Radio, race, and the Television Service
in Paving the empire road
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This chapter examines how BBC radio and its practices created possibilities for the recognition of African-Caribbean voices, as they discussed life in England years before the arrival of Windrush, and just before television re-emerged as a cultural force. It also examines how programmes created for West Indian audiences changed foci, and began to offer varied, personal perspectives on life for African-Caribbean immigrants. It outlines the influence of radio upon the BBC Television Service, management directives and pre-war programming. Beginning in 1939, the programme Calling the West Indies featured West Indians troops on active service reading letters on air to their families back home in the Islands. The programme later became Caribbean Voices (1943–58) and highlighted West Indian writers who read and discussed literary works on the World Service. These programmes offered rare opportunities for West Indians to discuss their perspectives on life among white Britons and subsequent social issues.

Paving the empire road

BBC television and Black Britons

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