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The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.

The creative tension

The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. The Post Office was anxious to avoid what it saw as the chaos of unregulated broadcasting in the United States and was concerned with the function of broadcasting as a public utility. But it had no philosophy

in Cinema and radio in Britain and America, 1920–60
The BBC and national identity in Scotland

to the “New British Broadcasting Service,” which carried Lord Haw-Haw, the Germans established Radio ­Caledonia, which transmitted propaganda specifically for Scottish l­ isteners and called for a separate peace between Germany and Scotland.104 Gildard, who took over for Stewart as Scottish Programme Director, suggested that they get a Glasgow shop steward to broadcast against Haw-Haw.105 In addition to HawHaw and Radio Caledonia, BBC Scotland became concerned about programs broadcast from Eire, which declared its neutrality in September and was determined to sit

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53