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What could be more British than the BBC? Along with the NHS (National Health Service), the Royal Family and fish and chips, it is a national institution known the world over – and one of which the British public is justifiably proud.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, also known as 'the Beeb', is the world's oldest and largest public service broadcaster. Headquartered at Broadcasting House in London, it provides ten national TV channels, regional TV programmes, an internet TV service, ten national radio stations, forty local radio stations and a website offering news and information.
In addition, BBC World Service broadcasts news to the world on radio, TV and online in forty languages.
The British Broadcasting Company was established almost a century ago, in 1922. At the time, its founder, John Reith, suggested that King George V make a public broadcast via the new ‘wireless’ service. The King considered radio to be a medium for entertainment and declined. Ten years later, he changed his mind and read the first Royal Christmas Message, inaugurating the Empire Service (now the World Service). Queen Elizabeth II shared her first message in 1952 and has never missed a broadcast.

In 1927, the BBC changed from a company to a corporation, regulated by Royal Charter. The first charter, which ran for ten years, recognised the BBC as an “instrument of education and entertainment”.