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The BBC (or the British Broadcasting Corporation) has an interesting tagline that precisely describes what it does – The BBC “informs, educates and entertains – wherever you are, whatever your age”.
The “˜wherever’ and “˜whatever’ part especially held true for a child growing up in India. My general awareness of the world around me went up a few notches with the help of the BBC World Service held close to my ears. Those were the early days. Of course, it wasn’t so early for the broadcasting network which is one of the oldest and definitely the largest in the world.
The new media arrived and BBC devotees didn’t have to feel deprived as BBC went online with a slew of services. Today, BBC online is just as popular as its radio and television elder siblings. To top all that, it offers a lot of niche content which probably touches every area of our lives.
A few months back we covered BBC Memoryshare. It’s just one of the little gems you can discover on the BBC online universe. Of course, there are lots more. And here is the index which points to most of them – The Complete Directory of BBC Sites.
Ah! You have come back. I thought you were going to stay there for a while. But there are some which you may not find in the A-Z index (though you will get it using the search on top). The list of five below is a spoon scoop from the huge pitcher that’s the world of BBC online.
If you are a chronic traveler, it is impossible that you haven’t heard about Lonely Planet. Business-wise, the BBC is a major partner of the media company that’s branded as Lonely Planet.
Lonely Planet is an important online destination for any offline destination you may be planning to visit. In-depth travel guides with honest reviews culled from travel experts and popular opinion makes this a must read travel reference.
Lonely Planet also brings out travel guides for low-cost travelers and backpackers. There’s a whole lot to discover in the site and what makes it easy is its personable content.
Jeremy Clarkson is a familiar face on the television episodes of Top Gear as he goes vrooming away in the coolest cars. You can get to read columns from him and several others here. Plus, the videos from the TV show too.
But one thing you will surely love to check out is the Games section. There are just three (Amphibious Challenge, Rocket Robin, and Office Drive) at the moment with the promise of more to come.
It’s not all play as we now take a studious turn with Open2net which is an online learning portal from the Open University and the BBC. Open University is UK’s distance learning university.
The TV and Radio program listings might not be relevant for those outside the UK but there’s a whole lot more, from articles to online learning games. Explore the games in Take the Bang Challenges. Interesting videos also add enriching educational value to the Open2net learning portal.
Browse the five main sections – Health & Education, History & The Arts, Money & Management, Science, Technology & Nature, and Society.
BBC Earth has its roots in the landmark Planet Earth TV series that came out in 2006, superbly narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The focal attention on this site is taken up by The Earth Explorer.
The Earth Explorer is an interactive explorer which astonishes you from the word go. To experience the superb play of graphics and video via the seamless Flash interface, you have to pay BBC Earth a visit. To spice all that up, you also get amazing facts about the flora and fauna of our planet.
I didn’t know that lions can count, dolphins can point and chimpanzees can remember the value of Arabic numerals for three years!
Each click on the Earth Explorer will bring you something new.
Of course, living outside the U.K, I can’t try out the television feeds via this service and put in my two bits worth. BBC’s iPlayer for TV is limited to the UK only. But if you are there, you can catch all that’s been happening on radio and television in the past week.
The streaming service works on Windows, Macs, Linux, Nintendo Wii and iPhones, and also certain other.
But the great thing is that I can listen to most of the radio programs without restrictions. As those living outside the U.K are limited to radio programs only, you might want to start off with any of the radio stations listed. There are sixteen channels plus a bevy of local stations.
There are plenty of choices and the slick iPlayer to play them all. The second way is to click on Categories and then pick up one like Music or Sports.
If you love all the content that streams in and you would like to keep it for posterity, check out how Simon managed to Download Audio From BBC’s iPlayer Broadcasts.
When you begin from A and end up on Z of the BBC online site index, you will have made your own set of favorite places to visit. Tell us the ones you like and also let us know which of the above five found a place in your list.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons