Past Forward: A Century of Sound

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What to expect

A funny, fascinating and personal look at 100 years of history in the BBC archives

Historian Greg Jenner uses a random date generator to visit somewhere in the BBC’s vast archives of remarkable sound clips from the last 100 years. Using that clip as a jumping-off point to explore what has changed between then and now, Greg talks to experts and those connected to the archived people, places, and ideas, including Stephen Fry, writer Naomi Alderman, playwright Nell Leyshon, social historian Carol Dyhouse, author and disability campaigner Dr Amit Patel, food historian Annie Gray, and inveterate tennis fan Geoff Dyer.

From dance crazes, post-war Christmases and communist sitcoms to pub evolution, life on the waterways and women’s political activism, Past Forward provides a rich and thought-provoking look at the oral histories, personal stories, big moments and small joys of the past and the present, and how our history has shaped the people we have become.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates:
The Lambeth Walk 03 January 2022
1984 – Comrade Dad 04 January 2022
Christmas 1945 05 January 2022
Mary Whitehouse 06 January 2022
Porton Down 07 January 2022
Match Point 10 January 2022
Kitty Hart-Moxon 11 January 2022
If People Can’t Let Slip… 12 January 2022
Traffic 13 January 2022
England v Argentina 1998 14 January 2022
Dinner Is Served 21 March 2022
Get Out of My Pub 22 March 2022
Talking Technology 23 March 2022
The Teen Age 24 March 2022
Louie Hooper sings Lord Rendall 25 March 2022
Listen with Mother 28 March 2022
Rebuilding Britain 29 March 2022
The Corncrake and the Croft 30 March 2022
Life on the Canals 31 March 2022
Save our Steelworks 01 April 2022

Production credits
Produced by Dan Potts, Amelia Parker, Martin Williams, Megan Jones, and Eliane Glaser, for BBC Wales

Cover credits
Photographer: James Gifford-Mead (jamesgiffordmead-photography.co.uk)
Image adapted by Rabia Ali

© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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