17 thoughts on “Ladies and gentlemen I give you BBC Programmes

  1. Nice. Although how does this work alongside the existing ‘Programme Information Pages’ work that was done for the Radio 3 site?

    I found a duplicate, for instance:


    Same programme, but two URLs, and only one page has extended playlist info, plus a title…

    Still, removing the programme / channel ‘brand’ is definitely a good move, and was one of my criticisms of the the initial PIP project: http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2004/06/developing_a_url_structure_for_broadcast_radio_sites/#comment-3898

    Can you post some more information about how the data is managed and kept up to date internally? Can you cope with last minute schedule changes? How do you tell if two programmes are the same or not?

    Well done though – great work!


  2. Ooh, I like it. It seems to have a bit of a nicer interface than the Programme Catalogue beta too; but it does mean that for some programmes there are now three information pages, with different unique identifiers.

    Taking Frankie’s Night Waves example, the episode of the 15th October can be found at:

    This is, I’m sure, something which will iron itself out in time!

  3. To give you some more feedback (there doesn’t seem to be a feedback mechanism on the site itself), the way that BBC One is split into lots of regional channels has some weird effects. Whilst it’s obviously useful and important where there are regional variations, when all the regions are broadcasting the same thing, you just get a long list of duplicates.

    eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0082jcm :

    “All broadcasts:

    1. Newsround: 19/10/2007 BBC One Cambridgeshire: 17:25-17:35, Friday, 19 October 2007
    2. Newsround: 19/10/2007 BBC One Channel Islands: 17:25-17:35, Friday, 19 October 2007

    17. Newsround: 19/10/2007 BBC One West Midlands: 17:25-17:35, Friday, 19 October 2007
    18. Newsround: 19/10/2007 BBC One Yorkshire: 17:25-17:35, Friday, 19 October 2007”

    In terms of views, I’m definitely missing a ‘schedule’ view. A search function would be good too.

  4. A few points on some of the above (from another on the inside)…

    Frankie/Martin, yes we do have 3-4 other pages for some episodes which are a result of the previous, not wholly joined up, efforts to get the various bits of programme data out there. This is clearly not ideal but, with lessons learned, over time, we hope /programmes will be the logical place for this to be ironed out.

    Frankie, the regional broadcasts for BBC One have been a little tricky for us mostly because the simple relationships we’d expect in the data between these regions isn’t always there. this messiness manifests itself no more prominently than on one of my favourite url’s:


    oh, and, incidentally, the more permanent:


    …loads of data source issues there, beyond the teams immediate control, but all to be sorted and tidied up over time.

    Frankie, regarding the schedule views, in a way, the ‘films’ links above are pan-bbc schedules… but if it’s the channel/station schedules you’re after then, as Tom points out, watch this space, URL’s are on the way…

  5. Lovely stuff. It’s great to see solid, dependable addresses for programmes.

    As Frankie Roberto says above, there are some oddities when the same content goes out via several different routes. I’m sure the way things are displayed will improve with time, but the search results for a particular programme are quite odd. The links are brilliant, all pointing to the same place, but with many entries in the search results.

    e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj9z mostly has two entries (linking to the same place) for each programme, one for FM and one for LW. It looks right on the 22nd October, where there’s one entry.

    All the best sorting out these quirks, I’m sure this will be a valuable resource for many of us for years to come.

  6. Yeah the data, as Phil points out on his blog, is a bit ropey in places – but this is something that should improve. As for the duplicate URLs that Martin and Frankie point out – this is a problem and certainly for Radio 3 we’ll be fixing that soonish.

    Despite the problems with the data I’m really proud to have helped bring this project to fruition (and yes James – on time); although all the really hard work was done by others. I think what’s great is that we’ve now got the data and the technology in place to allow us to build, what I hope will be, some really useful, engaging interactive products.

    Frankie – the data is entered as TV-Anytime and stored in a database known as PIPs (which is also used by iPlayer). We have a Ruby on Rails application to allow the data to be managed. On the front end we have our own Perl MVC framework that allows us to dynamically publish the pages.

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