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See what was on TV when you were born with BBC's Genome project

The listings, which detail programming that aired on the BBC between 1923 and 2009, were built using digitised info from the Radio Times.


Fancy knowing the TV schedule from the day you were born? The BBC has your back, with the newly-launched project Genome -- a searchable online archive of the broadcaster's schedule.

The archive, which has been available to BBC staff since last year but today has been made available to the public, was constructed out of digitised copies of the Radio Times, the schedule magazine founded and originally published by the Beeb.

By heading to the project and tinkering with the years, dates and channels, you can examine the retro programmes that aired during your childhood, the day of your birth or on any particular significant time and date you can call to mind.

One minor limitation at present is that the online schedules currently online only go back as far April 1964, while the website itself is a little shaky, with a fair few clicks leading to error pages. Here's hoping the Beeb can make its extremely interesting new tool a little more robust in the near future.

The listings were scanned using a technique called Optical Character Recognition, which electronically analysed a whopping 350,622 pages of the Radio Times.

As all data is drawn from the Radio Times' schedules, the listings don't factor in technical glitches in original transmissions, or times when the BBC had to change its programming to deal with major events.

In terms of verifying listings however, Auntie is asking for the public's help. "Audiences will also be able to take part in the project, by making edits and corrections to the programme listings," the BBC writes on its blog, "With edits sent directly to the BBC to verify. Accepted edits will then be published."

Before the era of preserving programmes for future use, the broadcaster didn't hold onto copies of what it aired -- for instance, nearly a hundred black and white episodes of "Doctor Who" are lost to the ages. Now the BBC is hoping that the Genome project will help plug holes in its archive.

"It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world, many of these 'missing' programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations of TV and radio fans," the BBC writes. "So we're hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives."