View and listen to a recent presentation on the archive by Media History Publisher, Seth Cayley>>

"The Listener was where the British did their thinking. Literate and engaged, it had the mild irony of all the best of British culture. "

Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History and Official Historian of the BBC,
The University of Westminster  Read more>>

"The Listener is a great resource for me because it's basically the only written record of the mid-20th-century BBC that's widely available."
Ariel Buckley, a PhD candidate, McGill University, Canada Read more>>

 This new digital collection from Gale offers researchers and students access to the complete, fully searchable facsimile archive of The Listener, the BBC periodical published from 1929-1991. The online archive consists of the complete 62 year run of the paper, allowing users to search across 129,000 pages and more than 226,000 articles  - all newly digitised from originals in full colour.

About The Listener

The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC in 1929 under its Director-General Lord Reith. It was the intellectual counterpart to the BBC listings magazine, Radio Times. Developed as the medium for reproducing broadcast talks – initially on radio, but in later years television as well - The Listener  is one of the few records and means of accessing the content of many early broadcasts. As well as commenting on and expanding on the intellectual broadcasts of the week, The Listener also previewed major literary and musical programmes and regularly reviewed new books.

Over its 62 year history, it attracted the contributions of E. M. Forster, George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf. It also provided an important platform for new writers and poets, with W. H. Auden, Sylvia Plath and Philip Larkin being notable examples.

Articles were diverse, with features on the death of King George V; a series of essays accompanying Sir Kenneth Clark’s landmark art history programme Civilization, interviews with authors such as Vladimir Nabokov; and the historian Geoffrey Elton writing on the decline of British universities in the 1960s. What united them was the BBC’s cultural mission (as envisaged by Reith) of educating the masses.

For research, teaching and learning

The complete facsimile run of The Listener is an important resource for all humanities and social sciences courses, especially:    
  • History
  • Media Studies
  • Literature
  • Cultural Studies
  • Politics
  • Sociology
For researchers: Twentieth-century British studies (especially post-1945) is a growing and multi-disciplinary area, but few digital resources exist. The Listener Historical Archive opens up a potentially vast research field.

For students: The rise of broadcast media is arguably the most transformative event in modern society. As our main record of the first decades of broadcasting – including transcripts of programmes - The Listener Historical Archive is an essential teaching tool.

The Listener Historical Archive on Gale NewsVault

The Listener Historical Archive
is a part of the Gale NewsVault programme. Gale NewsVault delivers the definitive cross-searching experience for exploring Gale’s range of historical newspaper collections. Users can simultaneously search or browse across some of the best-known and well-respected newspaper collections available internationally to date, including The Economist Historical Archive and the Financial Times Historical Archive. Providing access to 15 million digitised facsimile pages, and more that 400 years of content, Gale NewsVault provides an unparalleled window to the past.

Gale NewsVault
is available to all Gale historical newspaper collection customers now, free of charge, enabling users to cross-search all of the Gale historical newspaper collections that an institution holds.

Click here for more details

Please note:
The Listener Historical Archive is only available for institutions to trial and purchase. The archive is not available at this stage for individual subscriptions. For individuals seeking a copy of an issue/issues or a specific article within The Listener, Gale, part of Cengage Learning does not have the rights to provide this service. If you wish to obtain a specific article or issue, please contact your public library and enquire about online access to our products. Otherwise, it may be worth visiting a library that holds the physical copies.