The British Broadcasting Corporation, invariably known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, employing 26,000 staff in the UK alone and with a budget of £4 billion.

Founded in 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd, it was subsequently incorporated and made a state-owned but independent corporation in 1927. The corporation produces programmes and information services, broadcasting on television, radio, and the Internet. The stated mission of the BBC is “to inform, educate and entertain”, and the motto of the BBC is Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation.

The BBC is a quasi-autonomous Public Corporation operating as a public service broadcaster. The Corporation is currently run by a board of governors appointed by The Queen on the advice of government ministers; however, the BBC is, per its charter, to be “free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners”.

Its domestic programming and broadcasts are primarily funded by levying television licence fees (under the Wireless & Telegraphy Act 1947), although there is also money raised through commercial activities such as sale of merchandise and programming. The BBC World Service, however, is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In order to justify the licence fee the BBC is expected to produce a number of high-rating shows in addition to programmes that commercial broadcasters would not normally broadcast.

Quite often domestic audiences have affectionately referred to the BBC as the Beeb, (coined by Kenny Everett) or as Auntie; the latter said to originate in the somewhat old fashioned Auntie knows best attitude dating back to the early days when John Reith was in charge. Occasionally the terms are used together as Auntie Beeb.

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