The BBC in WW2 is our focus for the third of our summer specials - longer-form chats with brilliant authors and their take on a century of British broadcasting.

This time meet Auntie's War author and BBC presenter (Today, Sunday, The World at One, and plenty more), Edward Stourton. We can only ever scratch the surface in half an hour (what, no John Snagge?) - but it's a helicopter view of the key moments, from Munich to victory marches in Italy. Discover why reporting from Dunkirk to D-Day differed so much, and which BBC reporter gained notoriety for treating a war report like a football commentary.

Hear tales (and clips) of Edward R Murrow, Guy Byam, George Orwell (no clip there alas), J.B. Priestley, Charles Gardner, Winston Churchill. 

Professor David Hendy joins us too to shine a light on a forgotten figure of D-Day: Mary Lewis, a BBC duplicator. 

(There's a supplementary episode too, next time - on the flipside of broadcasting in WW2: black propaganda, as programmes were sent from Germany to Britain by Lord Haw-Haw and co, or from Britain to Germany by Sefton Delmer and co... and somehow involved in both, was our favourite radio pioneer, Peter Eckersley - next time!)



  • Edward Stourton's book Auntie's War is available from your local independent bookshop, or online inc:
  • David Hendy's book The BBC: A People's History is available from your local independent bookshop, or online inc:
  • Our previous summer specials included authors Sarah-Jane Stratford ( and Stephen Bourne (
  • Join my mailing list for updates on my forthcoming novel Aunties and Uncles:
  • ...or find my existing books including Hark! The Biography of Christmas (
  • Be on our centenary special! '100 Years in 100 Minutes'. Pick a moment (the start of television? The final Top of the Pops?), a programme (Python? Grandstand?), or a year of broadcasting history, record yourself talking about it for 20-60sec, and send it to me: paul at paulkerensa dot com (spelt out to dodge the spambots!). I'd love to get lots of different voices on that episode, and who better than the voices of listeners! Go on. Send something in. 
  • If you like the episode, share it! It all helps get this project out there.
  • If you like the podcast enough to want to support it, help it continue, £5/mth on gets you extra behind-the-scenes videos, written updates, filmed walking tours of broadcasting heritage sites, readings from the first ever book on broadcasting... and anything else you'd like. You request, I'll see what I can do! Thanks for £supporting - it keeps me in books and web hosting.
  • We're on  and
  • We're nothing to do with the BBC - just talking about how they used to be.

Next time: More WW2 broadcasting tales from Auntie's War author Edward Stourton, plus author of 2MT Writtle Tim Wander, on black propaganda. It's quite a tale... Stay subscribed to hear it!

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