Enid Blyton and the BBC | Revealing the writer's troubled relationship with the BBC

Letter from Enid Blyton to Lionel Gamlin.

Enid writes to a BBC producer with surprising news.


[Page 1 of 2]

[Printed notepaper headers read:]

Beaconsfield 1091
Green Hedges,
Penn Road,

Enid Blyton

[Letter begins:]

May 24.49

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

[Page 2 of 2]

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,

Enid Blyton

The BBC Archive - sharing pictures, documents and programmes from the last 75
years of the BBC's broadcasting history. To find out more visit:

Document Type | Letter

24 May 1949

Document version




Enid Blyton replies to a letter from BBC producer Lionel Gamlin to inform him of the open secret that she and her work have been banned by the Corporation.

Read the next document in this chain.

Did you know?

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.'



More like this...


A letter from Enid Blyton to the head of BBC programmes.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Head of BBC Programmes.

1 Page

The children's author pitches ideas for a radio broadcast.

A letter from Hugh Pollock to Sir John Reith.

Enid Blyton's husband writes to the BBC Director General.

2 Pages

Hugh Pollock drops a line to Sir John Reith on behalf of his wife.

A letter from Sir John Reith to Hugh Pollock.

Sir John Reith replies to Hugh Pollock's letter.

1 Page

The BBC Director General offers to help Enid Blyton.

A letter from Enid Blyton to Sir John Reith.

Enid Blyton writes to Sir John Reith.

3 Pages

The children's author tells the BBC Director General her 'story so far'.

Memo reviewing Enid Blyton's books.

Internal Memo from Schools Department about Enid Blyton.

WRITTEN c. 1938
2 Pages

The work of Enid Blyton receives a critical review.

Letter from Enid Blyton to 'Children's Hour' director.

Letter from Enid Blyton to 'Children's Hour' director.

2 Pages

The children's author tries again to work for the BBC.

BBC memo about Enid Blyton's writing.

Internal memo reviews an Enid Blyton story.

1 Page

It's thumbs down for 'The Monkey and the Barrel-Organ'.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Reverend JW Welch.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Rev JW Welch.

2 Pages

A presenter of BBC religious programme learns of Blyton's thoughts on 'Christian training'.

Letter from Reverend JW Welch to Enid Blyton.

Reply from Rev JW Welch to Enid Blyton.

1 Page

A BBC broadcaster asks the children's author for ideas.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Reverend JW Welch.

Enid Blyton replies to Rev JW Welch.

4 Pages

The writer reveals the difficulties of adapting the Bible for children.

Letter from Enid Blyton to 'Woman's Hour' producer.

Letter from Enid Blyton to 'Woman's Hour'.

2 Pages

The 'children's heroine' chooses not to talk to adults.

Letter from BBC Children's producer to Enid Blyton.

Introductory Letter from Lionel Gamlin to Enid Blyton.

1 Page

A BBC producer tries to arrange an interview with celebrated children's author.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Lionel Gamlin.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Lionel Gamlin.

2 Pages

Enid writes to a BBC producer with surprising news.

Letter from BBC Children's producer to Enid Blyton.

A diplomatic response from Lionel Gamlin.

1 Page

BBC producer Lionel Gamlin doesn't confirm or deny a Blyton ban.

Letter from Enid Blyton to Lionel Gamlin.

Blyton sets Mr Gamlin straight.

1 Page

Blyton lets Lionel Gamlin know that she didn't jump but was pushed.

Memo from head of 'Children's Hour' to BBC producer.

Internal Memo from Derek McCulloch to Lionel Gamlin.

1 Page

Head of BBC 'Children's Hour' confirms the existence of Blyton ban.

Letter from Enid Blyton about her fan mail.

Enid Blyton writes about her fan mail.

2 Pages

The author outlines her busy life to BBC producer.

Memo in which BBC staff discuss Enid Blyton.

Memo from Janet Quigley to Jean Sutcliffe.

1 Page

The 'Woman's Hour' editor asks a Schools expert about Enid Blyton.

Memo from Jean Sutcliffe of BBC Schools Department.

Memo from BBC Schools Department.

1 Page

Jean Sutcliffe explains the policy regarding Enid Blyton.

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.