|Categories||TV and radio listings magazine|
|Circulation||497,852 (July – December 2020)|
|First issue||28 September 1923|
|Company||George Newnes Ltd (1923–1937)|
BBC Magazines (1937–2011)
Immediate Media Company (since 2011)
|Based in||London, England|
Radio Times is a British weekly listings magazine devoted to television and radio programme schedules, with other features such as interviews, film reviews and lifestyle items. Founded in May 1923 by John Reith, then general manager of the British Broadcasting Company (from 1 January 1927, the British Broadcasting Corporation), it was the world's first broadcast listings magazine.
It was published entirely in-house by BBC Magazines from 8 January 1937 until 16 August 2011, when the division was merged into Immediate Media Company. On 12 January 2017, Immediate Media was bought by the German media group Hubert Burda.
The magazine is published on Tuesdays and carries listings for the week from Saturday to Friday. Originally, listings ran from Sunday to Saturday: the changeover meant 8 October 1960 was listed twice, in successive issues. Since Christmas 1969, a 14-day double-sized issue has been published each December containing schedules for two weeks of programmes. Originally this covered Christmas and New Year (also included bank holidays) on some occasions those each appeared in separate editions, with the two-week period ending just before the New Year.
The Radio Times was first issued on 28 September 1923 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. It included a message to "listeners" by the BBC's chairman, Lord Pease. Initially, The Radio Times was a combined enterprise between the British Broadcasting Company and publishers George Newnes Ltd within 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. The Radio Times established a reputation for using leading writers and illustrators, and the covers from the special editions are now collectable design classics. By 26 September 1926, the narrow columns of BBC's wireless programme schedules were broken up by the insertion of a photograph or two – relevant to or depicting subjects of the broadcasts. On 1 May 1927, The Radio Times produced an experimental Braille edition under the auspices of the National Institute for the Blind with its success led to a regular weekly Braille version publication costing one penny.
From 5 January 1934, the three-column programme pages were expanded to include a fourth column with the BBC's television programmes given a new section layout (on 8 January), and The Radio Times announced a regular series of "experimental television transmissions by the Baird process" for half an hour every night at 11.00pm. 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. 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), that definitive article word "The" was no longer used on the masthead within the magazine, and the publication became simply known as Radio Times; they also published a lavish photogravure supplement in the same issue. Prior to the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, the BBC radio listings provided a National Programme for the whole of the United Kingdom, and the Regional Programme appeared in seven different versions (London, Midlands, North, West, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) each with a combination of various transmitters respectively before the two stations merged into a single service, and included three pages of television listings.
When Britain declared war with Germany on 3 September 1939 and the television broadcasting ceased, radio listings continued throughout the war with a reduced service. From 23 June 1944, the Allied Expeditionary Forces edition carried details of all the programmes for the Home Service and General Forces Programme. The same year, paper rationing meant editions were only 20 pages of tiny print on thin paper. Radio Times expanded with regional editions introduced from 29 July 1945, and television resumed once again on 7 June 1946. On 4 March 1948, the weekend listing schedules for three BBC radio networks were doubled together with daytime and evening sections in additional four pages a week, as well as weekday billings also used by the same layout which adds 12 extra pages of more articles and detailed programmes bringing up to 40 (or 44 for the television edition) on 1 July 1949.
From 18 January 1953, the television listing schedules, which had been in the back of the magazine, were placed alongside daily radio schedules. On 17 February 1957 (shortly after the abolition of "Toddlers' Truce", in which transmissions terminated between 6.00 and 7.00pm), television listings were moved to a separate section at the front with radio listings relegated to the back; a day's listings were 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 schedules. The new layout was structured thusly:
|BBC Television Service[a] (VHF 405-lines)||BBC Home Service (1 September 1939)|
BBC Light Programme (29 July 1945)
BBC Third Programme (29 September 1946)
BBC Network Three (30 September 1957)[b]
From 8 October 1960, BBC television and radio schedules were re-integrated; the programmes included a new 'pick of the week' with a single third page for previews, before each day's listings; these came before the two pages of television and the four pages of radio. A new bolder masthead was designed by Abram Games (who created graphical designs such as the 'Festival Star' on the cover of the 1951 Festival of Britain and the 1953 'Bat's Wings' ident) and containing the words "BBC TV and Sound" on the left side, was introduced with this revamp; it became one of the shortest-used designs in the magazine's history. On 4 August 1962, when Radio Times was again revamped, the masthead was replaced with one incorporating the words in the Clarendon typeface; while the main change was the reduction of BBC radio schedules for three stations to a double-page spread brought down into size, the magazine now generally had between 60 and 68 pages, as compared to the relaunched format from two years earlier, which contained only 52 pages.
