A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1935.

If there is a gap in todays offerings it's a link to BBC: The Voice of Britain from 1935, directed by Stuart Legg for the GPO Film Unit.  As BFI's old Screenonline website explains, this was "the most expensive documentary to have been made costing more than £7000 and it was probably the first GPO film to use synchronised sound. The impressionistic approach did not go down well with many contemporary critics, who were disappointed at the lack of detail about how the BBC really worked."

Nonetheless it has proved popular over the years but doesn't seem to be available to stream anywhere online, even at the BFI Player.  The BBC Archive's Facebook page hosts the odd clip like this assessment of the microphone by George Bernard Shaw, but that's about it.  But it is available on DVD as part of The General Post Office Film Unit Collection: Volume 1 - Addressing The Nation.  Hopefully at some point the BFI will compile their range of films pertaining to the BBC into a single collection.


Dinner is Served: Market cheapjacks
Thu 17th Oct 1935, 21:00 on National Programme Daventry
"A Sound Picture of the Nation's Food Services.
This feature programme aims at giving vivid pictures in sound of the organisation of the national food supply. The story is told by some of the men who do the work ... farmers, fishermen ... market porters, salesmen, and buyers, against a background of its natural sounds."
[London Sound Survey][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"Grace Wyndham Goldie, television producer and one of the few women executives of her era at the BBC, is commemorated with a blue plaque at St Mary Abbot’s Court, Warwick Gardens, Kensington, where she lived in Flat 86 from 1935. Having early understood the potential of television, she was a powerful influence in bringing politics and current affairs to the small screen, and in giving a critical edge to this coverage."
[English Heritage]

"Plans for construction of the BBC Studios at Alexandra Palace. The First Floor and tower plans show the distribution of space between the Baird and Marconi-EMI systems. The Baird required more space for the three separate elements needed for the electro-mechanical process."
[Alexandra Palace]

"Gen. view of British Broadcasting House and pan. up Broadcasting House. Semi cu. B.B.C. announcer walks to mike. Long view of family listening in radio room. Semi view of policeman walking outside house and cu. of policeman listening outside house. BBC announcer saying "Here are some more election results"

"King George V's Christmas Speech.  He thanks the people for celebrations to mark his 25th silver jubilee, he sends Christmas wishes from Royal Family to all his subjects."

"It is unfortunate that there exists no authoritative account of the dialects of Northern Ireland on the fines of the excellent reference books used in the compilation of the Scottish and Welsh place-name booklets."

"The year has been one of further progress and expansion."

"An altogether novel instrument for creating unity of thought and emotion during the year to the searching unity of thought and emotion between scattered individuals has been evolved by broadcasting. Never before in history has it been possible to appeal simultaneously and orally to people divided in space and in mood and unaffected by the influences of crowd psychology."
[World Radio History]

This Blog in 2022.

About  Inspired by John at Dirty Feed, here's a look back at some of my favourite posts of the year on this blog.

An Editor's Burial: Journals and Journalism from The New Yorker and Other Magazines.
In which I made turned an anthology into a link list to save you from having to buy it.  I've had mixed emotions about The New Yorker since reading this book after the treatment of Evin Overbey and thinking about how some of the biographical essays and the behaviour of past editors could be viewed through a different lens.

The big kahuna, the one post which went massively viral this year thanks to being tweeted and retweeted by In Our Time's own Twitter feed and some of its contributors.  It was a beast to prepare but absolutely worthwhile given how useful its been to people.  Someone I know even has it bookmarked on their phone so they can use it when they're walking about and looking for something in their field to listen to.  Which reminds me that I need to do an update soon.

The title of the blog became even more ironic than ever this year as most of the bigger posts were lists.  This was a way of accessing a number of BBC programmes about Doctor Who as listed in the parish circular that month by Eddie Robson.

Speaking of lists, here's one which didn't really work.  Putting all of the Trek stories set before Discovery into chronological order seemed like a nice idea in theory, before you realise that so many of them are set in alternate realities, dream sequences or are subsequently wiped out after the timeline's been fixed.  Which is why I haven't included the second season of Picard.  That one is *complicated*.

By far the most popular post on the blog is the Doctor Who viewing order, bringing in a couple of hundred googlers per day when the series is on television.  So I thought I'd play to the gallery and do the same for Star Wars.  No one noticed.

I'll be returning to this in the new year once I've caught up on the BBC 100 posts.  Getting to touch the pages just as they'd emerged from Jaggard's print shop was one of the most spectacular moments of my young life.

After the success of the In Our Time post, I wanted to do something with one of the BBC's other large archives and settled on Cooke's life's work.  Again, no one noticed.

