Some of the best BBC programmes from over 50 years of the planet’s greatest broadcaster. The outcome of the election on May 6th will have far-reaching effects on the BBC. If we want the privilege of watching television like this in the future, we need to make sure that our government understands, values and preserves the country’s remaining cultural beacons.

A tip of the hat for inspiration to Ricardo Autobahn’s “Golden Age Of Video”

The music is an edit of David Bowie’s cover of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat”, recorded for a BBC John Peel session.

The David Cameron images were made with the online tool at

The clips are:

  • “Yes. He’s got good leadership skills. Let’s all go with him to our certain deaths.” Mackenzie Crook as Gareth Keenan in The Office Christmas Special Part 1 (2003)
  • “Beshrew me Edmund, you’re in good fooling!” Tim McInnerney as Lord Percy in Blackadder II (1986)
  • “Did you threaten to overrule him?” Jeremy Paxman interviewing Michael Howard, then the Home Secretary, on Newsnight (1997). The interview is famous for Paxman asking Howard the same question 12 times in a row, as Howard avoided giving a direct answer.
  • “Just in case anything goes wrong” John Noakes on Blue Peter (1976).
  • “Armed with tusks a metre long” David Attenborough on Planet Earth (2006).
  • “What happens when you punch a cow” Chris Addison as Ollie Reeder in The Thick Of It (2007)
  • “They think it’s all over – it is now!” Kenneth Wolstenholme commentating on the World Cup final (1966)
  • “This is not political debate!” Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge in Knowing Me, Knowing You (1994)
  • “Exterminate! Annihilate!” Daleks in Doctor Who (visuals 2005, audio unknown but almost certainly earlier)
  • “Said she heard that there was a hurricane”, Michael Fish’s infamous weather forecast immediately before the Great Storm (1987).
  • “Well, that’s the election campaign” Oliver Postgate narrating a special Clangers election broadcast (1974). The visuals are from the episode “The Rock Collector” (1971).
  • “I’m sorry to say this, Quatermass” Cec Linder as Dr Matthew Roney in Quatermass and the Pit (1959).
  • “What election’s that, bonny lass”? Daniel Craig as Geordie Peacock in “Our Friends In The North” (1996). This episode takes place against the backdrop of the 1964 General Election. Incidentally, the BBC is reportedly developing an updated version of Our Friends in the North, with the working title of “White Heat”.
  • “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew” Trumpton, narrated by Brian Cant, 1967
  • “You both went to public school, didn’t you?” Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring in the Dad’s Army episode “Round and Round Went the Great Big Wheel” (1972)
  • “Junior boys also lend a hand” Raymond Baxter on Tomorrow’s World (1969)
  • “Well my dear, are you in a band?” John Peel to Altered Images’ singer Clare Grogan on Top Of The Pops (c. 1982)
  • Crowd scenes from the BBC’s coverage of Blur’s set at Glastonbury (2009).
  • “Breathe twice and cry ‘so, so,'” David Dixon as Ariel with Michael Hordern as Prospero in the BBC’s production of “The Tempest” (1980). The facade of Broadcasting House in London prominently features statues of Prospero and Ariel.
  • “On a bearing two-eight-oh” geography teacher Diana Gould challenging Margaret Thatcher about her ordering of the sinking of the General Belgrano on Nationwide (1987)
  • Stephen Fry “dancercising” on “A Bit Of Fry and Laurie (1990).
  • “Drink Hamish?” “Aye, why not?” Stuart McGugan as Barney Meldrum, Robert Carlyle as Hamish MacBeth in “Hamish MacBeth” (1995)
  • “Ah Mr Luxury-Yacht” John Cleese in Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1970)
  • David Dimbleby dancing with artists Gilbert and George in Seven Ages of Britain (2010).
  • “i’m going to take you under my wing” Ian Richardson as Major Neuheim in Private Schulz (1981)
  • “It’s a matter of health as much as anything” Alex Guinness as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)
  • Ernie Wise, Diana Rigg and Eric Morecambe in The Morecambe and Wise Show (1975)
  • “The British are in there, fighting away” Stuart Hall commentating on Jeux Sans Frontieres (1978)
  • “The frozen desert we see today” Brian Cox on The Wonders Of The Solar System” (2010)
  • The Singing Detective (1986)
  • “Are you joking? You got to put this right” Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt in Life On Mars (2006)
  • “I can use any word I want actually pal, all right?” Mark E. Smith as, er, Jesus, in Ideal (2007)
  • Line dancing scene from Gavin and Stacey (2008)
  • “Damn right I turned it into a bomb” Joe Don Baker as Darius Jedburgh in Edge Of Darkness (1985)
  • “Sunday Night on BBC1” BBC1 continuity announcement (1992)
  • “It means something really heavy” Nigel Planer as Neil in The Young Ones (1982)
  • “We’re being put off the air” Jimi Hendrix on A Happening For Lulu (1969).
  • “It means there’s no more telly” Nigel Planer as above.
  • Jimi Hendrix, as above.