The Listener

Published by the BBC, the main aim of The Listener was to disseminate talks and lectures broadcast by the BBC. The title of the magazine reflects the fact that, at the time, you had to listen to the BBC because it only broadcast on the radio.


A space where the remote control should be

They go back further than you might think, television remote controls. They’ve been around almost as long as we’ve had moving pictures in our homes. After all, no-one ever really enjoyed getting up and down from the sofa to change the channel.

News flash!

The announcer would say something sober and sombre, such as, “We are sorry to interrupt this programme, but…” Then a pause, giving you enough time and enough cold, creeping dread to wonder if the nation had declared war, a tsunami was about to reach your house, or we were about to hear the four-minute warning.


Teletext was like an incredibly arthritic internet. But, when you didn’t have any internet at all, and hadn’t even imagined one, it was like lightning. Before the web, the only way to find out what was happening right now was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to air. But Ceefax could get there first.

The little white dot

The little white dot is something that used to happen on your television screen. Every night. The pictures would end and a little white dot would appear in the middle of a black screen. The dot spelled out one message: Time to go to bed.

Black and white television

There’s a financial incentive to limit yourself to 50 shades of grey when it comes to television viewing in the UK.

Even though the last black-and-white TV sets were made over 40 years ago.