From 30 September 1967, Radio Times introduced the all-new colour pages of the magazine's feature sections, including "star stories", Percy Thrower's gardening, Zena Skinner's cookery, Bill Hartley's motoring and Jeffery Boswall's birdwatching, as well as 'Round and About' with up-to-the-minute stories in both television and radio from around the world. At the same time, the four new BBC radio stations (replacing the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme) were launched within the schedule listing pages:
|BBC1 (VHF 405-lines)
BBC2 (UHF 625-lines)
|BBC Radio 1|
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 3 (with music, sports coverage and educational programmes)[b]
BBC Radio 4 (includes regional news and opt-out programming)
The layouts of programme page headings have now restyled as well as the three radio pages had been rearranged with schedule billings for Radio 1 and Radio 2 on the first, Radio 3 on the second and Radio 4 on the third. In future weeks, it would boast another revised masthead although the same typeface simply a bold symbol "BBC TV" to the right of the title – within the price, date and regional edition being overprinted in letterpress at the top of the front page, but the letters section and the crossword were placed inside the back page.
On 6 September 1969, Radio Times was given another radical makeover, as they switched the date format from 'month-day-year' to 'day-month-year' and ceased carrying cigarette advertisements after 46 years. The new format inside with the first three pages were devoted to an abbreviated listing of all the week's BBC television and radio programmes in a simple condensed form, within major changes were noticeable on the feature pages as well as the colour ones were spread out to accompany rather than the centre page. The look of the magazine initially became far more restrained, with less white space between columns and headings. More significantly, the lifestyle section (which covered motoring, gardening and cookery) and the crossword were completely dropped, and the highlights section was scrapped. The front cover was surrounded by a black border and italicised its masthead (now in the Caslon typeface with swash capitals; this logo remained until April 2001), in an attempt to emphasize the "R" for radio and "T" for television. From 5 July 1975, the magazine was given a refreshed layout which consisted of horizontal black bars from top to bottom with the familiar darker-shaded look; by this time, the BBC's television schedules included a 'colour' annotation which was dropped eight years later, as well as programmes in black and white were never indicated with the exception of feature films originally made for the cinema.
Another major change occurred on 18 November 1978, in response to wavelength changes (took place on 23 November) that enabled Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to receive their own separate domestic services in addition to Radio 4 (also known as the national 'Radio 4 UK' service remained until 29 September 1984), the arrival of these services on the pages forced all BBC radio stations into a six-column grid. On 30 August 1980, Radio Times developed a new double-page spread of Robert Ottaway's highlights from the week ahead, often used for both BBC radio and television programmes. The regular inside back page section for younger listeners and viewers featured content from Newsround presenter John Craven and a selection of new puzzles created by the television producer Clive Doig, such as the trackword (which consisted of nine squares in one word), as well as backstage stories and a comic strip of Peter Lord's Morph at the bottom of the page.
Between March and December 1983, Radio Times had severe industrial disputes when the British Printing & Communications Corporation and the union SOGAT 82 joined forces, and production was affected due to printing problems:
On 23 June 1984, the radio listings were redesigned again to improve their legibility and paving the way for a new printing technology. That same year (1 September), web-offset printing was used for the first time, meaning the magazine became brighter and more colourful. Newsprint and sheets of gravure gave way to black ink and white paper, Helvetica replaced Franklin Gothic for a larger character style, and the television listings were also redesigned including the new film icon[c] and the 'today at a glance' sidebar on the far right of pages were added. Starting from 11 October 1986, the new family viewing policy warned readers that BBC Television does not broadcast programmes before 9.00pm which it believed to be unsuitable for children. On 5 September 1987, Radio Times introduces an innovative title called 'Upfront This Week' devoting the first three pages of illustrated snippets to provide the latest programme highlights from all BBC television and radio networks.
