When’s the sailing on? Introducing genre schedules…

You might find this helpful – you’ve been able to browse schedules by radio station or TV channel for a while now which is great, but what if you don’t care where the BBC broadcasts your favourite Olympic sport, music genre or SciFi programme?

To help you find programmes, no matter which station or channel they are broadcast on, we’ve started publishing schedules for all our genres (sport, music etc.). These views are being used as part of the BBC’s Olympics coverage – specifically to drive the TV schedule and individual sport pages. But as you might be able to guess a little bit of URL hacking gives you more. All you need to do is add /schedules to the end of any genre aggregation, so for example:

A schedule for your favourite music genre :

What’s happening on the Olympics:

Drama on radio:

Or science and the environment on Radio 4:

And obviously you can get this data both as HTML and as XML, JSON, YAML just by adding .xml .json or .xml to the end of the URL. So the TV coverage for sailing as XML is:


Hope that helps you find your favorite programme.


As Duncan has previously discussed on the BBC’s Radio Lab blog you can also get this data in your Calendar via iCal – just add .../upcoming.ics to the above URL. For example:



11 responses to “When’s the sailing on? Introducing genre schedules…”

  1. Can you get an iCalendar version of these?

  2. @Rob yes you can – sorry I should have pointed out how to do that.

    All you need to do is add /schedules/upcoming.ics to the URL so for example the sailing schedule is:


  3. Any chance of getting the series and episode numbers in there? I’ve been trying to get alerts when new comedy series start on Radio 4 for years, and this is almost perfect.

  4. Actually I just noticed the “series->title” and “episode->position” fields – they should be enough, probably.

  5. Should I be able to get a calendar that just shows the debut of a programme?

    eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006s5dp/episodes/upcoming/debut.ics

    This is currently showing old episodes on BBC7 and repeats of the current series on BBC Radio 4 LW, as well as the new series that is debuting on BBC Radio 4 FM. Just wondered if there was a way to get just new stuff or is this just a bug?


  6. @Dave

    This is really a problem with the data – because we don’t yet have a full schedule history we don’t know/ the application doesn’t ‘know’ that this isn’t a debut (I know the title of the series is Series 53 – but that’s just a piece of text and it’s not modelled as such in the database).

    Sorry it’s a bit misleading – it’s more useful for programmes that are new i.e. those that have started since the start of the data in the database.

  7. @Tom

    Cheers for the reply – I can see the problem the old stuff that is ‘debuting’ since your new system came in, no worries. But shouldn’t the Radio 4 LW repeats of the new series not be showing? Because your system knows that they are playing on FM a few days earlier? Would be grand if it did, but I guess the logic may be difficult/ may not be your top priority!


  8. @Dave

    So we have a concept know as “narrative repeats” – these are repeats that happen within 7 days of the original broadcast.

    The …/debut includes narrative repeats this means that if a ‘new’ programme is broadcast or is repeated within that 7 day window all instances are included.

    Confusing heh? It makes much more sense when your dealing with the TV schedule.

  9. Fair enough – you can guess my feature request though – a “narrative repeat”-free feed! I assume that a decision has been made that they should be included though, so fair enough.

    Send my thanks to all at the BBC for the rapid movement into linked data – it’s looking great in general.

    Thanks again!


  10. […] between them more coherent and consistent. So for example making schedules by format in addition to schedules by genre and generally linking everything up. We’re also going to be adding the missing views – those […]

  11. […] there are now feeds available for all of the BBC programmes/stations in multiple formats, you can subscribe to a calendar of comedy shows on Radio 4, for […]

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