On 22 February 1923, the BBC tried something new: the first broadcast political debate. What could possibly go wrong? Let's find out!
And we chat to Reeta Chakrabarti - a mainstay of BBC news for over 30 years. She's anchored news from the studio, broadcast from Ukraine, and recently voiced radio pioneer Hilda Matheson on the BBC100 Prom. We talk about her career highlights and the place of BBC journalism in the world today.
Back in 1923, we're telling the origin story of British broadcasting, landmark moment by landmark moment, so this episode includes:
That first political debate: Sir Ernest Benn and J.T. Walton Newbold MP on "That Communism would be a Danger to the Good of the People” - but the audience are a little one-sided, and bring not only heckles but a rousing musical finale - The Red Flag. There are complaints... Thanks to the press of the day, we recreate the key moments of that first political debate for (we presume) the first time ever.
Back at HQ, Caroline Banks joins to head up the female clerical staff.
The BBC listings ban continues in the press.
Pip, Squeak and Wilfred make the jump from a Daily Mirror cartoon strip to on-air children's programme.
The launch of Musical, Dramatic, Literary and Film Talks.
The first broadcast in Welsh (hear Rev Gwilym Davies).
The first daytime programmes... and more.
It was quite a week!
Next time: Early March 1923, the BBC gains its sixth station and Scotland gains official broadcasting, as Glasgow 5SC launches. We'll bring the speeches and juicy details.
And/or share this if you like it - find us fresh ears!
We're on Facebook and Twitter, and a reminder that this is nothing to do with the BBC. It's a one-man non-BBC project.
Part of that also includes Paul's new novel, Auntie and Uncles: The Bizarre Birth of the BBC (out this spring, ish): https://amzn.to/3ZsF335
Another part is Paul's live show on early radio: this year that includes 'The Beeb: Year 1 - 1923 Repeated' (a stand-up history show whizzing through that first year) + a re-enactment of the first religious broadcast. To book either, or with any comments on the podcast, get in touch.
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