A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1944.

Back in 1994, the BBC broadcast a series of special bulletins with Sue Lawley presenting news of the D-Day landings as though they were happening then, utilizing footage and correspondent audio from fifty years earlier. Fortunately, someone has uploaded the programmes to YouTube, and they are absolutely fascinating, covering not just the war, but other contemporary events.

We're told that "Speaking in Trafalgar Square, the actress Sybil Thorndike has called for equal pay for women. (She) said the concept '...that a woman should be paid less than a man for doing the same job is almost pre-historic.'" We're not told the context of her saying this, but she would presumably be angry to know that this deplorable state of affairs still hasn't been corrected nearly eighty years later.

If you do have a glance at the episodes that have been uploaded, you'll notice that it was the continuation of a project that began five years before with News 39, which covered the events leading up to the start of the war and ended in 1995 with a half-hour episode about the ceasefire. It's an excellent format and an interesting way of presenting the older, dramatic footage in a dynamic way.

The War Continues

"Movietone goes to ITMA's Farewell Party and joins Tommy Handley and company."
Pictured above.

"A reconstruction of the first 'live' broadcast made by a BBC radio correspondent in Normandy."
[Imperial War Museum]

"The earth revolves on its axis and moves in an orbit round the sun."
[World Radio History]

"Reporter Denys Blakeway explores the role and effects of German propaganda broadcasts during World War Two, most notably those by Lord Haw-Haw."
[BBC Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"00:08:01 'Song of the Islands'. A report featuring a calypso band of West Indian musicians serving in the armed services. Scenes inside a radio studio in BBC Broadcasting House."
[Imperial War Museum][BBC Programme Index]


"ENSA show for war-workers from a factory canteen : Carroll Gibbons and his Orchestra, with Rita Williams and Betty Kent. ' Guest artists, Ted Andrews and Barbara Clarke and Petula Clark."
[Imperial War Museum][BBC Programme Index]

"Ann Driver. 1-'The Beginning of Movement'"
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

Behind The Scenes

"The prevailing emotion of 1944 is best described by the words forward -looking. Sometimes our eyes have been fixed with agonizing expectancy on the next few weeks : sometimes simply on the next few hours. Yet through days and weeks alike, there has run persistently a vision of the future in longer terms; a future in which the twice renewed nightmare of war with Germany may be ended once and for all: a future in which we may be inspired to rebuild our homes and our great institutions in the true spirit of our national genius."
[World Radio History]