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BBC archive heading online as Project Barcelona confirmed

Classic TV and radio shows from the BBC archives are to go on sale online under Project Barcelona, officially confirmed today.

The BBC is finally flinging open Auntie's basement. Classic TV and radio shows from the BBC archives are to go on sale online in a plan codenamed Project Barcelona.

BBC boss Mark Thompson confirmed the plans, which we reported last week. Classic BBC programmes will be yours to download for a "relatively modest" fee, including many shows that have not been previously available to own.

It's another way of making money from the wealth of great telly in the Television Centre archives, after the launch of the Global BBC iPlayer in foreign countries. While iPlayer's catch-up service is free in Britain -- to licence-fee payers and non-payers alike -- people in other countries have to pay.

You can colour me excited -- just think of all those classic British shows to dive into. Doctor Who! I'd go on but you've got things to do and places to be, and besides, Mitch Benn has already said it perfectly:

There are those who'd argue that we've already paid for these shows with our licence fees, but then you could argue that in fact it was previous generations of Britons who paid for these old shows. It may have its problems, but I'm a massive fan of the BBC -- I paid for a TV licence even when I didn't have a TV -- and I'm happy to spend money on classic telly knowing it's going back into the Beeb.

After all, Project Barcelona is no different to selling Doctor Who, Top Gear or Goon Show CDs and DVDs.

The online archive plan seeks approval from the BBC Trust later in the year. Would you pay to rifle through Auntie's drawers, or is this another rip-off from the unfair monopoly behind your least favourite telly-based stealth tax? How much is fair for a slice of classic telly from the Beeb? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook page.