day having gradually moved forward from Fridays over many years, and carries listings for the following Saturday through to Friday. Originally, listings ran from Sunday to Saturday - the changeover meant that 8 October 1960 was listed twice in successive issues.

History and publication

Cover of the first issue (28 September 1923)

The Radio Times was first issued on 28 September 1923[8] for the price of 2d, carrying details of programmes for six BBC wireless stations (2LO, 5IT, 2ZY, 5NO, 5WA and 5SC), newspapers at the time boycotted radio listings fearing that increased listenership might decrease their sales.[9] It included a 'Message to "listeners"' by the BBC's chairman, Lord Pease.[10]

Initially, The Radio Times was a combined enterprise between the British Broadcasting Company and publishers George Newnes Ltd.. The latter typeset, printed and distributed the magazine. In 1925 the BBC assumed full editorial control, but printing and distribution could not begin in-house until 1937.[11] The Radio Times established a reputation for using leading writers and illustrators, and the covers from the special editions are now collectable design classics. On 1 May 1927, The Radio Times received an experimental Braille edition was produced under the auspices of the National Institute for the Blind, its success led to a regular weekly Braille version starting publication costing one penny each.

Masthead from the 25 December 1931 edition, including the BBC's coat of arms with the motto "Nation shall speak peace unto nation"
Masthead from the 8 January 1937 edition, the first using the title 'Radio Times'

In 1928, The Radio Times announced a regular series of 'experimental television transmissions by the Baird process' for half an hour every morning. The launch of the first regular 405-line television service by the BBC was reflected with television listings in the Radio Times London edition of 23 October 1936.[11][12] Thus Radio Times became the first ever television listings magazine in the world, Initially only two pages in each edition were devoted to television, which ran from Monday to Saturday and remained off-air on Sundays.

After 14 years, from issue 693 (cover date 8 January 1937), the definitive article "The" was no longer used on the masthead, and the magazine became simply called Radio Times. On the same date, the magazine published a lavish photogravure supplement[13]. By September 1939, Radio Times included three pages of television listings.

Prior to the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, the BBC radio listings provided a National Programme for the whole in the United Kingdom, and the Regional Programme appeared in seven different versions (London, Midlands, North, West, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland), plus the Aberdeen and Stagshaw programmes each with a combination of national and regional were transmitted to the north east of Scotland and England respectively, before the two stations merged into an single service.

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 and television broadcasting ceased, radio listings continued throughout the war with a reduced service. As from 23 June 1944, just 18 days after D-Day, the Allied Expeditionary Forces edition carried details of all the programmes for the Home Service and General Forces Programme, but by the same year that paper rationing meant editions were only 20 pages of tiny print on thin paper, when the Radio Times expanded with regional editions were introduced from 29 July 1945 and television resumed once again on 7 June 1946.

From 18 January 1953, television listings, which had been in the back of the magazine, were placed alongside the daily radio schedules. From 17 February 1957, television listings were moved to a separate section at the front, with radio listings relegated to the back. A day's listings was sometimes spread over up to three double-page spreads, mixed with advertisements, but this format was phased out when independent publishers were allowed to publish television programme schedules:

Category Channels and stations
Television BBC Television Service[1](with the regional areas of London, Midlands, North, Scotland, West/Wales and Northern Ireland)
Sound BBC Home Service (1 September 1939),[2]BBC Light Programme (29 July 1945), BBC Third Programme (29 September 1946), BBC Network Three (30 September 1957)[3]

On 4 August 1962, when Radio Times was again revamped, the Abram Games' masthead was replaced with one incorporating the words in the Clarendon typeface on the left, and the BBC / tv / Sound reversed out to the right; while the main change was the reduction of BBC radio listings for Home, Light and Third to a double-page spread brought down into size, it had been running at between 60 and 68 pages but the relaunched issue (two years earlier) contained only 52 pages.

On 6 September 1969, Radio Times is given a radical makeover as well as the front cover is surrounded by black border and italicses its masthead (in the Caslon typeface with swash capitals that remained until April 2001) was an attempt to emphasize the "R" for radio and "T" for television. In some changes for the new format saw the introduction of a weekly column previewing "this week's films", however the look of the magazine was initially at least became far more restrained less the white space between columns on headings, most significantly the "lifestyle" section (which covers motoring, gardening and cooking) and the crossword puzzle was completely dropped, while the highlights section on the right page is scrapped, but despite the new look, they switched the date format from "month-day-year" to "day-month-year" and ceases carrying cigarette advertisements after 46 years since its first published. Since Christmas 1969, a 14-day double-sized issue has been published each December containing listings for two weeks of programmes. Originally, this covered Christmas and New Year listings, but in some years these appear in separate editions, with the two-week period ending just before New Year.

The major change was on 23 November 1978 within the presentation of radio programme listings took place, this was in response to wavelength changes that enabled Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to receive their own separate domestic services in addition to BBC Radio 4 (also known as 'Radio 4 UK' remained until September 1984), with the arrival of these services on the pages were forced into a six-column grid.

Between March and December 1983, Radio Times had severe industrial disputes with the support of joining forces by the British Printing & Communications Corporation and the union SOGAT 82 about the dispute was affected due to printing problems:

On 23 June 1984, the radio listings have been redesigned for these pages that improve their legibility to paving the way for a new printing technology, but some copies are already printed by this process will be other changes that enhance our service to our readers, and from 1 September of that year, web-offset printing was used for the first time when the magazine became brighter and more colourful, with newsprint and sheets of gravure is replaced by black ink and white paper, also installing a new typeface called Neue Helvetica that replaces Franklin Gothic which has a larger character style, and the television listings has also been redesigned including the new film icon[4] and "today at a glance" is occupied on the right page. Starting from 1986, Radio Times introduces the new family viewing policy warns BBC Television does not broadcast programmes before 9:00pm which it believes to be unsuitable for children after that time parents can be expected to share responsibility but some programmes may be appropriate for adult audiences.

On 17 December 1988, its popularity climaxed when the Christmas edition sold an astounding 11,220,666 copies, and the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest-selling edition of any British magazine in history.

From 2 June 1990, the entire magazine was published in colour for the first time which ended monochrome for over 67 years, the day's listings beginning with a single page of highlights that includes "at a glance", followed by the double-page spreads of BBC television channels and radio stations. On 16 February 1991 as the same date for the new BBC One and BBC Two idents, the introduction of television logos started to cover all channels and also include the programme pages for ITV and Channel 4 illustrations where the billings of white space until the next 13 days, when the full complete listings on the four main channels and satellite television from 1 March.

Before the deregulation of television listings in 1991, the four weekly listings magazines were as follows:

Today both publications carry listings for all major terrestrial, cable and satellite television channels in the United Kingdom and following deregulation, new listings magazines such as Mirror Group's TV Plus, IPC Media's What's on TV and Bauer Media Group's TV Quick (up until 2010) began to be published.

While the major refresh on 31 August 1991, the four extra pages of satellite television listings and one page of highlights section were replaced by the number of satellite channels on the left in the daytime television listings with "at a glance" on the right to complete the set, then followed by evening's television listings. On 5 September 1992, Radio Times devoted two pages of satellite and cable channels to making up the six pages of television listings for a day:

During 1993, Radio Times had several programme listing pages have been recently altered:

  • 1 and 2 January - The VideoPlus+ number codes to cover all the terrestrial and satellite television channels for the first time, and in the following day saw the new icon "film premiere" appears used for the terrestrial television listings, replacing the phrase: 'first showing on network television'.
  • 5 June - The radio listings is given a radical makeover with highlights on the right, including Virgin 1215, Classic FM and BBC World Service were added on each pages having previously used for the local radio section, and the television listing pages saw the introduction of the year of production detail for films added as well.
  • 19 June - The categories for satellite television listings were completely rearranged, whether the news section (includes Sky One) moves to the left and the sport section moves to the right, also adding BSkyB's film classifications at the bottom side on the left page.
  • 24 July - The two former cable-only channels (Bravo and Discovery) are now appear in the unused entertainment section and the cable television listings were relegated at the bottom, which means the sport section is no longer used.
  • 25 September - The daytime listings with "at a glance" is now on the right page, but however the advertisements were occupied on the left page, and also the channel logos reduced into horizontal bars in smaller size on adjacent columns used for terrestrial television listings.

