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Examining the ways in which the BBC constructed and disseminated British national identity during the second quarter of the twentieth century, this book focuses in a comprehensive way on how the BBC, through its radio programmes, tried to represent what it meant to be British. It offers a revision of histories of regional broadcasting in Britain that interpret it as a form of cultural imperialism. The regional organisation of the BBC, and the news and creative programming designed specifically for regional listeners, reinforced the cultural and historical distinctiveness of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC anticipated, and perhaps encouraged, the development of the hybrid ‘dual identities’ characteristic of contemporary Britain.

Lez Cooke

4 BBC English Regions Drama BBC English Regions Drama emerged out of the regional reorganisation within the BBC at the beginning of the 1970s (see Chapter 2). The proposals announced in Broadcasting in the Seventies (BBC, 1969) were confirmed in the 1970 BBC Handbook when Director-General Charles Curran described the initiatives the BBC was taking in regional broadcasting, including a major investment in new studios in the Midlands: In non-metropolitan radio and television in England there will be some really radical changes. In television we shall have eight

in A sense of place
The contrasting fortunes of Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh television drama in the 1990s
Steve Blandford

Broadcasting Minister Kim Howells has criticised TV producers in Wales for taking themselves too seriously, claiming it led to a lack of success at network level. The MP for Pontypridd, South Wales, said that Scottish programme makers had achieved more because they were willing to treat their nation and its people in a light-hearted way . . . In an interview for the Royal Television Society’s magazine Television, Dr Howells named the BBC Scotland drama series Monarch of the Glen as one of his favourites. (17 December 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi

in Popular television drama
Nicole M. Jackson

7 Myth of a multicultural England in BBC’s Luther Nicole M. Jackson In his January 2016 speech to Parliament, actor Idris Elba asserted that the ‘British Empire gave birth to the multicultural miracle that is modern Britain’, while noting that the diversity of contemporary Britain is absent from the popular media. Elba discussed the limited roles available to Black actors in the UK, asserting that since ‘I never saw myself or my culture on TV, I stopped watching TV. I decided to just go out and become TV.’ To gain roles ‘I had to transform the way [the] industry

in Adjusting the contrast
Thomas Hajkowski

6 BBC broadcasting in Wales, 1922–53 In 1949, Alun Oldfield-Davies, Controller of the BBC’s station in Wales, declared: “the basic job of the BBC in Wales is to nourish and encourage national unity and to add wealth, depth, and value to all aspects of national life.”1 At first, this seems to be a rather straightforward testament to the role of the BBC in Wales. For Oldfield-Davies, Wales was not a region but a nation, albeit one that lacked a cohesive culture or identity. The BBC, he suggested, could and ought to participate in the process of forming a national

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53
Darrell M. Newton

3658 Paving the empire road:Layout 1 30/6/11 08:45 Page 103 3 Voices of contention and BBC programming You see, the white man is a very funny creature. He likes his change in scenery. He likes his variety in life … Yet the English man, or the white man for that matter, doesn’t want the variety of the human species. He likes to see white only. Pastor Dunn in The Colony (BBC, 1964) As suggested by Rich’s work in Race and Empire, the coming of World War Two sparked a new move toward improved race relations, which coincided with the gradual disintegration of

in Paving the empire road
Thomas Hajkowski

3 The BBC and the making of a multi-national monarchy I n addition to the imperial project, the BBC vigorously promoted the ­monarchy as a symbol of British national identity. Beginning with the first monarchical broadcast in 1924, the BBC slowly but surely convinced the reigning monarch, King George V, to exploit the possibilities of the new medium of radio. Future monarchs would have little choice but to follow George’s lead. The monarchy and the BBC found their relationship mutually beneficial. George V and other royal broadcasters gave radio a legitimacy

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53
Religion, eugenics and war
Ralph Desmarais

12 Governing science on BBC radio in 1930s Britain: religion, eugenics and war Ralph Desmarais During the 1930s, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired hundreds of science-related radio talks in its evening programming schedule, most delivered by renowned scientists and scientific popularisers. In both authorship and content, these BBC scripted talks often overlapped with the wide range of non-specialist popular science books whose published titles had proliferated over the preceding decades to meet the British adult public’s increasing demand for

in Scientific governance in Britain, 1914–79
Joseph Oldham

4 Conspiracy as a crisis of procedure in Bird of Prey (BBC 1, 1982) and Edge of Darkness (BBC 2, 1985) At the turn of the 1980s an episode of The Sandbaggers, 2.5 ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ (15 February 1980), centred on an unusual topic for a British spy series, that of political assassination in the USA. Following the killing of a prominent left-wing senator, the Head of the CIA’s London Office Jeff Ross (Bob Sherman) is shown expounding his theory to Neil Burnside that the FBI was responsible, not only for this but also for the assassination of progressive

in Paranoid visions
Ester Lo Biundo

The analysis of the radio transcripts in Chapters 5 and 6 has confirmed that the BBC played an ambiguous role in Italy. In order to win the war, it was crucial to demonstrate that the Allied coalition was a superior military force. As the BBC often repeated, the Allies would not treat the Italians as enemies if they got rid of fascism and the Nazi occupiers. However, they could also bomb their cities. This implied that the BBC, as we have seen, manipulated the truth during key moments of the conflict, such as El Alamein, and the

in London calling Italy