July 29, 1945: The Light Programme is launched

The Light Programme was a BBC radio station which broadcast chiefly mainstream light entertainment and music from 1945 until 1967, when it was rebranded as BBC Radio 2. It opened on July 29, 1945, taking over the long wave frequency which had earlier been used – prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 – by the BBC National Programme.

The service was intended as a domestic replacement for the wartime BBC Forces Programme (later, the General Forces Programme) which had proved popular with civilian audiences in Britain as well as members of the armed forces.

The Light Programme closed down for the last time at 2:02 am on Saturday September 30, 1967. At 5:30 am on the same day it was replaced by Radio 1 on its medium wave frequencies, and by Radio 2 (the renamed Light Programme) on its long wave frequency.

The long-running soap opera The Archers was first heard nationally on the Light Programme, on January 1, 1951, although a week-long pilot version had been broadcast in the Midlands Home Service in 1950.

Notable Programmes

  • The Archers
  • Beyond Our Ken
  • The Billy Cotton Band Show
  • The Clitheroe Kid
  • Dick Barton – Special Agent
  • Does the Team Think?
  • Educating Archie
  • Family Favourites
  • Friday Night is Music Night
  • The Goon Show (repeats from the Home Service)
  • Hancock’s Half Hour
  • Housewive’s Choice
  • ITMA (repeats from the Home Service)
  • Journey Into Space
  • Children’s Favourites
  • Life with the Lyons
  • Listen with Mother
  • Much Binding in the Marsh
  • The Navy Lark
  • Pick of the Pops
  • Round the Horne
  • Sing Something Simple
  • Take it from Here
  • Woman’s Hour

Notable Presenters

  • Desmond Carrington
  • Robert Dougall
  • John Dunn
  • Alan Freeman
  • David Jacobs
  • Brian Matthew
  • Pete Murray


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