Radio Times design was refreshed on 3 September 1994 as the television listings had the day's name written vertically with "today's choices" replacing "at a glance" on the left of a page, while the major revamp on 25 September 1999 as well as the programme page headings were returned which also changed the 'letters' section beginning on the front pages and primetime television listings from two narrow columns to one wide column, and lasted until 13 April 2001 (shortly before Easter), which saw the new masthead title with the BBC's corporated typeface Gill Sans (until the end of 2004) and the programme pages with eight pages of television listings reverted to having the day running across the top of the page horizontally.

On 26 November 2002, NTL and BBC Worldwide announced a major new agreement that will offer an exclusive and tailored edition of Radio Times to every customer across the United Kingdom for every week it will be delivered directly to subscribers' homes. The special NTL edition of Radio Times replaces the monthly Cable Guide, which ran from September 1986 to December 2002, will contain programme information for NTL channels (including all terrestrial channels) with Front Row's pay-per-view movies and events will also be included. Subscribers will be offered the first four weekly issues of the new title for the same price as the existing monthly magazine, will be delivered free to homes in time for the first programme week of 4 January 2003, both companies will actively and jointly market the new edition.

From 30 October 2004, the programme listings pages have been revamped with the regional variations is now at the bottom of daytime section as well as the same spread on the five main channels include BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2 and ITV3 (launches on 1 November) now appear on digital/cable section on the right page and a "Kids' TV" section (that includes Nick Jr., CBeebies, CBBC and Disney Channel) in a single page on the left. On 22 May 2007, two extra pages of television listings per day were added as part of a slight tweak in the publication's format, bringing it up to ten pages of listings per day in total, or five double-page spreads: one page of highlights with daytime listings and regional variations, followed by two pages of evening's terrestrial television listings (with "at a glance" for nine digital channels until 2010), then six pages of listings for digital, satellite and cable channels, within the digital radio listings were integrated into the main radio pages, and also the three new pages of sport, lifestyle and music.

Until 2009, the listings issued a warning phrase 'contains strong language' used for BBC television programmes from 9:00pm during the hours of watershed restrictions.

The most sweeping change came into effect on 10 April 2010 as Radio Times went through a major overhaul with the two pages for latest reviews of highlights ('choices') that similar to TVTimes, while the daytime listings moved onto the evening section having the full day's output for the five main channels on one double-page spread to complete the set:

Other changes saw the evening listings start at 5.00pm rather than 6.30pm (sometimes earlier than 5.00pm for weekends, bank holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year), the addition of electronic program guide numbers into the channel headers, and the inclusion of director and year of production details on all Film4 movies throughout the day.

For that time during the London 2012 Olympics (also in Rio 2016) and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, whether the listings for three terrestrial channels (BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4) are now occupied on the right page and Channel 5 was moved to the next page on the left, which means BBC One and BBC Three/Four as the Olympic broadcasters that also remind viewers in the possibility of both using the red button and online for BBC channels with additional broadcasts. Following the closure of the BBC Three channel on 20 February 2016, Radio Times stated to include BBC Four in the main channels section with Channel 5 being relegated to the Freeview section pages, reverting back to its original four-channel format which had been used for that page between 1 March 1991 and 29 March 1997.

From 25 March 2020, Radio Times introduces the two new sections of podcasts and the six pages of streaming and various catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer, Now TV, Disney+, BritBox, Netflix, Amazon Prime and UKTV Play.


By the 1950s Radio Times had grown to be the magazine with the largest circulation in Europe, with an average sale of 8.8 million in 1955.[15]

Following the 1969 relaunch, circulation indeed dropped by about a quarter of a million. It would take several years to recover, but the magazine remained ahead of glossier, lifestyle-led competitor, TVTimes. In the mid-1970s, it was just over four million; in 2013 it was just over one million.

During a major revamp in April 2010, Radio Times was the third-biggest-selling magazine in the UK. However, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the magazine experienced about 2.2% year-on-year decrease to an average weekly sale of 1,648,000 in the second half of 2009.

