BBC 100 in Oldham

This month the BBC celebrates its centenary. We have partnered with the BBC Archives as one of Greater Manchester’s ten archives services to select some interesting local items from the BBC archives.

The first clip we have chosen to share is from a news story that focused the attention of the world onto Oldham. Lesley Brown had been unable to conceive naturally due to a medical condition. She turned to the pioneering work of British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe under whose treatment she conceived via in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Lesley’s final stages of pregnancy were supervised at Oldham Royal Hospital and there was huge press attention on this story of the world’s first ‘test tube baby’. BBC local news were able to cover much of the build up to the birth as this report from 13 July 1978 shows. They also returned to Oldham to celebrate the birth of Louise Brown a few days later. The healthy baby girl was delivered shortly before midnight by on 25 July by caesarean section.

The second clip is also from BBC local news. At this time, in November 1981, the evening bulletin was titled Look North. It features a nostalgic look back for the actor and comedian Eric Sykes as he returned to the Oldham streets of his childhood. His memories include tales of freezing night time visits to the ‘outside privy’ and stories of drawing pictures of daffodils for the annual Beautiful Oldham Society competition. Eric even gets to wander through his old school playground and refer to the children as ‘spotty herberts’. Enjoy!

You can browse and watch much more archive TV online at BBC Rewind. Both of the clips on this page can be found there and there are hundreds more to explore.

To see the selections made by other archives across Greater Manchester then visit the GMStories website. From Whitsun Walks to Chinese New Year, there is a fascinating range of local BBC archive clips to enjoy.