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

Letter from HG Wells to the BBC

Wells responds to an invitation to speak about evolution.

BBC ARCHIVE DOCUMENT 1942

Reference: Home Talks/PP/GRB

12th December, 1942.

Dear Mr Barnes,

Your letter is rather astonishing. I have been off the air so far as the BBC is concerned since the outbreak of the war, and have talked only for American organisations. But I am quite prepared to put together and say something pithy and broad to the very attractive title you have offered me.

I shall lay stress upon the immense human resources. A federal world exploitation of the deep-lying supplies of phosphates for instance, which have hitherto, been an invincible limiting term to fertility, would change the whole face of human affairs. And so on. But against this immense pressure, we must set our heritage of unimaginative hatreds, ignorant dogmatisms, exploitation and mutual distrust. The most precious material upon which science has to work is human material, and at present we are not making the best of one per cent of humanity. To eliminate this wastage demands an insistence upon the universal rights of man as the fundamental law of any conceivable new world of hope.

This is what I want to say, and I take it this is good enough for your synopsis.

Next, about time. I write slowly and polish carefully. How long can you give me for the completion of my draft? I do not think that I can get it into speakable shape until well on in the New Year.

Yours sincerely,

H. G. Wells

[Handwritten note]

As spoken it seems unlikely that he would agree to speak to the directive and failing that I think we should see that he doesn't [illegible] any particular [illegible] or belief.
Signed R. Maconachie

[Document ends]

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Document Type | Letter

12 December 1942

Document version

Writtenin

1942

Synopsis

HG Wells is invited to open a new radio series on social biology called 'Reshaping Man's Heritage'. The writer's outline of his proposed address warns against 'our heritage of unimaginative hatreds, ignorant dogmatisms, exploitation and mutual distrust'.

Did you know?

You can hear the subsequent broadcast 'Reshaping Man's Heritage' as part of this collection.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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