The January 2018-January 2019 circulation figure for Radio Times is 622,000 (Decrease 11.3%), making it third in the TV listings magazine market, behind TV Choice (998,561) Increase 2.1%) and What's on TV (887,049) Decrease 11.7%).[15]


Between April and November 1990, Radio Times launches the four-page preview of British Satellite Broadcasting programmes for five channels (that includes The Sports Channel, The Movie Channel, Now, Galaxy and The Power Station) as seen used for advertisement feature.

After the deregulation of television listings, there was strong criticism from other listings magazines that Radio Times was advertised on the BBC (as well as on commercial channels), saying that it gave unfair advantage to a publication and includes the tagline: 'If it's on... it's in'.

The case went to court, but the outcome was that as the Radio Times had close connections with the BBC it would be allowed to be advertised by the BBC; however from 1992 until 2004, it must be a static picture of the cover and show clear disclaimer 'Other television listings magazines are available' leading to the phrase entering common public usage for a time.[]

On 9 September 2000, Rover Group sponsored Team GB for the Sydney Olympics, the two special edition cars (25 and 45) painted gold and silver were produced, in order to promote Rover's association with the team and we brokered one of the first cross-platform deals and used the Radio Times portfolio for six weeks between 15 September and 1 October, with the package of activity included a 'win a car' competition on a detachable front cover flap, a marketing double-page spread to promote advertorial strips on television listing pages and a web reprise that included competition fulfilment.

By the early 2000s, advertisements for the publication had become sparse on the BBC.[] The Radio Times has not been promoted on BBC television and radio channels since 2005, following complaints by rival publications that the promotions were unfair competition.[16]

Industrial disputes

Missing issues

For various reasons, some issues were not printed. These include:[17]

Issue No. Issue date Reason
138 14 May 1926 General strike
1221 21 February 1947 Fuel crisis
28 February 1947
1404 8 September 1950 Printing dispute
1408 13 October 1950
20 October 1950
27 October 1950
3012 1 August 1981
3099 2 April 1983
3100 9 April 1983
3134 3 December 1983

Diminished form

Printing disputes and other operational difficulties have also led to the magazine appearing in a different formats to the standard:

Issue No. Issue date Reason
1342 1 July 1949 London edition printed by The Daily Graphic
1404 15 September 1950 Nine-day issue, northern edition printed as a tabloid
1408 3 November 1950
1685 24 February 1956 Printed as a broadsheet in Paris, France
1686 2 March 1956
1687 9 March 1956
1688 16 March 1956
1689 23 March 1956
1690 30 March 1956
2870 11 November 1978 Cover printed in monochrome
2871 18 November 1978
2872 25 November 1978
2951 31 May 1980


There have been 20 editors of Radio Times to date (including one uncredited and one returning) since the magazine began publication:[18][19][20]

Regional editions

There are several regional editions that which contain different listings for regional programming, all editions of Radio Times carry variations of adjoining regions for television and various local radio listings.


When it began on 28 September 1923 during the interwar period, there was just a single national edition, but from 10 October 1926 there were three separate editions - Southern, Northern and Scottish/Ulster. They were published until 7 January 1934 when Radio Times reverted back to one edition:

Edition BBC wireless stations
Southern 2LO (London), 5IT (Birmingham), 5WA (Cardiff), 6BM (Bournemouth), 5PY (Plymouth), 5NG (Nottingham), 6ST (Stoke), 5SX (Swansea)
Northern 2ZY (Manchester), 5NO (Newcastle), 2FL (Sheffield), 6LV (Liverpool), 2LS (Leeds/Bradford), 6KH (Hull)
Scottish/Ulster 5SC (Glasgow), 2BD (Aberdeen), 2DE (Dundee), 2BE (Belfast)

After the war, regional editions were introduced on 29 July 1945 and the television service is finally resumed on 7 June 1946 (after closed down on 1 September 1939 in the duration of war for over six years). The spread of television editions for Radio Times when the full listings (with six pages) were not included in all issues until August 1952:

BBC TV (later BBC One) regions Service date
London 2 November 1936
Midlands 17 December 1949
North of England 12 October 1951
Scotland 14 March 1952
West of England (including Wales until 1964)[16] 15 August 1952
Northern Ireland 21 July 1955[17]
Wales 9 February 1964

When BBC Two began on 20 April 1964, there were a number of "BBC-2 edition" for areas where only certain parts of a region could get BBC Two until July 1966:

