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Magazine / Radio Times

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British TV and radio listings magazine launched in 1923 and originally published by The BBC's commercial arm. (As of 2011, it is now published by Immediate Media.) For a time in the 1970s and 1980s, it had the highest circulation of any magazine in the United Kingdom. This was because at that time TV listings for a longer period in advance than a single day were monopolised by the TV networks' official publications - the Radio Times for the BBC and TV Times for ITV (and Channel 4 when it started). In 1990 the law was changed to require the channels to supply advance schedule information to anybody who wanted to publish them, leading to the Radio Times and TV Times both printing listings for all four channels and many competing TV listings magazines being created.


Although no longer the best-selling listings magazine, the Radio Times remains the most respected and the most upmarket, as seen in its choice of cover stories. While IPC's TV Times and its other rivals feature soap operas on their covers almost every week, the RT gives prime space to documentaries, serious drama and even (occasionally) radio shows. Oh, and since the 2005 revival, Doctor Who. A lot. It also scores over its rivals in featuring extensive cast lists, and even selected crew credits, for most homemade BBC programmes and many imports. And let's not forget that it continues to justify its title by providing the most comprehensive set of listings for Britain's national radio networks.

With the advent of electronic programme guides, many British families will nowadays only buy the RT once a year ... at Christmas, when it comes in a bumper edition covering two weeks.


A related publication, The Listener, was also published by the BBC until 1991. Noticeably more highbrow, it is nowadays best remembered for its very difficult cryptic crossword.

Other Listings Magazines Are Available is the famous disclaimer The BBC had to use when advertising it on TV—they actually hadn't advertised it in over a decade before the sale, but The Catchphrase Caught On and is still referenced to this day.

Comedians (especially on radio) often reference the fact that the modern Radio Times has much more to do with TV listings than radio. On I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, it was claimed that the magazine was in fact named after "Theradio Times" (pronounced "Theh-rah-dio Teem-es"), the ancient Greek inventor of TV listings.

There is now an online archive of Radio Times TV and radio listings from 1923 to 2009 under the BBC Genome Project. It can be found here: (Listings after 2010 here.)