BBC's 70th anniversary celebration includes live broadcast from India

MUMBAI: The 70th anniversary of the BBC World Service includes a three-hour broadcast of live entertainment and performances from musicians in India, Senegal, Great Britain, Afghanistan and Mexico. On Thursday 19 December, the actual birthday, BBC World Service will present the day's programmes live from Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

In Mumbai, the global party celebrations on 15 December, will be led by the well-known Indian musicians Trilok Gurtu and Adnan Sami. The party will be broadcast live from the five venues across the world on Red FM radio channel (India) and the BBC World Service. The acquisition of this programme by Living Media's Red FM channel marks the introduction of a novel concept wherein Indian listeners can be part of a global broadcast.

BBC World Service Director, English Networks and News Phil Harding said: "Seventy years ago a switch was thrown on a new wireless transmitter in Northamptonshire and messages were beamed to Canada, Australia and other parts of the Empire. As part of the 70th anniversary programmes BBC World Service plans an ambitious concert for listeners around the world with live links to five centres," in an official statement.

"It is an example of the way BBC World Service, which now has a global audience of 150 million and an internet presence in 43 languages, continues to stretch itself and to embrace the future," Harding was quoted as saying in the official press release.

Among the major special broadcasts that BBC Worldwide service has scheduled for the week:

a World Service 70th Birthday Lecture delivered by UN secretary general, Kofi Annan;

a World Service Global Party , a special live concert taking place in five countries across four continents;

and a day of special programming on the birthday itself presented from the site of the World Service's first re-broadcast - the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan had delivered a 70th birthday lecture from the United Nations building in New York and answered questions from listeners around the world on 11 December to begin the fortnight of special programmes.

Similar to the one being planned in Mumbai's Oberoi Towers Hotel, another huge party will be hosted at Bush House, London, by DJs John Peel and Emma B. Senegalese superstar Youssou N'dour and Mercury Music award winner Ms Dynamite are slated to perform.

In Dakar, Baaba Maal tops the bill. Afghan musicians will play in Kabul and enable their countrymen to enjoy a musical revival after years of music being banned during the Taliban regime.

In Mexico, the eight-piece semi-acoustic tropi-punk bank, Los de Abajo will perform.

On Thursday 19 December, the actual birthday, BBC World Service will present the day's programmes live from Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Presenters Heather Payton (Outlook) and Ben Malor (Africa Live) will introduce 14 hours of programmes, from dawn to dusk, and read listeners' e-mails.

Once an hour A Day in the Life of the World will highlight people connected to the BBC worldwide, including an engineer who services a transmitter in the mid-Atlantic.

The other highlights in the fortnight of celebration include:

a special edition of Pick of the World;

an extended Newshour with a daily in-depth interview with a key international figure;

and new analysis of significant world events in From Our Own Correspondent by BBC correspondents who covered the stories at the time including Kate Adie, Mark Tully, Brian Barron and Mike Wooldridge.

Listeners' Tales, a series of short vox pops with celebrities and listeners whose lives have been affected by the BBC World Service, will be broadcast throughout December 19.

This is London, throughout the week of Monday 16 December, will examine key moments in the life of the BBC World Service over the last 70 years.

The other programmes will explore the birth of the Empire Service (as the BBC World Service then was); the story of the Arabic Service; the Cold War days; and the BBC World Service since 9/11.

The votes cast by listeners around the world will determine The World's Top 10 records and will be announced by Steve Wright on Saturday 21 December in Wright Round the World.

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