BBC Two regions Service date
London & South East 20 April 1964
Midlands & East Anglia 6 December 1964
Wales 12 September 1965
North of England 31 October 1965
South & West 16 January 1966
Northern Ireland 11 June 1966
Scotland 9 July 1966

On 31 August 1970, the four English regional editions (along the constituent nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) were separated into ten areas:

From 1 March 1991, Radio Times started carrying ITV and Channel 4 listings to begin with they mirrored the ITV regions:


The number of regional editions has been altered over the years with the number of regional editions gradually being reduced over time due to there being fewer variations in the schedules:

  • The North of England region was separated from Northern Ireland in 1949 who had their own edition.
  • On 8 October 1960, the Midlands region was renamed Midlands & East Anglia, and the West of England region was also renamed South & West.
  • As from 21 March 1964, the previously unmarked London region was successfully renamed London & South East. It was later dropped on 25 March 1989 when the "London" name is no longer used, became known as South East, and later reverted back to its original "London" name on 23 February 1991.
  • These regions were further subdivided with individual editions for each BBC Local Radio station. This continued until February 1981 when each regional edition began to cover three local stations.
  • From 1 November 1982 until 22 February 1991, S4C listings were included in the Wales edition known as "Rhaglenni Cymraeg", but only the Welsh language programmes were listed as when English language programmes were being broadcast. Radio Times merely said "Rhaglenni Saesneg", as opposed to the TVTimes' pull-out supplement Sbec which did carry details on English language programming.
  • After the deregulation of television listings on 1 March 1991, they rebranded the Northern Ireland edition as "Ulster" (named after the historic Irish province), and started including RTÉ Television listings for RTÉ1 and Network 2 as well.
  • Radio Times used to have three separate editions for Grampian, Scottish and Border, just then after a while they merged back into one Scotland edition from July 1991.
  • From 1 January 1993, Radio Times started television listings for Carlton, Meridian, Westcountry and GMTV as part of the four new ITV regional companies, replacing Thames, TVS, TSW and TV-am having lose their franchises on 16 October 1991.
  • The Yorkshire region was absorbed by the North East region on 25 September 1993 became known as "Yorkshire/Tyne Tees", and also later added the North West region on 7 April 2007 to resembles the old North of England area from 1945 to 1970.
  • The exception to this process of merging is Wales, which used to be part of a larger "Wales/West" (of England), mirroring the HTV area. The region was separated on 16 April 2005 leaving the West of England to join South and South West edition.
  • On 5 November 2001, BBC 2W launches as the digital-only service in Wales used for weekday evenings from 8.30pm to 10.00pm, within BBC Two's listings in the normal column is mainly split vertically in two to covering the both analogue and digital services. The digital-only service was ceased on 2 January 2009 as part of the digital switchover, and reverts to the normal service with less frequent regional programmes as the arrangement on analogue broadcasts.
  • On 25 August 2007, the Midlands and London/Anglia regions were merged.
  • On 24 February 2019, Radio Times introduces the BBC Scotland channel, a new autonomous service that broadcasts an nightly lineup of entirely Scottish-related programming from 7.00pm to midnight, replacing the Scotland's version of BBC Two after 53 years, and the listings were occupied by BBC Four at the bottom on the right page.


As of 2019, Radio Times used to have six regional editions for television channels and radio stations throughout the country had been since 25 August 2007.




When the magazine was a BBC publication, the covers had a BBC bias (in 2005, 31 of the 51 issues had BBC-related covers) and consisting of a single side of glossy paper, however the magazine often uses double or triple-width covers that open out for several large group photographs.

