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BBC 7

From Academic Kids

BBC 7 is a digital radio station broadcasting comedy, drama, and children's programming 24 hours a day. It is the principal broadcasting outlet for the BBC's vast archive of spoken-word entertainment. Programmes qualify for broadcast on BBC7 if they are either three years old or more, or if they have previously been broadcast twice on their original stations. Even if a programme fulfils these criteria there may be copyright issues that prevent it from appearing on BBC7, as with the 1981 BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

The schedule spans the decades, from 1950s classics like the Goon Show to recent Radio 4 shows like Little Britain. This means it is like a radio form of UKTV Gold, but without commercials. The station aims for a less formal approach than other speech networks. The announcers who link the programmes are promoted as personalities in their own right and are associated with themed blocks of programming.

There is 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 BBC 7 twice a day.

Paul Merton launched the station at 8pm on December 15 2002 in a simulcast with Radio 4. It was originally codenamed Network Z.

The station's license also requires it to carry children's programming, which currently consists of two strands: The Little Toe Radio Show, for under fives, runs for one hour and can currently be heard at (UK time) 07:00 and 15:00 daily, while The Big Toe Radio Show, for older children, runs from 16:00 to 18:00 daily. These programmes, unlike the rest of BBC 7's output, consist almost entirely of original material.

As well as repeats from the main analogue networks, BBC 7 does broadcast some original programming. Spanking New on Seven is a stand up comedy programme, in 2004 they broadcast a competition for new stand up comedians. They also broadcast comedy that has previously been commercially available as cassettes on the Laughing Stock label. They also broadcast two United States series, Garrison Keillor's Radio Show and The Twilight Zone.

BBC 7 can be heard worldwide on the Internet, in Britain, Ireland and parts of France, Belgium and The Netherlands via the Astra 2D satellite, and in the UK on DAB digital radio, cable television, and Freeview digital terrestrial television.

See also: List of BBC radio stations

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