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Bored? Then you should check out the BBC’s new TV and radio service

The new search tool, called Programme Explorer, contains an archive of more than 200,000 TV shows and radio programmes, the BBC announced over the weekend.

The BBC has collected all available content across its platforms and stuck it one, easy-to-navigate place. This includes 213,704 radio and TV programmes, from BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and BBC News to BBC Sport and BBC Weather.

Notable shows and radio series available through Programme Explorer include In Our Time, Bookshelf, The Reith Lectures, Witness, Science in Action, One Planet, Horrible Histories and In the Night Garden.

The search tool was developed as part of the BBC’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the broadcaster planning on opening up more of the archive in the lead up to the BBC’s centenary in 2022.

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One of the more helpful features is that you won’t even need to search for a specific title for a relevant programme to pop up. The tool allows you to search for names and topics with results ranging from yesterday’s news to content decades deep into the archive. A quick search for Sandi Toksvig, for example, will surface not only every episode of QI available through the BBC, but other programmes the presenter has starred in, including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Radio 3’s My Classical Favourites and the BBC Sounds podcast Table Manners.

There are also nearly 600 episodes of Gardeners’ Question Time for those who have picked up the hobby during the lockdown. Not only that but a quick search for ‘tomatoes’ will bring up cooking shows, programmes on genetic modification, the history of the tomato and every episode of Gardener’s World that offers advice on how to grow the fruit.

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“Programme Explorer is a real treasure trove for anyone with a niche passion about virtually anything, and an invaluable informal learning tool”, said BBC Archive Executive Editor Peter Rippon.

“There are over 200,000 programmes available for people to watch or listen, and until now it’s been difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. This tool also makes it easy to find things you didn’t know you were looking for – sending you down a rabbit hole, following your curiosity through a wide range of brilliant BBC programmes from across the archive”.

There certainly has never been a better time for the BBC to clean up its archive and make all of its cross-platform content available in one easy-to-search location. Programme Explorer launches today – visit bbc.co.uk/programmeexplorer now to try it out for yourself.

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