Until the development, popularisation, and domination of television, radio was the broadcast medium upon which people in the United Kingdom relied. It "reached into every home in the land, and simultaneously united the nation, an important factor during the Second World War". The BBC introduced the world's first "high-definition" 405-line television service in 1936, and apart from suspending service throughout World War II until 1946, was the only television broadcaster in the UK until 1955. "The BBC's monopoly was broken in 1955, with the introduction of Independent Television (ITV)", This heralded the transformation of television into a popular and dominant medium. Nevertheless, "throughout the 1950s radio still remained the dominant source of broadcast comedy". Further, the BBC was the only legal radio broadcaster until 1968 (when URY obtained their first licence).
Even since the advent of commercial television and radio, the BBC has remained one of the main elements in British popular culture through its obligation to produce TV and radio programmes for mass audiences. However, the arrival of BBC2 allowed the BBC also to make programmes for minority interests in drama, documentaries, current affairs, entertainment and sport. Examples are cited such as I, Claudius, Civilisation, Tonight, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Doctor Who and Pot Black, but other examples can be given in each of these fields as shown by the BBC's entries in the British Film Institute's 2000 list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. The export of BBC programmes through both services like the BBC World Service and BBC World News, as well as the channels operated by BBC Worldwide mean that BBC productions can now be experienced worldwide.
The term BBC English (Received Pronunciation) refers to the former use of Standard English with this accent. However, the organisation now makes more use of regional accents in order to reflect the diversity of the UK, though clarity and fluency are still expected of presenters. From its "starchy" beginnings, the BBC has also become more inclusive, and now attempts to accommodate the interests of all strata of society and all minorities, because they all pay the licence fee.
Competition from Independent Television, Channel 4, Sky and other broadcast television stations, has lessened the BBC's influence, but such public broadcasting remains a major influence on British popular culture.
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“For a parent, its hard to recognize the significance of your work when youre immersed in the mundane details. Few of us, as we run the bath water or spread the peanut butter on the bread, proclaim proudly, Im making my contribution to the future of the planet. But with the exception of global hunger, few jobs in the world of paychecks and promotions compare in significance to the job of parent.”
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