HG Wells on the Future | BBC broadcasts from the father of science fiction

HG Wells | Science and the Citizen

The newspaper is 'dead as mutton', says HG Wells.

CHANNEL | Home Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 21 March 1943

DURATION | 9 minutes 34 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1943

Synopsis

HG Wells addresses the British Association Conference on the topic of 'Science and the Citizen'. In typical provocative style, he dismisses the medium of the newspaper as dead and the art of journalism as prostitution. He claims that reports in newspapers are unreliable and predicts that people might prefer to receive a constantly updated news summary through their telephones rather than being forced to buy 'three or four newspapers to find out what is being concealed from us'. He also contends that the public has a great appetite for reading informative material; so, he jokes, there should be mass book burnings to remove low-quality and out-of-date publications from local libraries.

Did you know?

HG Wells first worked as a journalist to supplement his income while employed as a teacher, but became a full-time writer after ill health forced him to leave the teaching profession. Among the many periodicals he wrote for were 'The Educational Times', 'Saturday Review' and 'The Pall Mall Gazette'.

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Documents

Letter to HG Wells from the BBC.

Letter to HG Wells from the BBC

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

An invitation to HG Wells to go on air for the first time.

Letter to HG Wells thanking him for his promise to broadcast on the BBC.

Letter to HG Wells thanking him for his promise to broadcast

WRITTEN 1929
2 Pages

HG Wells agrees to speak about world peace.

A note by HG Wells on his 'World peace' broadcast of 1929.

HG Wells on his 'World peace' broadcast of 1929

WRITTEN 1929
2 Pages

Wells reassures the BBC that his broadcast will be objective.

Memo from Hilda Matheson to John Reith regarding HG Wells broadcast.

Memo from Hilda Matheson to John Reith regarding HG Wells broadcast

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

Will HG Wells's broadcast require 'toning down'?

Letter from Hilda Matheson to Dame Rachel Crowdy.

Letter from Hilda Matheson to Dame Rachel Crowdy

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

Preparations for a broadcast by HG Wells.

Memo concerning HG Wells's Russian Talk.

Memo concerning HG Wells's Russian Talk

WRITTEN 1931
1 Page

Concerns that Wells has not submitted a manuscript go right to the top.

Memo about interview with HG Wells prior to Russian broadcast.

Record of Interview with HG Wells prior to Russian broadcast

WRITTEN 1931
1 Page

Wells makes a commitment to objectivity.

A letter from HG Wells to the BBC.

Letter from HG Wells to the BBC

WRITTEN 1942
1 Page

Wells responds to an invitation to speak about evolution.

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