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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 15:54 GMT
BBC7 radio gets launch date
Tony Hancock
Tony Hancock's comedy will be part of BBC7
Classic comedies from The Goons and Tony Hancock will be revived when new digital radio station BBC7 launches on 15 December.

The new network will also feature new comedy, drama, readings from the BBC's archive, and new childrens programmes.

Stand-up comedy from the likes of Jo Brand, Rory Bremner and Sean Hughes will feature alongside dramatisations of novels such as The French Lieutenant's Woman and A Suitable Boy.

Sci-fi fans will also be catered for, with Dr Who and Stephen King's Pet Sematary also featuring in the schedule.

Programmes will be "stripped" like a TV channel, with regular "zones" including the same type of programme.

Jo Brand
Contemporary comics like Jo Brand will also appear
The first night will also be broadcast on Radio 4, and will include spoof chat show Knowing Me Knowing You, Dr Who, Hancock's Happy Christmas and I'm Sorry I Haven't Got A Clue.

The network is the fifth digital station to be launched by the BBC this year, following in the footsteps of Five Live Sports Extra, 6 Music, 1Xtra and the Asian Network.

They can all be heard through digital radio, digital television and online.

BBC7 editor Mary Kalemkerian said: "The underlying theme throughout the schedule is quality. BBC7 offers a treasure trove of treats for people who love good radio."

Digital demand

Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden, who is also in charge of BBC7, added: "I'm tremendously proud of the team that has developed such an exciting, fresh sound and programmed such an innovative schedule."

Children will be catered for seven days a week with the Big Toe strand, featuring two hours of stories, games, gossip, competitions and interviews.

As part of its launch, the station is asking people to vote for who they think is the funniest person they have ever heard. Polling opens on the station's website on Wednesday.

Pure Evoke 1 digital radio
Sold out: Pure Digital is struggling to meet demand for this set
The take-up of digital radio has been slow until recently, although a the launch of a 99 set in July left its manufacturer, Pure Digital, struggling to keep up with demand.

Listeners get a greater choice of stations from the BBC and commercial stations, and an end to the kind of interference that can disrupt FM broadcasts.

The Digital Radio Development Bureau said that before the Pure Digital set was launched, there were approximately 73,000 sets in use around the country.

That figure could now be as high as 85,000, and could even top 100,000 by the end of the year, a spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

Ford has also announced it is to include digital radio tuners in all its cars from next year.


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