On 19 November 1988, Radio Times launched a new weekly back page section called 'My Kind of Day', which was devoted to the latest star interviews with various special guests. Also on the same year (17 December), its popularity climaxed when the Christmas edition sold an astounding 11,220,666 copies, and the Guinness Book of Records certified it as the biggest-selling edition of any British magazine in history. On 25 March 1989 (during Easter), a general overhaul of page layout and design took place, with a major makeover for the programme schedules and the channel headings being visible in greater clarity; BBC1 and BBC2 were once again separated, with the return of the late 1950s/early 1960s layout – television at the front and radio at the back. The week's Radio 1 schedules occupied a single page, followed by Radio 2 (with a facing pair of pages), then several pages of Radio 3 (five pages) and Radio 4 (six pages), and finally the BBC Local Radio listings; regional features, which had absent from the English editions since the late 1960s, resumed with a localised page. Later on 25 November of that year, the radio schedules were restored to two pages for each day; some of the English editions now had daily editorial features on radio as well.
From 2 June 1990, the entire magazine was published in colour for the first time, and another layout began usage; the day's listings began with a single page of highlights that included 'at a glance', followed by the double-page spreads of BBC television channels (BBC1 always occupied the left page and BBC2 for the right page, without advertisements interrupting the listings) and BBC radio stations, now enlivened with colour logos at the top of the pages. This layout only lasted for six months, when a new refreshed format debuted in the Christmas edition (22 December); while the programme listing pages were largely the same, the colour-coded days of the week were now at the top of the page headings.[d]
On 16 February 1991 (the same date for the debut of the new BBC1 and BBC2 idents), the deregulation of television listings began, and Radio Times started to cover all services that include ITV, Channel 4 and satellite networks, an alphabetical list of the commercial radio stations available with the frequency and a two or three-word summary of that station's output which was added to the local radio page. Full complete listings of the four main channels and satellite began on Friday 1 March.
Before deregulation, the five 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 First, IPC Media's What's on TV, Bauer Media Group's TV Quick and Hamfield Publications' TV Plus[l] began to be published; several newspapers were also allowed to print television schedules for the entire forthcoming week on a Saturday (or a Sunday), where previously they had only been able to list each day's programmes in that edition.
With another major refresh on 31 August 1991, the four extra pages of satellite television listings and one page of the highlights section were scrapped and replaced by a number of ten satellite networks (with two more includes Comedy Channel and CNN International were added) from top to bottom; the daytime schedules for BBC1 and BBC2 flanked the satellite listings on the left, with ITV, Channel 4 and 'at a glance' on the right; the main evening schedules for terrestrial television channels retained the same layout. On 5 September 1992, the daytime listings were slightly tweaked, ITV's programme schedules were now sandwiched between BBC2 and Channel 4 within the centre pages, and there were now two pages of satellite and cable channels for each category making up six pages of television listings every day:
(until 24 July 1993)
(unused until 11 September 1993)
During 1993, Radio Times used several layouts were altered throughout the year:
Radio Times' design was refreshed on 3 September 1994, the television listings now had the day's name written vertically, beginning with the daytime section including 'today's choices' (which replaced 'at a glance' on the left page), followed by the main evening's schedules in an original four-column grid, as well as the highlights section (now occupying the far left page within the satellite listings), and the movie planner is now on the right page. On 29 March 1997, the programme pages in the television section were restyled often include smaller headings and more billing type with several changes in this layout between the narrower columns for regional variations on the left and Channel 5 schedules on the right page. Yet another major revamp took place on 25 September 1999, where all the pages now proceeded in a particular order, starting with the letters section, followed by film reviews, then the seven-day programme guide with six pages for television (including satellite) and two pages for radio, as well as the single-page crossword and local radio listings with frequencies, and finally the 'My Kind of Day' for the back page which was preceded by classified advertisements. The programme page headings were returned to being inside a coloured block, and the primetime television listings went from two narrow columns to one wide column. The warning phrase "contains strong language", used for BBC television programmes from 9.00pm during the hours of watershed broadcasting restrictions was also implemented at this time, lasting until 2009.
This layout lasted until shortly before Easter on 13 April 2001, which saw the new masthead title with the BBC's corporate typeface Gill Sans (used until the end of 2004, being replaced by Interstate in the start of 2005), while the programme pages with eight pages of television listings reverted to having the day running across the top of the page horizontally, and the satellite listings expanded into four pages, while the double-page movie planner section for 18 different film channels was retained. On 26 November 2002, NTL and BBC Worldwide announced a major new agreement that would offer an exclusive, tailored edition of Radio Times to every NTL customer across the United Kingdom every week, it would be delivered directly to subscribers' homes. The special NTL edition of Radio Times replaced the monthly Cable Guide magazine (which ran from September 1986 to December 2002) and contained programme information for NTL channels, including all terrestrial services; Front Row's pay-per-view movies and events were also included. Subscribers were offered the first four weekly issues of the new title for the same price as the existing monthly magazine, delivered free to homes in time for the first programme week of 4 January 2003; both companies actively and jointly marketed the new edition.
From 30 October 2004, the programme schedule pages were revamped again, with the regional variations now at the bottom of the daytime section, as well as the same spread on the five main channels; BBC3, BBC4, ITV2, ITV3 (launched on 1 November) and More4 (from 10 October 2005) now appeared in digital/cable section on the right page, with a children's section in a single page on the left. The category sections for digital, satellite and cable listings also returned after a four-year absence:
|Category section||Digital, satellite and cable channels|
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. Digital radio listings were integrated into the main radio pages, and three new pages of sport, lifestyle and music were added. By 11 April 2009, the digital, satellite and cable schedules were reshuffled (alongside entertainment, factual and children's sections) preceded by 'today's choices' on the left side, and the sport section moves to the right side as well as the films section having also started on the left within the centre pages horizontally.
10 April 2010 saw major changes as Radio Times went through a overhaul, with two pages of the latest reviews and highlights ('choices') somewhat akin to the TV Times, 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 for Film4 throughout the day. For the London 2012 Olympics, the listings for three terrestrial channels (BBC2, ITV and Channel 4) temporarily moved onto the right page and Channel 5 was moved to the next page on the left, as to provide enough space for BBC1 and BBC3/BBC4 as the Olympic broadcasters, which also reminded viewers of using both the red button and online for BBC channels with additional broadcasts.
Following the closure of the BBC3 channel on 20 February 2016, Radio Times started to include BBC4 in the main channels section, with Channel 5 being relegated to the Freeview section. As of 24 March 2020 to coincide the launch of Disney+, Radio Times introduced two new sections for podcasts and six pages devoted to streaming and various catch-up services. That same year (8 September), the rearrangement of Freeview channel listings with Sky Arts moves to the second page, also the three columns in the satellite and cable pages now have on the left side with children's television section, as well as the six film services were also included.
During the Tokyo Olympics (which was delayed due to global COVID-19 pandemic) on 20 July 2021, Radio Times declared its special bumper issue with 212 pages that include 16-day listings of the BBC's coverage and an comprehensive easy-to-use guide preceded by two pages with 'pick of the action' chosen by various pundits, although this layout becoming slightly different whether listings started on the left page with two columns for BBC1 as a dedicated Olympic broadcaster (including BBC Red Button occupies at the bottom) and BBC2 in the single column, as well as ITV, Channel 4 and BBC4 schedules placed on the right page. From 25 January 2022, the Freeview schedules have altered once again starting with the return of BBC3 (launches on 1 February after six years since the television channel has moved online), whether ITV2's listings now occupies at the bottom, as well as the seven remaining services were also placed in the second and third pages respectively.
In 1934, Radio Times achieved a circulation of two million and its net profit in that year was more than one quarter of the total BBC licence income. 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. 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, TV Times. In the mid-1970s, it was just over four million; but 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 United Kingdom. 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. It averaged a circulation per issue of 497,852 between July and December 2020, versus 1,041,826 for TV Choice[o] and 690,617 for What's on TV.