These were arguably three of the main exhibitions to visit Liverpool this year (I'm yet to see the fourth, The Turner Prize at Tate) and I went to town on all of them although it's pretty obvious which I was most comfortable writing about.  The opening line of the Doctor Who review has just made me guffaw.  Speaking of which ...

Having long abandoned even attempting to review the Chris Chibnall era of Doctor Who after finding myself repeatedly noting the same, some would say choices, others would say faults, I knew there'd still need to be words written about Jodie's swansong and right up until transmission, I had no clue what the angle would be.  Then, fortunately, Paul McGann made a cameo.

One of the few posts reacting to current affairs.  In the month's since I've become less and less interested in the current crop of working royalty, especially after the Harry & Meghan Netflix series and the King's first Christmas address in which he congratulated poor people for helping out other poor people while he's decreed that his coronation should be a full budget affair with every pomp and lashings of circumstance.

Twice this year I wrote similar posts (!) trying to explain how I perceive fictional multiverses are nestled together and this was the second, slightly more coherent attempt in the wake of Doctor Strange 2.  We'll see what happens after the next Spiderverse films are released.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1934.

The Christmas Number of The Radio Times in 1934 features the three wise men on the cover.  Inside we find something more akin to The New Yorker than a modern listings magazine, with short stories, columns about various aspects of the festive season by long forgotten literary voices and an especially grim cartoon about a young man receiving a radio as a Christmas present and then spending the rest of his life in bed listening to it with the final panel showing his grave with the apparatus still playing nearby.  Reader, I feel seen.

The Christmas Day schedule on the National Programme favours light classical music for much of the day with Ireland, Sullivan, Kern and Eric Coates the standouts by various orchestras.  Before the King's Message (participants above) is the usual Empire Exchange "a programme of greetings and sound-pictures depicting Christmas in all parts of the British commonwealth" (a running order for which also appears in the magazine).

Prime time, from 7:30 to 9:30 offers A Radio Christmas Party during which we're promised "comedians, dance music, ghost stories, chorus songs, charades and musical games, all kinds of happy-go-lucky entertainment" which sounds smashing but is thin on detail.  The night closes at 11-12 with Dance Music from Billy Cotton and his band with the Pips at 11:30.

This was also the year of Death at Broadcasting House, the early Ealing drama about a death at Broadcasting House based on the novel by Val Gielgud and Eric Maschwitz.  It's available from Network on Air for a very reasonable £6.  


Sat 15th Sep 1934, 21:15 on Regional Programme London
"An Excursion in Sound to the Hop Gardens of Kent."
In connection with this programme, read the article by Pat Forrest on page 616.
[London Sound Survey][BBC Programme Index]

"Mr. Oaten will, at the end of his talk, answer questions put to him by an 'Enquiring Layman'."
[The Leslie Flint Trust][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"The building and launch of a new long-wave radio transmitter - just as the TV age is about to be born."
The transmitter opened on the 6th September 1934.

"Exterior views of BBC Broadcasting House. Closer shot of roof area showing radio masts. More shots of exterior showing different sides of the building. Closer shot of the statue above the doorway. Shots of reliefs and carving on exterior walls."

"Recording studios, converted by the BBC in 1934-1935 from a roller skating rink, built 1909-1910 to the designs of Lionel G Detmar and Theodore Gregg."
[Historic England]

"From 1931 to 1935, the BBC used this streamlined condenser microphone known as "the bomb", which employed a Western Electric or STC capsule but had a BBC pre-amplifier."
[Science Museum]

"Lord Ponsonby pleads for the preservation of accents but says cultivating one is the most objectionable form of speech that exists."
[The Guardian]

"Originally published on 29 December 1934: Words, according to the French cynic, were given us in order that we might conceal our thoughts – but also, perhaps, in order that we might discuss the B.B.C."
[The Guardian]

"THE first B.B.C. was formed on October 18, 1922, and received its licence on January 18, 1923. It represented a joint effort on the part of three hundred wireless manu- facturers and shareholders. Lord Gainford, a former Postmaster -General, was the first Chairman, and the other members of the Board represented the principal wireless manufacturers concerned, that is, the late Mr. Godfrey Isaacs (Marconi Co.), Major Basil Binyon (Radio Communication Co.), Mr. A. McKinstry (Metropolitan Vickers), John Gray (British Thomson -Houston Co.), Sir William Noble (General Electric), Mr. H. M. Pease (Western Electric), and Mr. W. W. Burnham (Burndept). Smaller manufacturers and traders were repre- sented by the late Sir William Bull, M.P., who became Vice - Chairman. Mr. (now Sir) John Reith was the first General Manager, joining the Board as Managing Director in October, 1923."
[World Radio History]

"The year has again been marked by steady progress and expansion."