Hannah points me to this Independent piece reporting that the BBC's online archival access project is moving into its second trial phase. The uptake is huge — the call for volunteer testers for the trial brought in 45,000 applications. This testifies to the high level of public interest in archival material. Some of this interest, of course, is purely entertainment-based, but BBC isn't just putting popular reruns online.
Unfortunately, BBC is deploying the iPlayer, which is a Microsoft product employing Microsoft's digital rights management technology, and many people are worried that this locks BBC into a proprietary development cycle and closes the BBC's vast assets to people who decline to use Windows. There's a demonstration about this tomorrow, in fact.