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  1. Stefan Collini on the 40 year history of Radio 4 | Books | The Guardian
  2. Broadcast: News items
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David was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in In he was awarded the James W. He's also held two Leverhulme Research Fellowships. He also supervises several PhD students and would be particularly interested in hearing from applicants with an interest in broadcasting history. Home Staff search David Hendy.


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Hendy sussex. Radio coverage of the tour emphasised the spectacular and the exotic. The great radio producer, D. Few would question the powerful unifying influence of the British monarchy but I did wonder if Hajkowski overstated this and missed the divisiveness felt by some at this archaic institution. Royal weddings may indeed provide a powerful sense of inclusiveness but can just as easily alienate the minority. It is in the account given of regional broadcasting that Hajkowski is at his most pugnacious.

The British Broadcasting Company precursor to the corporation launched in consisted of a number of local stations nine by with 2LO in London providing additional metropolitan-based output. By the early s the local services had been replaced by five regional services and the National Programme transmitted from the high-power transmitter at Daventry.

Stefan Collini on the 40 year history of Radio 4 | Books | The Guardian

At the beginning of the war the regional services were suspended and the Home Service was launched as a centralised national station. This is where Hajkowski detects some errors in the available histories. It was true that the regions were suspended during the war but that did not stop programme production, only regional transmission. Furthermore the Home Service carried regional content, for example in the programme In Britain Now , a popular magazine made by the West region. For the BBC national British identity was something inherently diverse; it incorporated not only the nations of the United Kingdom but also different regional identities the West, Midlands and North.

Once again the argument is a compelling one with impressive programme detail. Similarly, the chapter which follows on Wales presents a good news story about the diversity and effectiveness of regional programming. There is a very useful examination of Welsh radio drama including The Proud Valley and the more famous How Green Was My Valley , both of which were very successful adaptations from the screen originals.

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The importance of the Welsh language is clearly shown; in 60 per cent of BBC Wales spoken word output was in Welsh and there can be little doubt that the BBC played an important part in the preservation of the language. After initial reluctance to allow the more extreme forms of unionism a voice the BBC position changed after the war, for example by acknowledging the 12th of July celebrations which commemorated the great Protestant victory at the Battle of the Boyne. An early attempt to make a radio feature about Carson in were rejected as was a further attempt in Pressure for these programmes came from within BBC Northern Ireland and reflected the grip that unionism had on the corporation.

There can be little doubt that this will be a very influential and I do hope widely read book on early broadcasting.

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Inevitably there are omissions which are worth mentioning but which probably do not make this a significantly lesser contribution. Other scholars have noted the important contribution of women to the early BBC and the lack of Hilda Matheson, Mary Somerville, Janet Quigley, Olive Shapley and others created a rather overly masculine version of the corporation. At the heart of his reassessment of, for example, Welsh broadcasting is the assertion that the relentless focus on Welsh scenery, Welsh folk song, language, dress, poetry and so on is evidence of more than just a caricature.

I wonder, however, if there might be something naive in that enthusiastic response? He has shown convincingly how the BBC stereotyped and patronised Zulu dancers in South Africa and other subjugated peoples of the empire but cannot the same be said of BBC representations of the singing Welsh, the brave Scots and the plucky Irish?

BBC Radio Drama - The Power of Life and Death by Mark Lawson

The grander statement that the BBC was the central site for the production of national identity is cogently argued but I wonder if a book which only considers broadcasting can make such a claim? Other institutions and events played their part and these would need at least acknowledgement before asserting the centrality of radio.

These criticisms aside there can be little doubt that the small but growing band of broadcasting historians will welcome this important book. Thomas Hajkowski has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the interplay between programming and the broader theme of nation building. His long hours in the archives have produced a book which will surely feature on cultural history reading lists for a very long time. Skip to main content.