Enid Blyton and the BBC | Revealing the writer's troubled relationship with the BBC
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[Printed notepaper headers read:]
Dear Mr Gamlin,
Thank you for your nice letter. It all sounds very interesting - but I ought to
warn you of something you obviously don't know, but which has been well-known in
the literary and publishing world for some time - I and my stories are completely
banned by the B.B.C. as far as children are concerned - not one story has ever
been broadcast, and, so it is said, not one ever will be. I have never minded,
of course, because I am primarily a writer, and only really interested in
children reading my books - using their own minds - and also, of course, I
cannot do much more publicity - I get over a thousand letters a week as it is,
from all over the world!
Your idea sounds interesting - but
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won't children be bored with eight different versions of holidays? I certainly
wouldn't like to be the 7th or 8th person speaking on the subject! If I did do
it I'd prefer a straight talk - I'm so used to talking and telling stories to
children, as you know, and the whole atmosphere of a live broadcast is so
different from a recorded one. Children feel it at once - mine do, anyway!
It's very nice of you to ask me, and the children listeners would, of course, be
thrilled - but I do think that you will find it wouldn't be welcomed by anyone
responsible for broadcasts to children at the B.B.C., and I do not
want to cause you embarrassment.
I love the way you handle interviews - how in the world do you do it!
Yours, with best wishes,
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Document Type | Letter
24 May 1949
Doubts about the quality of Blyton's work were not unique to the BBC. In 1958, the journalist and critic Colin Welch commented in the literary magazine 'Encounter' that 'It is hard to see how a diet of Miss Blyton could help with the 11-plus or even with the Cambridge English Tripos.'
The children's author pitches ideas for a radio broadcast.
Hugh Pollock drops a line to Sir John Reith on behalf of his wife.
The BBC Director General offers to help Enid Blyton.
The children's author tells the BBC Director General her 'story so far'.
The work of Enid Blyton receives a critical review.
The children's author tries again to work for the BBC.
It's thumbs down for 'The Monkey and the Barrel-Organ'.
A presenter of BBC religious programme learns of Blyton's thoughts on 'Christian training'.
A BBC broadcaster asks the children's author for ideas.
The writer reveals the difficulties of adapting the Bible for children.
The 'children's heroine' chooses not to talk to adults.
A BBC producer tries to arrange an interview with celebrated children's author.
Enid writes to a BBC producer with surprising news.
BBC producer Lionel Gamlin doesn't confirm or deny a Blyton ban.
Blyton lets Lionel Gamlin know that she didn't jump but was pushed.
Head of BBC 'Children's Hour' confirms the existence of Blyton ban.
The author outlines her busy life to BBC producer.
The 'Woman's Hour' editor asks a Schools expert about Enid Blyton.
Jean Sutcliffe explains the policy regarding Enid Blyton.
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