A Happy New Year and Good Morning (lost 2LO and 2ZY coverage of New Year celebrations; 1922-1923)

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2ZY logo.

Status: Lost

A Happy New Year and Good Morning refers to coverage from BBC radio station 2ZY, which celebrated the beginning of 1923. It is one of the earliest-known broadcasts dedicated to New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, alongside a smaller-scale 2LO broadcast.


2ZY's origins dated back to 15th May 1922 when Metropolitan-Vickers (Metrovick) started conducting experimental broadcasts from a studio situated within its Metropolitan Vickers’ Research Department in Old Trafford.[1][2] At the time, Metrovick was one of the six biggest radio manufacturers in the country, the others being Marconi, the General Electric Company, the Radio Communication Company, the Western Electric Company, and the British Thomson Houston Company.[3][1][2] Later that same month, the six companies agreed that radio broadcasting within the United Kingdom would be best-suited under the operations of a joint venture.[1][3][2] Thus, it led to the creation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in October 1922, with it received £100,000 in financial backing, £10,000 each provided by the big six.[3][1][2] As a result, 2ZY was transferred under the BBC's control, although broadcasts would still emerge from Metropolitan Vickers’ Research Department.[1][2] On 15th November, the first public broadcasts emerged.[2][1][3] Later, 2ZY would broadcast Kiddies Corner, the first UK program dedicated to children.[1][2] 2LO meanwhile was officially airing coverage from 20th July 1922, having started experimental programming on 11th May that same year.[4][1][2]

Radio was in its infancy in Britain, with Marconi launching the first regular broadcast radio station 2MT on 14th February 1922.[4][2] Thus, no official celebrations of the New Year are known to have occurred on British radio until 1922 changed to 1923. While Radio Times had yet to start operations and thus could not list radio broadcasts during this time period, research from BBC Genome indicates that two radio stations had somewhat provided coverage celebrating the New Year.[5][6][7] 2LO notably had Kenneth Ellis play "Auld Lang Syne" on the bass.[5] Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish song connected to a poem Robert Burns wrote in 1788, being published posthumously in 1796.[8] According to Burns, he had taken the words "from an old man's singing", this individual ultimately being lost to time.[8] Since then, the song has traditionally been used in New Year celebrations, despite the song having no direct references to changing of the year.[8] Aside from this, 2LO had Ellis play "Oh God our holy in ages past" on the bass, the bagpipes were played by Richard Marshall, while L. Stanton Jefferies finished off the broadcast with a piano solo.[5]

2ZY's coverage was more extensive. Starting from 22:15, it would broadcast a variety of gramophone records from Sir Harry Lauder.[6] This included "A Wee Deoch An' Doris", "Bonnie Maggie Tamson", "The Last Rose of Summer", and "I’m going to get wed in the Summer", with Marche Funebre playing the piano.[6] Four minutes after the New Year arose, 2ZY broadcast a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne", with an apparent three cheers being given to the "Listeners-in" who were still eagerly present for the broadcast.[6] A rendition of the national anthem was played two minutes later, before a segment titled "A Happy New Year and Good Morning" was aired.[6] Not much is known about the final broadcast, although it would naturally be fair to assume it consisted of an announcer wishing viewers a successful 1923 starting from that point onwards. New Year celebrations would become more extensive over the years, especially as television arose. One of the earliest known BBC Television Service broadcasts dedicated to New Year celebrations occurred as 1946 changed to 1947.[9] A century following A Happy New Year and Good Morning, the BBC along with other major UK channels provided significant coverage from both its radio and television platforms celebrating the beginning of 2023.[10]


Ultimately, the broadcasts occurred when radio recordings seldom occurred.[11] In fact, research from Elizabeth McLeod as part of Documenting Early Radio found that no authenticated recordings from 1920 to 1922 are known to have survived.[11] The oldest, as also affirmed by the National Archives, is President Woodrow Wilson's Armistice Day Speech in 1923.[12][11] Thus, the New Year celebration broadcasts are most likely permanently missing.