The Radio Times is a beloved British Institution, up there – I’m sure- with the Monarchy and drinking tea. This year sees The Radio Times turning ninety, and what better way to look back at nearly a century’s worth of history than with an exhibition at The Museum of London ?
For those of you who might not be familiar with British Magazines, The Radio Times began life as a radio listings service. It told people what was on the wireless and when. Once television became a popular medium, The Radio Times included televisual listings too. It’s a kind of archive of all the stuff that has been broadcast in Britain over the last 90 years.
Suddenly what initially looked like a niche topic has exploded into something massive.
Well, maybe not that massive; when it started in 1923 there was only one broadcaster, one channel and one medium. 90 years later on and that number had increased significantly – the BBC’s first rival (ITV) didn’t appear until 1955 and even then it came with its own listings service: The TV Times.
(Apparently the TV Times is still going, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed it. Ever. In all my years as a television viewer.)
So yes, the history of the Radio Times contains within it the history of British Broadcasting, which contains within it pretty much everything in the last 90 years. Eeep.
Lucky for us, the museum visitor, the exhibition doesn’t cast it’s gaze that wide. No, instead it looks at the programme that has graced the covers of the magazine more than any other… Doctor Who.
Greeting you is one of the Daleks, the iconic villain from Whovian mythology and fan-fave, in a set up recreating a recent Doctor Who themed cover of the Radio Times.
We’re also treated to some fantastic old covers with a Whovian theme.
They don’t make ’em like they used to, not a bit of Photoshop in sight – these retro covers are design classics! Looking up at them, I couldn’t help but think “I wonder if one of the curators was a fan?” I think so, the exhibition, although interesting in itself is so much more fun with the whovian theme.
Cover Story: The Radio Times at 90 is at the Museum of London until 3rd November and it’s completely free. If you want to learn a little bit more about Doctor Who, you can explore the Doctor Who Museum in West Ham or check out the Doctor Who badges at the Museum of Museum Badges.