Advanced Notice of BoB Service Downtime 11th -13th June 2018

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) will be unavailable between 11th – 13th June 2018. This is due to a Bob Home Screen server relocation. 

Learning on Screen are working very hard to minimise the impact of this move on BoB service delivery but it will be necessary to switch BoB off for up to 3 days whilst they move the equipment. 

BoB will be switched off on the morning of 11th June 2018 and will be completely unavailable during this time.Programmes broadcast during the down-period will be available retrospectively for most channels. Please note that Off-Airs can be ordered in advance during the down-time via TRILT and can be prioritised during this 3-day period.

If you have any questions about the above please contact or

The specials’ time of year

For some Christmas means one thing: Christmas themed TV specials. Nothing brings people together better watching than sitting around the box watching emergency births, surprise reunions and timely snow falls.

You can research the TV of Christmas past with this selection of excellent TV chosen by library staff.

Christmas crackers

Black Mirror White Christmas [BoB]

“This is such a cool series about technology and society in the future, this one is especially great if you need to get away from the sugar of Christmas !!”

“It twists a dark, compelling, and unsettling story around Christmas and technology”.

Extras Christmas Special

Arrested Development – the Christmas episode ‘Afternoon Delight’ [BoB]

“Whilst not the best ever episode of the show it has the key ingredients of a dysfunctional family, a bad Christmas party, and awkward moments, all put together with the running jokes that the series is famous for”

The Blackadder Christmas Special [BoB]

“It turns Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on its head and it hilarious”.

Knowing Me, Knowing Yule… with Alan Partridge [BoB]

“Love everything about this”

Ab Fab

“I like the Christmas special, the one where Patsy tries a little Turkey”

Peep Show Seasonal Beatings [BoB]

“I love that Peep Show where Mark’s parents come to them and Superhans goes as well.”

Family fun

Thomas and friends Ho Ho Snowman

“A lot going on in this one. Very deep”

Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special [BoB]

“It’s just so nice. At first. Then it’s hilarious”

Morecambe and Wise, Only fools and Horses, Gavin and Stacey

“Just love em!”

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

A festive glitterball competition

Worlds Strongest Man

“Not a Christmas themed show but something we would watch every year as a family”. All them glistening, oily muscles, oh don’t.


Cold cut classics

Royal Family

“No idea if it’s still going  but I’ve always liked their Christmas Specials- mainly because it caters to the humour of both my parents, which makes it an easy one to watch as a family, which is rather lovely.”

It is still going. Recently one of the younger characters announced his engagement.

University Challenge Christmas Specials and Professor Higglespoon [sic], Ab Fab Christmas special, Only Fools and Horses when Del Boy falls down the bar, Year Wipe etc

“Just love ’em”

Morecambe and Wise

“Still find them funny even when they are repeated many times”

The Tractate Middoth [BoB]

“Have wanted to see if for a few Christmasses now but been unable to because my Christmas companions have thought of it, a funny name, but I absolutely love the book. I’m looking forward to getting a big plate of cheese, a well aired Burgundy and watching this one day”.


This year (2017) the Northampton Square Library will be open 27th – 29th December 10 am – 6 PM for self-service and reference only use. Check Library Services website for more information on library opening times.

What’s your favourite Christmas shows? Tell us in the comments below.

Great TV shows for rainy days

Normally the last thing you want to be doing over summer is to be cooped up in inside. You want to be out and about meeting friends and having fun in the sun. But let’s be honest, there’s going to be quite a few rainy days this summer. Quite a few? Okay, a lot.

We asked members of library staff for their favourite TV shows this summer. Some of these are available through Library Services on Box of Broadcasts and our DVD collection.

Ice cone magnifier

Catherine likes The Young Ones  because she says it makes her laugh. It’s also a great introduction to the world of UK higher education.

Better Call Saul “The backstory to Breaking Bad and the Saul Goodman character.  It’s like visiting an old friend.”

The Handmaid’s Tale Alex says “Great acting. Great themes; really thought provoking”.

Grey’s Anatomy A superlative TV show about the lives and loves of a great team of brilliant surgeons; very similar to working in a library but not as high pressured.

The A Team “I like the car chases and the shoot outs, BA Baracus and Templeton Peck and Colonel Hannibal Smith and Howling Mad “HM” Murdock”.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Samantha likes this because “she’s a vampire slayer and there’s monsters and she slays them all and she has stylish yet affordable boots and she has Spike and it’s a perfectly allegory for what life can throw at you and Slayerspeak and everything and we have academic books in the library about Buffy and related Buffy fanfic because she’s awesome and ‘The Body’ [Season 5, Episode 16] is hands down the best episode of any TV show ever to portray grief”.

Catterick One librarian is often caught quoting from this “underrated piece of genius from Vic and Bob. You’ll never say tupperware in the same way again.”

Catie’s been “watching and loving the TV adaptation of The Magicians (based on a book by Lev Grossman) is like Harry Potter for adults”.

Curb your enthusiasm  “It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good”. With a new series on the way, this TV show is hot property at the moment.

House of cards an insight into the world of UK politics. You can draw your own comparisons between this and contemporary politics. You might think that, we couldn’t possibly comment.

In Our Time An absolutely riveting series of shows by one of our greatest TV talents out there: Lord Bragg. “My favourite episodes are The Gin Craze and The Library of Alexandria as these are very librariany type subjects”.

Have we missed anything? What do you like to watch when the rains are falling?

Library Staff Love #6: BoB

When you think of Bob, do you think of:
Bob the Builder (Bob the Builder Balloon by Brian & Jaclyn Drum)


Bob Marley
Bob Marley (via Google Image Search)

Maybe even:

By Anna_Wintour_&_Alexa_Chung.jpg: LGEPR, Cropped by Daniel Case, 2010-06-10 derivative work: Daniel Case (Anna_Wintour_&_Alexa_Chung.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Anna Wintour’s Hair Cut (photo by Daniel Case)


Well, it’s time to think again people.

Because when we talk about Bob, we’re really talking about BoB:

Blackadder II
Blackadder II on Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcasts (or BoB) is a fantastic archive of material recorded off-air allowing you to watch programmes, schedule to record shows and compile playlists of your TV and Radio favourites. You can even create clips to be included in your presentations or teaching sessions, as well as reference clips in your assignments and literature reviews.

As an educational resource only made available to UK higher and further education institutions, BoB opens up a tremendous avenue for research, especially as its scope extends beyond the UK and into several foreign language channels.

BoB features in our collection alongside a range of other brilliant a/v resources, more details of which can found via CityLibrary Search or our marvellous Library Guides.

Alex from our Acquisitions Team is a fan of BoB and wanted to recommend it as a favourite Library resource:

“When I’ve missed something on TV, and it’s too late for iPlayer/catch up, I check to see if it’s on BoB… I was annoyed when I just missed the new series of Happy Valley recently, and then saw that it was on BoB. Great! And I could revisit the first series too if I wanted…”

Obviously, Alex was using BoB as part of his commitment to continual professional development, keeping up to date with key Library resources.