By David Hendy
Radio 4 has been defined as "the maximum broadcasting channel within the world", the "heartbeat of the BBC", a cultural icon of Britishness, and the voice of heart England. outlined by way of its wealthy combine, encompassing every thing from journalism and drama to comedy, quizzes, and short-stories, its programs--such as Today,The Archers, Woman's Hour, The Hitchhiker's advisor To the Galaxy, Gardeners' query Time, and The delivery Forecast --have been a part of British existence for many years. Others, much less profitable, have triggered offence and brought on derision. Born because it used to be within the Swinging Sixties, Radio Four's valuable problem has been to alter with the days, whereas attempting to not lose religion with those that see it as a standard-bearer for caliber, authoritativeness, or just 'old-fashioned' BBC values.In this primary significant behind-the-scenes account of the station's historical past, David Hendy--a former manufacturer for Radio Four--draws on privileged entry to the BBC's personal records and new interviews with key group of workers to light up the arguments and controversies in the back of the production of a few of its hottest programmes. He unearths the station's fight to justify itself in a tv age, favouring transparent branding and tightly-targeted audiences, with sour disputes among the BBC and its fiercely unswerving listeners. the tale of those struggles is ready greater than the survival of 1 radio community: Radio 4 has been a lightning rod for all types of wider social anxieties over the last 40 years. A kaleidoscopic view of the altering nature of the BBC, the e-book offers a gripping perception into the very nature of British lifestyles and tradition within the final a long time of the 20th century.
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Additional info for Life on Air: A History of Radio Four
If topicality and controversy and irreverence and experimentation really were all in the air, they would be ready and willing to inhale. One decisive lead had come right from the top—and right at the beginning of the decade—with the appointment of Hugh Carleton-Greene as DirectorGeneral in 1960. Greene was one of the BBC’s own, having run the German Service during the War, the entire Overseas Service, and, more recently, the whole of its news and current aVairs output. He was perfectly familiar with the old ethos—he had even declared his pride in being ‘one of Reith’s successors’.
The deWning programmes since 1960 had been gritty, questioning, and satirical in equal measure. There was, for example, Z Cars, set in a northern police force and subjecting its working culture to Werce critical scrutiny. There was also The 20 Reformation Wednesday Play, described by its creator Sydney Newman as dramatizing ‘the turning points in contemporary Britain’, memorably tackling abortion in Up the Junction (1965) and homelessness in Cathy Come Home (1966). 28 For many, this last programme had become the symbol of the BBC’s new ethos.
By all accounts, BBC Television as a whole was doing it too. 34 22 Reformation R A D I O I N A T E L E V I S I O N AG E Those who travelled a few miles east from Television Centre or Lime Grove to attend the occasional meeting at Broadcasting House would Wnd themselves breathing an altogether diVerent atmosphere. Here, where Radio resided, it was not just the physical presence of BBC managers and administrators that made life feel more constrained; it was also the immense weight of tradition—and the sense of entering a place forgotten by the passage of time.