As the BBC celebrates reaching 100 years, its once imperious position is being challenged on many fronts. Part celebration and part looking forward, BBC @ 100 is a moment to reflect on the impact of one of the country’s greatest institutions. 

James Stirling and Robert Seatter discuss the centenary plans, take us through some of the BBC’s key moments in history and set the scene for the BBC going forward.

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About The Speakers

Headshot of Robert Seatter

Robert Seatter

Robert Seatter has been Head of BBC History since 2008, telling the story of the BBC at the heart of the nation and as a global broadcaster. Robert is leading on all aspects of BBC History’s celebrations of the BBC centenary. 

More broadly Robert’s work includes orchestration of major anniversary seasons; cultural partnerships with museums; in-depth academic collaborations; and wider interpretation of BBC history in our BBC buildings. 

Recent projects have ranged diversely across the history of BBC Children’s broadcasting, an examination of fan culture around the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who; 80 years of Wimbledon Tennis, and the first ever exhibition examining the role of the war correspondent, done in collaboration with the Imperial war Museum.  

Previously Robert worked in BBC World Service and BBC Education, following earlier careers in publishing and teaching. He is also a published poet and Chair of the Poetry Archive. 

Headshot of James Stirling

James Stirling

As Executive Editor BBC 100, James is responsible for the planning and delivery of the BBC’s Centenary in 2022. He is overseeing a year-long programme of outstanding moments and extraordinary content. BBC 100 launched in January 2022 and is connecting the BBC with audiences globally. 

As Head of BBC Music, James was responsible for BBC Music content across all platforms, including Glastonbury Festival and the BBC’s flagship emerging talent platform, BBC Introducing. 

 James’s other roles have included Head of BBC Radio 6 Music and Executive Producer for Europe’s most popular radio station BBC Radio 2 and for a spell at the ABC in Sydney. He is a Trustee of Peer Productions, a charity aiming to transform the lives of teenagers through theatre.

About The Chair

Professor Diane Kemp

Diane Kemp is Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Birmingham City University (BCU) and Director of the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, based at BCU. The Centre is an independent body drawing on the work and experience of media professionals and academics to track the progress of media diversity in the UK. It launched in March 2020 and has published reports on the use of B.A.M.E terminology, the lack of diversity in TV sound professionals, and stereotyping in casting for drama, amongst many others.

Diane was deputy chair of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, which sets standards for journalism education in universities, for 8 years. Before she came into academia she was a broadcaster and reporter for BBC TV, having also worked for BBC and commercial radio at the start of her career.