BBC to put radio and tv program archives on line

The BBC intends to create a home on the web for all its programs, past and present.

Spanning 81 years of radio and television, the project will create a web page for every episode of every program ever broadcast on the BBC, and be the basis of a plan to introduce a vault of archived shows.

The project was set in motion last year under director-general Mark Thompson’s plan to overhaul the BBC for the digital age and add the British national broadcaster’s program back-catalogue to produce pages for programming stretching back over nearly 80 years.

In 2003, the then director-general, Greg Dyke, unveiled plans for an online archive, and since then the BBC has been grappling with the rights issues and technical challenges.

But the success of the iPlayer seven-day catch-up service launched at Christmas has proven the potential for online video to help the BBC stay relevant in the digital age. More than 90 million shows have been streamed or downloaded.