While the major events (such as Crufts, Glastonbury Festival and the Proms) or new series of popular programmes are marked by producing different covers were actually used for other collectors:

  • On 10 May 1945, two days after VE Day, the Radio Times declared "Victory Number" containing 24 pages of BBC radio programmes for the next eight days, with a special illustrated cover designed by Terry Freeman, incorporating the V sign as twin bursts of spotlights above the London skyline.
  • On 10 July 1969, Radio Times celebrated the Apollo 11 moon landing with this cover bearing the 'TARGET MOON' caption at the top of the Saturn V rocket lifts off from Kennedy Space Center on 16 July as part of the NASA's Apollo mission before landed on the moon on 20 July. In 2019, a special eight-page, pull-out colour supplement marking for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
  • On 10 December 1988, Alice Roberts won the Blue Peter Young Artists competition at the age of 15, with her picture and the presenters appeared on the front cover, now a familiar face as a television presenter on various science and history documentary programmes, is one of the regular co-presenters of BBC Two's geographical and environmental series Coast from 2005 to 2015.
  • From 23 February 1991, Radio Times launches a new-improved format with the full details of ITV, Channel 4 and satellite television listings starting on 1 March (which falls on a Friday), bearing the 'If it's on... it's in' tagline, and also featured Arnold Schwarzenegger appears on the front cover, focusing about the former Mr. Universe has successfully become the biggest film career in Hollywood.
  • A special issue for the 50th anniversary of BBC television news on 3 July 2004, as well as a fold-out front cover with BBC news teams (from left to right: Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Anna Ford, George Alagiah, Sophie Raworth, Dermot Murnaghan, Natasha Kaplinsky, Sian Williams, Darren Jordon and Moira Stuart) was photographed by Andy Earl, and also an accompanying special pull-out supplement within the centre pages.
  • On 10 February 2007, the second series of Life on Mars, was marked by the Radio Times producing a mock-up of a 1973-style cover promoting the series, placed on page three of the magazine.
  • On 5 May 2020, as Radio Times reaches its 5,000th edition with excellent lead articles from the support staff and workers of the National Health Service front line protecting the COVID-19 pandemic (also known as the coronavirus disease) to saving millions of lives, and also granted this special cover showing the colours of the rainbow which uses acrylic paint in a plain white background.

Each year, the Radio Times celebrates those individuals and programmes that are featured on the cover at the Radio Times Covers Party, where framed oversized versions of the covers are presented.[21]

Radio Times had several sporting events with more than one of the Home Nations (such as the Five/Six Nations, UEFA European Championship, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup) taking part are often marked with different covers for each nation, showing their own team.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is the most represented programme on the cover, appearing on 29 issues (with 35 separate covers due to multiples) in the 49 years since the programme began on 23 November 1963.[22]

The Radio Times for 30 April - 6 May 2005 covered both the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who and the forthcoming general election.

On 30 April 2005, a double-width cover was used to commemorate the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who and the forthcoming general election.[23] This cover recreated a scene from the 1964 Doctor Who serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth in which the Daleks were seen crossing Westminster Bridge, with the Houses of Parliament in the background. The cover text read 'VOTE DALEK!' In a 2008 contest sponsored by the Periodical Publishers Association, this cover was voted the best British magazine cover of all time.[24]

Christmas and New Year

The cover of the 'Christmas Number' (as this issue came to be called) dating from the time when it contained just a single week's listings, usually features a generic festive artwork, atypical for the magazine, which since the 1970s has almost exclusively used as a TVTimes-style photographic covers for all other issues.

In recent years,[when?]Radio Times has published and sold packs of reproductions of some of the Christmas covers of the magazine as Christmas cards.

Other media

Annuals and guides

An annual was published three times: in 1954,[25] 1955[25] and 1956.[26]

The Radio Times Guide to Films was first published by BBC Worldwide on 26 October 2000, featuring more than 21,000 film titles in alphabetical order containing with a 1,707-page book. The 2006 edition was edited by Kilmeny Fane-Saunders and also featured an introduction by Barry Norman, former presenter of the BBC's Film programme (until his death on 30 June 2017 at the age of 83), and the 2007 edition is introduced by Andrew Collins. The final-ever edition of Radio Times Guide to Films was published on 28 September 2018 for the last time after 18 years.

There are also similar publications, the Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy by Mark Lewisohn and the Radio Times Guide to Science-Fiction.


The Radio Times website was launched in 1997 primarily as a listings service. In 2011, it relaunched offering a diverse editorial product to accompany its listings and television, radio and film recommendations.


