By Stephen Games
Pevsner: The BBC Years supplies the 1st complete account of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner's engagement with the BBC at a time while either have been the dominant associations of their personal fields, Pevsner because the so much persuasive determine within the zone of structure and paintings historical past, the BBC because the country's sole broadcaster. As a German emigre, Pevsner was once now not in the beginning depended on to talk at the air, and was once in basic terms invited to seem on the very finish of the battle, regardless of his turning out to be eminence in academia and architectural publishing. With the arriving of the 3rd Programme the subsequent 12 months, even if, he fast grew to become a broadcasting star, seemed through senior BBC figures as crucial and novel listening. This publication appears on the upward thrust in Pevsner's status on the BBC, at what he used to be well known for, and on the situations surrounding his invitation, in 1955, to offer the 1st sequence of Reith Lectures on an arts topic - the connection among visible expression and nationwide identification. It explains the function performed by way of Geoffrey Grigson, Basil Taylor, Anna Kallin and Leonie Cohn in advancing Pevsner's BBC profession, analyses the literary personality of his broadcasting, and considers the functionality of his talks as an extension of eu belletrism. It additionally demonstrates the importance of his editorship of the King Penguin sequence of books. additionally, Pevsner: The BBC Years files the unravelling of Pevsner's popularity. It exhibits how he used to be stuck among altering models in media tradition and doubts in regards to the safeguard of his principles in the BBC and, externally, via the animosity of British conservatives who discovered him too radical and American radicals who discovered him too conservative. during this ebook, correspondence from the BBC's information offers a case examine of scholarly concept being uncovered to scrutiny by means of self reliant editors -- a strategy that each one may still study from this present day.
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Additional info for Pevsner: The BBC Years; Listening to the Visual Arts
In the early days of radio, choice was offered not by the BBC but by the variety of European stations which, like the BBC, broadcast on wavelengths with greater geographical range than the high-quality FM or VHF signals used by radio today. There were therefore audiences in Britain for programmes originating from Paris, Hilversum, Hamburg and Berlin, and some foreign radio schedules were printed in The Times alongside those of the BBC. After the war broke out, Hamburg remained the only European station that the Germans did not close, and government research showed that it remained a popular alternative for some UK listeners.
Although treated shabbily by the BBC, which promised that he could broadcast if he was no longer on the staff and then banned him, in line with Corporation policy, because he had taken a job with a rival news outlet (the News Chronicle), Bartlett was in fact an apologist for Germany, publishing a number of books that were more compromising than objective, including Nazi Germany Explained (1933). In 1938, however, he won a seat in parliament as an independent, anti-appeasement candidate, went on to become a co-founder of the Common Wealth Party in 1942, and eventually joined the Labour Party.
Ludwig Koch (1881–1974), who recorded bird sounds, was introduced to the BBC by Julian Huxley, Secretary of the Zoological Society of London from 1936 to 1942, and spoke about birdsong on the radio from an early stage in the war, despite having what to an English-speaking audience was an almost comically broad German accent, parodied later by Peter Sellers. More generally, according to Daniel Snowman, ‘The BBC offered a variety of opportunities to talented and ambitious refugees. Some of the most prominent, such as Arthur Koestler, were periodically invited to write and read scripts, while Thomas Mann recorded a number of talks in Los Angeles which were broadcast by the BBC.