Poetry - Transmission Report

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has written a new poem, Transmission Report, to mark 100 years of the BBC. Watch the recorded performance from The One Show ...

Press Release

The poem, below, was performed by Simon on The One Show (which has rebranded The One Hundred Show this week), along with Jodie Whittaker, Professor Brian Cox, Carol Kirkwood, Clara Amfo, Jay Blades, Huw Edwards, Ralf Little, Craig Revel Horwood, Romesh Ranganathan, Fiona Bruce, Adrian Dunbar, Michelle Visage and stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK Krystal Versace, Ella Vaday and Kitty Scott-Claus, Ross Kemp, Chris Packham, Clive Myrie, Sir Michael Palin, Liz Bonnin, Alex Scott, Ade Adepitan, Zoe Ball, and Dame Mary Berry accompanied by composer Patrick Pearson and The BBC’s Concert Orchestra.

The poem is now set to be displayed on a floor to ceiling panel in the reception of BBC Broadcasting House, London, from this week until the end of the year.

Transmission Report

It’s the year two thousand and twenty two

on planet Earth, apparently, and I’m careering

through time and space, careening

between galaxies, scanning the frequencies.

The weather is mostly cosmic drizzle,

and the media mostly celestial drivel,

but for a century now I’ve picked up a station

called ‘the BBC’. And despite occasional


have experienced

deep vibrations

in my brain cells, tear ducts and funny bones.

As a bonus,

it annoys the hell out of tyrants and moguls.

But what is it, this BBC, this corporation

with nothing to flog, this soul of the nation?

If there’s some world order it’s trying to favour

then it’s a complete failure:

just recently I learnt all there is to know

about the sex life

of the natterjack toad,

then witnessed war,

then considered the meaning of meaning of life,

then deep-dived beneath Antarctic ice.

Then watched a pride of lionesses

make a football stadium’s grassy plain

its natural terrain.

Above gridlocked airwaves

and channels jammed with cross-talk and static

I set my clock and steer

by a signal that pulses keen and measured and


Poem written by Simon Armitage

Image and video - Simon Armitage / The One Show.
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