Audio Drama Wiki

BBC Radio 7 (formerly BBC7) is a British digital radio station broadcasting comedy, drama, and children's programming nationally 24 hours a day. It is the principal broadcasting outlet for the BBC's archive of spoken-word entertainment, and was established primarily to enable the contents of the BBC Sound Archive to be broadcast. It was the second most listened to BBC digital radio station in the second quarter of 2010, with an audience of 949,000 and a 13.8% year-on-year rise in its audience.[1] The station can be heard worldwide on the Internet, across northern Europe via the Astra 2A satellite (including via Freesat and Sky), and in the UK on DAB digital radio, cable television, IPTV and Freeview digital terrestrial television.


The station, originally codenamed "Network Z", was launched by Paul Merton at 20:00 on 15 December 2002 in a simulcast with BBC Radio 4.

As a speech network, BBC 7 — as it was initially branded to reflect the fact that the station was available on the internet, digital television, and DAB radio[2] — carried no news, with the exception of a weekday 16:55 bulletin aimed at younger listeners presented by the Newsround team. Until January 2010 each of the station's continuity announcers was associated with themed blocks of programming and were promoted as personalities and presenters in their own right; subsequently Radio 7 has adopted a more traditional continuity format using one presenter to announce every programme throughout the day. Current regular presenters are Penny Haslam, Helen Aitken, Kerry McCarthy, Wes Butters, Jim Lee, Joanna Pinnock, Alex Riley and Michaela Saunders.

The station won the Sony Radio Academy Award for Station Sound in 2003, was nominated for the Promo Award in 2004, and in 2005 received a Silver for the Short-Form award, plus nominations in the Speech Award and Digital Terrestrial Station Of The Year Award.

On 4 October 2008, BBC 7 was renamed BBC Radio 7.[2]

In January 2010 Phil Williams joined Radio 7 to introduce the Sunday and Friday night Comedy Club programmes. Nicholas Briggs took over the 7th Dimension science-fiction slot. In February 2010 Radio 7 was reported as one of the few digital radio stations to show consistent growth in its audience, winning an audience of 931,000 listeners, up 5.3% on the previous quarter and 9.5% year on year.[3] The station's listening share saw 20.0% growth, year-on-year, in the 12 months to March 2010.[4]

In February 2010 Radio 7 was reported as one of the few digital radio stations to show consistent growth in its audience, winning an audience of 931,000 listeners, up 5.3% on the previous quarter and 9.5% year on year.[3] The station's listening share saw 20.0% growth, year-on-year, in the 12 months to March 2010.[4]

On 2 March 2010 the BBC's management announced a proposal to substantially change the station, which currently repeats programmes drawn from the BBC Sound Archive, so that it would also provide content based on current Radio 4 shows. The station would then be renamed "Radio 4 Extra".[5] On 3 June 2010 the BBC Trust opened a public consultation on the proposal to change the station.[6]


Programmes previously qualified for broadcast on Radio 7 if they were either three years old or more, or if they had previously been broadcast twice on their original station. However, the station is now broadcasting more recent Radio 4 material. It has also commissioned its own programmes since the very beginning.

The schedule still spans the decades, from The Goon Show (1950s) and Round the Horne (1960s), through Radio 2 favourites like The News Huddlines, Castle's On The Air and Listen to Les to recent Radio 4 shows such as Little Britain and Dead Ringers. There is also speculative fiction of various kinds, science fiction, fantasy or horror seven days a week in a regular slot called The 7th Dimension which is broadcast on Radio 7 twice a day, at 18:00 and midnight. This slot regularly features a series of original Doctor Who audio dramas, starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

The station's remit requires it to carry children's programming which, since the station's launch, has come in various forms including The Little Toe Radio Show, aimed at younger children and consisting of short serials, stories and rhymes and The Big Toe Radio Show which featured phone-ins and quizzes as well as stories intended for the 8+ age group. In 2010 BBC Radio 7's weekday schedule featured three hours for children, Cbeebies on BBC Radio 7 from 06:00 to 08:00 and Big Toe Books from 16:00 to 17:00.[7] The audience of children between 4 and 14 listening to these programmes was reported to be just 25,000.[8]

Radio 7 also broadcasts some original programming. Newsjack is a topical news sketch show in the spirit of Radio 4's late Week Ending which encourages contributions from listeners. Spanking New on Seven was a stand-up comedy programme, and they have broadcast the BBC New Comedy Competition, a competition for new stand up comedians. People who have taken part in BBC comedy competitions have gone on to have their own series on Radio 7, such as John-Luke Roberts with Spats and Miriam Elia with A Series of Psychotic Episodes. The Mitch Benn Music Show features comedy songs introduced by Mitch Benn. Colin and Fergus' Digi Radio is a comedy sketch show which ran for two series in 2005–2006. Serious About Comedy was a weekly show, now decommissioned, presented by Robin Ince where comedians and comedy critics discuss comedy television, radio, DVDs, and films from the last week. Tilt is a satirical sketch show which looks at the week's news of views other than the norm. Knocker is a sitcom about a market researcher, written by and starring Neil Edmond.

The flagship comedy section on Radio 7 is The Comedy Club, hosted by Alex Riley (Monday to Thursday) and Phil Williams (Friday and Sunday). Pitched as "two hours of contemporary comedy", it is broadcast from 22:00 to midnight Sunday to Friday. Comedy that has previously been commercially available as CDs on the Laughing Stock label is also broadcast.

The network also features output from North America such as the American series Garrison Keillor's Radio Show and The Twilight Zone, and Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe from Canada.

List of original programmes[]

While most of the shows on Radio 7 are repeats, there is some original programming such as: Template:Div col

  • Big Toe Books (Children's show)
  • Serious About Comedy (Comedy review show)
  • Tilt (Satirical sketch comedy)
  • Newsjack (Satirical sketch comedy)
  • Spats (Sketch comedy)
  • Knocker (Sitcom)
  • The Penny Dreadfuls Present... (Sketch comedy)
  • Undone (Sci-fi comedy)
  • The Spaceship (Sci-fi comedy)
  • Oneira (Sci-fi comedy)
  • The Laxian Key (Sci-fi comedy)
  • Cold Blood (Sci-fi drama)
  • The Voice of God (Sci-fi drama)
  • A Series of Psychotic Episodes (Sketch comedy)
  • CBeebies Radio (Children's show)
  • Colin and Fergus' Digi Radio (Sketch comedy)
  • No Tomatoes (Sketch comedy)
  • The Mitch Benn Music Show (Musical comedy)
  • Spanking New on Seven (Stand-up)
  • Play and Record (Sketch comedy)
  • Pleased to Meet You (Comedy)
  • Gus Murdoch's Sacred Cows (Comedy)
  • Planet B (Sci-fi drama)
  • Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures (Sci-fi Drama)
  • The Man in Black (Horror)

Template:Div col end

See also[]

  • List of BBC radio stations