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.
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.
This article explores the serial dynamics behind and within the succession of B-films
Columbia Pictures developed from the popular CBS radio programme The Whistler. It
examines how this anthology series developed within Columbias on going strategy of
low-budget production, while responding to specfiic industrial challenges facing
1940s B-films. Besides looking at broader synergies between radio and cinema during
this period, the article also qualies the tendency to categorise the Whistler movies
as films noir, suggesting it is more productive to view them as products of a broader
pulp serialscape that is shaped by alternative cultural and industrial logics.
family, the world of public affairs’.22
However, the French army, as well as Franz Fanon and the FLN,
were quite right to see radio as the most powerful instrument for reaching out to an illiterate audience that was isolated and scattered over a
huge and difficult terrain. But before examining the content of the radioprogrammes that were specifically designed for women, we take a look
at the propaganda use of film which provided another powerful, visual
means for reaching an uneducated audience: as General Jacquier noted
in November1960, ‘The film is, along with the
quite incredibly, The Smiths. When invited on the long-running BBC radioprogramme Desert Island Discs, Cameron selected ‘This Charming Man’ as
one of his indispensable recordings.35 This interest has been underlined by the
Conservative leader’s well-publicised visits to Salford Lads Club, the principal
place of homage for fans of The Smiths.36 On one such occasion, Cameron
returned surreptitiously to avoid a repeat of previous protests against his
presence by local Labour activists, and recreated Stephen Wright’s famous
photograph of the group outside the building
useless as a consultant’; Sempill was
‘flashy’; Chamier, the Secretary-General of the Air
League, was ‘intelligent and honest’ but a disappointing
broadcaster. 71 For its next feature on Empire and aviation
the BBC tuned in to other voices.
Empire air transport reappeared on the National
Service in 1938 as part of a series of four radioprogrammes
Comedy was consistently the most popular
genre of radioprogramme. In a 1946 US survey, 59% of respondents listed comedy as
their favourite form of programme. 1 This is perhaps not surprising, given the background first of
economic depression and later world war. People wanted to be cheered up. But radio
imposed certain restrictions on comedy. Visual comedy such as slapstick was
impossible. Comedy needed to be predominantly verbal and radio was the home of
During the 1930s, in fulfilment of its adult education obligations as a public service monopoly organisation, the fledgling British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired more than a hundred domestic radio programmes which addressed the relations of science and society. This chapter examines governance challenges confronting the Corporation in these ambitious programmes, with a focus on three controversial science-related topics of particular salience to this turbulent decade: religion, eugenics and war. Having elected to disseminate the diverse, contentious, and often conflicting views held by the scientific community on these crucial issues, the BBC encountered a succession of difficulties arising from varied political stances amongst its speakers, other scientists, and its own staff alike. Nonetheless, through an array of effective governance mechanisms, the BBC helped to sustain modern science’s widely-accepted high stature, and uphold scientists’ reputation as leading contributors to Britain’s public good.
This book recounts the little-known history of the mixed-race children born to
black American servicemen and white British women during the Second World War.
Of the three million American soldiers stationed in Britain from 1942 to 1945,
about 8 per cent (240,000) were African-American; the latter’s relationships
with British women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2,000 babies. The
African-American press named these children ‘brown babies’; the British called
them ‘half-castes’. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry
their white girlfriends. Up to half of the mothers of these babies, faced with
the stigma of illegitimacy and a mixed-race child, gave their children up for
adoption. The outcome for these children tended to be long-term residency in
children’s homes, sometimes followed by fostering and occasionally adoption, but
adoption societies frequently would not take on ‘coloured’ children, who were
thought to be ‘too hard to place’. There has been minimal study of these
children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white
Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. Accessibly written and illustrated
with numerous photographs, this book presents the stories of over forty of these
children. While some of the accounts of early childhood are heart-breaking,
there are also many uplifting narratives of finding American fathers and gaining
a sense of self and of heritage.
Fifty years ago Enoch Powell made national headlines with his 'Rivers of Blood' speech, warning of an immigrant invasion in the once respectable streets of Wolverhampton. This local fixation brought the Black Country town into the national spotlight, yet Powell's unstable relationship with Wolverhampton has since been overlooked. Drawing from oral history and archival material, this book offers a rich local history through which to investigate the speech, bringing to life the racialised dynamics of space during a critical moment in British history. What was going on beneath the surface in Wolverhampton and how did Powell's constituents respond to this dramatic moment? The research traces the ways in which Powell's words reinvented the town and uncovers highly contested local responses. While Powell left Wolverhampton in 1974, the book returns to the city to explore the collective memories of the speech that continue to reverberate. In a contemporary period of new crisis and division, examining the shadow of Powell allows us to reflect on racism and resistance from 1968 to the present day.