External Services

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 898 BBC/E
  • Dates of Creation
      From 1922
  • Physical Description
      c2500 linear feet of files; c1355 bound volumes/files of hard copy PasBs; c12600 microfilm reels; c18335 microfiche slides

Scope and Content

These records cover BBC broadcasts to, from or about countries or territories outside the UK. This is primarily via BBC World Service radio, and its previous incarnations, from 1932 onwards. The service was originally known as the BBC Empire Service. It has also been known as the BBC Overseas Service and BBC External Services, incorporating smaller services for individual countries. These were combined to form the BBC World Service in 1965. The records represent the full range of activities undertaken by these services, including management and administration; production and broadcasting of programmes; liaison with the UK Government; liaison with foreign governments and broadcasters (particularly with regard to the development of broadcasting in foreign countries); audience research and technical aspects of foreign broadcasting. It does not contain any contributor records, which are included among the contributor records for radio.


This sub-fonds is arranged into five sub-sub-fonds; Production Documentation External Services (Programmes-as-Broadcast and programme scripts), Programmes External Services, Monitoring Service, English Language Service and Foreign Language Services. The records are arranged by file series within each of these sub-sub-fonds. Some administrative record series are not part of one of the sub-sub-fonds. They are arranged directly under the sub-fonds, examples are the Countries (E1) and Foreign General (E2) and World Service Registry (E40) series.