During the deregulation of television listings, there was strong criticism from other magazines that Radio Times was advertised on the BBC (as well as on commercial broadcasting 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 had to depict a static picture of the cover, and show a clear disclaimer reading "Other television listings magazines are available", leading to the phrase entering common public usage for a time.
By the early 2000s, advertisements for the publication had become sparse on the BBC. 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.
For various reasons, some issues were not printed. These include:
|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|
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|
Main article: Radio Times's Most Powerful People
The lists charted who the magazine believed were the most powerful people from three different areas of British media: comedy, drama and radio. The listing for comedy was published three times every January between 2003 and 2005; also the drama and radio lists were produced just only once each, in July 2004 and June 2005 respectively.
The first 'Most Powerful People' listing was published by Radio Times on 6 January 2003, and recognised the most influential people in television comedy in the United Kingdom. It was topped by the British comedian Ricky Gervais, as a result of the success of the award-winning second series of his television show The Office. The second poll, published a year later on 13 January 2004, was won by the Irish comedian and television presenter Graham Norton following his signing of two new contracts during 2003, each worth a reported £5 million. Six months later on 5 July of that year, Radio Times published their 'Most Powerful People in TV Drama' list. Following a series of votes from industry experts, the magazine named the actress Julie Walters as their choice for the most powerful person in drama.
On 11 January 2005, Radio Times published the third 'Most Powerful People in TV Comedy' list, which was topped by the comedy duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams for their sketch show Little Britain, which the magazine called "inspired". Finally on 6 June of that year, Radio Times published their final 'Most Powerful People' list, which named the most influential people in radio in the United Kingdom. Restricted only to current broadcasters, the poll was won by Radio 2 disc jockey and television host Jonathan Ross, who was praised as "one of the wittiest people on radio". On 8 May 2010, Ross kept a copy of the issue of Radio Times naming him the most powerful person in radio in his office, next to a caricature of himself falling down a sewer from The Beano's Dennis the Menace and Gnasher comic strip.
There have been 20 editors of Radio Times to date (including one uncredited and one returning) since the magazine began publication:
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.
Each year, Radio Times celebrates those individuals and programmes that are featured at the Covers Party, where framed oversized versions of the covers are presented. Radio Times had several sporting events with more than one of the Home Nations (such as the 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.
While the major events (such as Remembrance Day, Crufts, the Oscars/BAFTAs, Eurovision Song Contest, Wimbledon Championships, Glastonbury Festival and the Proms) or new series of popular programmes are marked by producing different covers were actually used for other collectors:
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 TV Times-style photographic covers for all other issues. In recent years, Radio Times has published and sold packs of reproductions of some of the Christmas covers of the magazine as Christmas cards.[when?]
Over the past years, Radio Times published special majestic covers (often marked as a 'souvenir' issue) dedicated to royalty which reflects the monarchy of the United Kingdom, as well as other significant events include birthdays, coronations, jubilees, royal weddings and various celebrations across the decades:
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.
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. This cover recreated a scene from the 1964 serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth in which the Daleks were seen crossing Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the background, and also the cover text read "VOTE DALEK!". On 29 September 2008, the contest was sponsored by the Periodical Publishers Association, this cover was voted the best British magazine cover of all time. Five years later (on 17 April 2010) before the next general election, our three special covers depicting the Daleks invading the capital once more within showing their true colours of red, blue and yellow as one of several Britain's political parties for Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats were used individually.
Throughout the decades, Radio Times used to have covers for various television specials and anniversary editions focusing about the programme's history:
An annual was published three times: in 1954, 1955 and 1956.
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 in the paperback format. 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.
Radio Times Extra is a means of extending advertising into the medium of digital programme guides provided by Inview Technology, it offers full schedule listings and synopses forward 14 days, as well as editorialised selections such as 'pick of the day'. It has been installed on certain Freeview box models through an 'over-air download', but some box makers are installing the service on new boxes that can be bought in various stores. As of January 2011, it has been installed on 3.8 million Freeview set-top boxes in the United Kingdom from 21 different manufacturers spanning 37 different receivers.
