The Open University home-learning programmes started in 1969 - and eventually became "The Learning Zone" which was transmitted on BBC2 throughout the night. By then you could either record them - or be a night owl. The lecturers and props were often not of the best presentation quality - but they all gave insights even if you didn't want to study the subject in depth.
They finally stopped re-transmitting them in 2007 - but the Open University logo can still be seen on many of the BBC Four science programmes. The factual content of many of those original programmes are still relevant to their subjects.