The episode of Imagine… about the history of television is now due in week 50.
There you go, that tells you everything. Waddya mean, you don’t know from BBC week numbers? Have you got a second for a quick story? The BBC numbers weeks so that instead of planning for November 21, you can say Tuesday of week 47. Fine. Makes a lot of sense if you’re a TV or radio producer making, I don’t know, a six-parter: you can say it’s on weeks 10-15 or whatever. And it helps at Radio Times too.
Oooh, want to know a secret? Next time you see an issue of Radio Times, look at the barcode on the front. In the top corner there’ll be a two-digit number: it’s the BBC week number. You can’t believe how handy that is.
And I know I keep calling it a BBC week number when you’re thinking it’s a week, it’s numbered, it’s not a BBC invention. But just sometimes, it is. Week 1 is the first week of the year, right? What do you do if the first complete Saturday-Friday week begins on January 4th? I can’t remember the dates now but a couple of years ago when I was still doing TV reviews for BBC Ceefax, we had the situation where the BBC made one decision about what week 1 was, and the rest of the TV industry went the other. For an entire year I was lost: when they said a tape was for week 38, did they mean my week 38?
Er, that wasn’t the story. The story was this. BBC week numbers go from January to December. But my wife Angela works for the Health and Safety Executive and they also number their weeks.
From May to April.
After the first major holiday scheduling disaster, we’ve abandoned week numbers in my house.
PS. Week 50 is about three weeks away, we are in 47 now. Currently it looks like Imagine… TV Pioneers will be on BBC2 at 22:35 on Tuesday 12 December but it’s still subject to change.