The service was originally built by Teletext Ltd. in collaboration with Inview Technology. In a deal between the company and BBC Worldwide, Teletext Extra was relaunched as Radio Times Extra on 31 January 2011 within the editorial content from Radio Times.
There are several regional editions that which contain different schedules for localised programming, all editions of Radio Times carry variations of adjoining regions for television and radio. As of June 2022, they were six regional editions.
Since its began on 28 September 1923 (during the interwar period), there was just a single national edition to cover all the BBC wireless services including relay stations from 1924:
|Station ID||City||First appearance|
|2LO||London||28 September 1923|
|2BD||Aberdeen||10 October 1923|
|6BM||Bournemouth||17 October 1923|
|6FL (relay)||Sheffield||24 February 1924|
|5PY (relay)||Plymouth||28 March 1924|
|2EH (relay)||Edinburgh||1 May 1924|
|6LV (relay)||Liverpool||11 June 1924|
|2LS (relay)||Leeds/Bradford||8 July 1924|
|6KH (relay)||Hull||15 August 1924|
|2BE||Belfast||15 September 1924|
|5NG (relay)||Nottingham||16 September 1924|
|6ST (relay)||Stoke||21 October 1924|
|2DE (relay)||Dundee||12 November 1924|
|5SX (relay)||Swansea||12 December 1924|
(replaced by Daventry on 27 July 1925)
|15 December 1924|
From 10 October 1926, the two separate regions – 'Northern' and 'Southern' – were published before Radio Times reverted to one edition and covering all the local stations once again on 7 January 1934:
|Region||BBC local station|
Between 1930 and 1935, many of the original 21 BBC local stations eventually reduced to six regional services (including Wales from 1937) as well as five national variations with the exceptions of Plymouth, Bournemouth, Aberdeen and Stagshaw were remained until 1939 before the outbreak of World War II:
|Region||Former BBC local station||Appearance|
(London region until 5 July 1931)
|9 March 1930|
|North||17 May 1931 (regional)|
5 July 1931 (national)
|Scottish||13 September 1931 (regional)|
7 October 1934 (national)
(includes Welsh service until 31 January 1937)
|16 May 1933 (regional)|
13 August 1933 (national)
|Northern Ireland||Belfast||6 January 1935|
After the end of World War II in Europe, the seven local variations were resumed on 29 July 1945 which also used by BBC Home Service as they referred similar to its pre-war Regional Programme during the 1930s.
November 1967 saw the introduction of BBC Local Radio whether these regional areas subdivided with individual editions for each English county (except Isle of Man), as well as the national regions and several opt-out services were also used. This continued between February 1981 and January 1983 until each regional edition began to cover three local stations which was previously used by regional news and opt-out programming on Radio 4, apart from the South West (including the Channel Islands) as this is now the only part of England still without any BBC local station. During the mid-1980s and early 1990s, a number of 13 new BBC local stations were added to covering the whole areas throughout the United Kingdom:
|Region||BBC Local Radio station|
|London and South East|
|Cumbria||Carlisle (24 November 1973 – renamed Radio Cumbria on 25 May 1982 and also Radio Furness as an opt-out service)|
As of June 2022, there were 50 BBC regional radio networks which consist of 45 local stations and four opt-out services included:
|Region||BBC Local Radio station|
|Yorkshire/North East/North West|
In November 1936, Radio Times launches its first television service in the London area only before they closed down on 1 September 1939 by the duration of war for over six years and finally resumed on 7 June 1946. When the second channel began in 1964, there were a number of areas where only certain parts of a region could get receive this service until 1966:
|BBC TV (later BBC1)||BBC2|
|London (2 November 1936)
Midlands (17 December 1949)
North of England (12 October 1951)
Scotland (14 March 1952)
West of England (15 August 1952 – including Wales until 1964)
Northern Ireland (1 May 1953)
Wales (9 February 1964)
|London and South East (20 April 1964)|
Midlands and East Anglia (6 December 1964 – became full service on 4 October 1965)
Wales (12 September 1965)
North of England (31 October 1965)
South and West (16 January 1966)
Northern Ireland (11 June 1966)
Scotland (9 July 1966)
From 1 March 1991, Radio Times started carrying ITV and Channel 4 listings to begin they cover the 14 regional editions (which later reduced to ten areas) across the country:
|Region||BBC TV (BBC1/BBC2)||ITV|
|London||BBC South East||Thames Television (until 31 December 1992)|
Carlton Television (from 1 January 1993)
London Weekend Television
|East Anglia||BBC East||Anglia Television|
|Midlands||BBC West Midlands
BBC East Midlands (from 7 January 1991)
|Central Independent Television|
BBC South East
|Television South (until 31 December 1992)|
Meridian Broadcasting (from 1 January 1993)
Channel Television (from 19 October 1991)
|South West||BBC South West||Television South West (until 31 December 1992)|
Westcountry Television (from 1 January 1993)
BBC Cymru Wales
|HTV (Harlech Television)|
|North West||BBC North||Granada Television|
|Yorkshire/North East||Yorkshire Television|
Tyne Tees Television (also known as Channel 3 North East between 2 September 1996 and 9 March 1998)
|Scotland||BBC Scotland||Scottish Television|
|Northern Ireland||BBC Northern Ireland||Ulster Television|
At the same time, regional editions also included several local television stations used individually as well as the neighbouring countries outside Great Britain where available:
|Nation||Local television station|
|England||London Live (31 March 2014)|
As of June 2022, every local television station had its own edition consisting of 15 BBC regional services and 13 ITV companies were also used:
|Region||BBC TV||ITV||Other channels|
BBC South East
BBC West Midlands
BBC East Midlands
ITV Cymru Wales
|South/West/South West||BBC South
BBC South East
BBC South West
ITV West Country
ITV Channel Television
ITV Cymru Wales
|Yorkshire/North East/North West||BBC Yorkshire
BBC East Yorks and Lincs
BBC North East and Cumbria
BBC North West
ITV Tyne Tees
ITV Cymru Wales
|ITV Cymru Wales||BBC1 England|
ITV West Country
|Northern Ireland||BBC1 Northern Ireland
BBC2 Northern Ireland
Virgin Media One
Virgin Media Three
The number of regional editions has been altered over the years within gradually being reduced over time due to there being fewer variations in the programme schedules:
The Radio Times website was launched in 1997, primarily as a listings service. As from 18 August 2011, it relaunches an offering diverse editorial product to accompany its schedules for television, radio and film recommendations.
|Wikidata has the property:
In December 2012, the BBC completed a digitisation exercise, scanning the listings of all 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 output. They identified around five million programmes, involving 8.5 million actors, presenters, writers and technical staff.
BBC Genome was released in public use for the first time on 15 October 2014, as well as corrections to OCR errors and changes to advertised schedules are being crowdsourced. Several addresses including telephone numbers and email have been taken out for prevent users to attempting personal funds from other charity appeals have now closed which are no longer available, but some names and trademark terms have been removed for legal reasons.
On 28 September 2020, Radio Times launched its online puzzle site filled with hundreds of brainteasers from their extensive archive; the puzzle pages have been popular with readers ever since the crossword appeared in the magazine on 15 January 1933, and they later expanded the puzzles to three pages every week, with some traditional favourites from television and radio such as Eggheads, Only Connect, Pointless, Channel 4's Countdown and BBC Radio 2's PopMaster.
This new puzzle site containing a huge back catalogue of crosswords (which includes easy, general knowledge and cryptic), trackwords, sudoku and enigma codes with handy tips and tricks to test brainpower. The seven-day free subscription trial with three options available: £2.99 per month, £7.99 per quarter and £29.99 per year, each option gives unlimited access to the entire website for the duration of your subscription.
On 8 September 2021, Radio Times introduces the 40-minute podcast show hosted by Jane Garvey and Rhianna Dhillon, which include interviews with some of the biggest names on television to hear the stories behind the programmes as well as recommendations for must-see shows coming up in the week ahead.