In December 2012, the BBC completed a digitisation exercise, scanning the listings of all BBC programmes from an entire run of about 4,500 copies of the magazine from 1923 (the first issue) to 2009, the BBC Genome Project, with a view to creating an online database of its programme output.[27] They identified around five million programmes, involving 8.5 million actors, presenters, writers and technical staff.[27] BBC Genome was released for public use on 15 October 2014.[28][29] Corrections to OCR errors and changes to advertised schedules are being crowdsourced.[28]

See also


  • Tony Currie, The 'Radio Times' Story (2001. Kelly Publications) ISBN 1-903053-09-9
  • David Driver, The Art of 'Radio Times': The First Sixty Years (1981)
  • Martin Baker, Art of Radio Times: A Golden Age of British Illustration ISBN 978-1854441713


  1. ^ It replaces the national and regional programmes on 1 September 1939 during the outbreak of the Second World War, and remained on air until 30 September 1967 as the station became BBC Radio 4.
  2. ^ Television becomes available in Wales following the switching on from the Wenvoe transmitting station.
  3. ^ Television becomes available in Northern Ireland on 1 May 1953 although initially from a temporary transmitter at Glencairn, brought into service in time for the Coronation of Elizabeth II.
  4. ^ Renamed BBC TV on 8 October 1960 and later became BBC One on 20 April 1964.
  5. ^ All these strands including the Third Programme, kept their separate identities (such as music, sports coverage and education) within BBC Radio 3 until 4 April 1970, when there was a further reorganisation following the introduction of the structural changes which had been outlined in the BBC document Broadcasting in the Seventies on 10 July 1969.
  6. ^ From 1956 to 1964, the Midlands originally had their own edition of TVTimes carrying ATV and ABC programme listings, but in a separate weekly magazine called TV World on 27 September 1964, for the innovative idea of splitting the magazine itself 50:50, with a second cover in the middle allowing for the magazine to be folded over to creating both weekend and weekday from one publication, before TVTimes went national on 21 September 1968.
  7. ^ The English administrative counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, the three ridings of Yorkshire and the three parts of Lincolnshire were abolished and replaced by the new counties of Cumbria, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Humberside and a single Lincolnshire during the actual 1974 re-organisation.
  8. ^ Also known as TVTimes Magazine from 3 October 1981; rebranded back to its original TVTimes name on 6 October 1984.
  9. ^ In earlier years, the BBC television listings were given phrases such as 'a film series' used for imported programmes and 'the feature film' was completely dropped from 1 September 1984.
  10. ^ Named after the American magazine of the same name, which devoted to celebrities, television reviews and video releases. It became a monthly magazine from 1991, and it was later absorbed by Satellite TV Europe magazine in 1992.
  11. ^ During the early 1990s, Radio Times had several satellite and cable television channels have ceased broadcasting that includes The Power Station on 8 April 1991, The Comedy Channel on 30 September 1992, and Lifestyle on 24 January 1993.
  12. ^ Replaced by Sky Sports on 20 April 1991.
  13. ^ There is no edition of Radio Times in the Channel Islands as their listings were contained within the South West region, but Channel Television published its own listings magazine, the CTV Times (formerly Channel Viewer) until 25 October 1991.
  14. ^ On 19 December 1992, the two adults-only services (Home Video Channel and The Adult Channel) as unsuitabled.
  15. ^ Absorbed by Eurosport from 1 March 1993.


  1. ^ "ABC Certificates and Reports: Radio Times". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ Currie, Tony (2001). The Radio Times Story. Kelly Publishing. ISBN 978-1903053096.
  3. ^ "The history of Radio Times". Radio Times.
  4. ^ Sweney, Mark (16 August 2011). "BBC Worldwide agrees £121m magazine sell-off". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Preston, Peter (11 March 2012). "What price the Radio Times? Only private equity can tell us". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Chapman, Matthew (11 April 2012). "Radio Times hires Hello! ad director". Media Week.
  7. ^ "German media group buys Radio Times". 12 January 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "Issue 1 - 28 September 1923 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ The BBC Story, 1920s
  10. ^ Lord Pease (28 September 1923). "My message to "Listeners"". Radio Times. No. 1. p. 18.
  11. ^ a b "The history of Radio Times". Radio Times. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "Issue 682". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "Issue 693". Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Carmody, Robin (July 2000). "THE GOOD NEW TIMES ... THE BRADSHAW OF BROADCASTING: 1980s - 2000". Off the Telly. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008.
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External links

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