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George Orwell at the BBC | The writer of 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' holds true to his ideals

About this collection

For two years, between 1941 and 1943, George Orwell - real name Eric Blair - was BBC staff member 9889, hired as a Talks Producer for the Eastern Service to write what was essentially propaganda for broadcast to India.

From recruitment to resignation, this collection of documents reveals the high regard in which Orwell was held by his colleagues and superiors and his own uncompromising integrity and honesty. Internal memos explore working relationships with literary contributors, while letters written from the Hebridean island of Jura colour the background to the creation of 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'.

George Orwell at the BBC Collection

BBC Memo from Empire Service Director.

Memo from the BBC's Director of Empire Services

WRITTEN 1941
1 PAGE

George Orwell is recommended for employment.

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Letter from Arthur Keith to D Pearson-Smith Esq.

Letter from Arthur Keith to D Pearson-Smith Esq

WRITTEN 1941
1 PAGE

A glowing reference for George Orwell.

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Memo from Orwell to the Eastern Service Director.

Memo from Orwell to the Eastern Service Director

WRITTEN 1942
1 PAGE

Eric Blair discusses writing as George Orwell.

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Letter from Orwell to TS Eliot.

Letter from Orwell to TS Eliot

WRITTEN 1942
1 PAGE

George Orwell invites TS Eliot to contribute a reading.

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Memo from the Assistant Controller, BBC Overseas Services.

Memo from the Assistant Controller, Overseas Services

WRITTEN 1942
2 PAGES

The Assistant Controller appreciates the propaganda advantage of Orwell's name.

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BBC memo criticising Orwell's voice.

Memo criticising Orwell's voice

WRITTEN 1943
1 PAGE

Is George Orwell's voice suitable for broadcasting?

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Letter to Orwell from ALC Bullock.

Letter to Orwell from ALC Bullock

WRITTEN 1943
1 PAGE

An invitation to comment on social changes in wartime Britain.

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Reply from Orwell to ALC Bullock

Reply from Orwell to ALC Bullock

WRITTEN 1943
1 PAGE

Orwell asserts his preference for the truth.

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Orwell's BBC Annual Report.

Orwell's BBC Annual Report

WRITTEN 1943
2 PAGES

An exceptional testimonial for staff member 9889.

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Orwell's resignation letter

Orwell's resignation letter

WRITTEN 1943
1 PAGE

George Orwell submits his resignation from the BBC.

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A memo on the resignation of Eric Blair.

Memo on the resignation of Eric Blair

WRITTEN 1943
2 PAGES

LF Rushbrook Williams ponders George Orwell's resignation.

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Orwell's official leaving notice.

Orwell's official leaving notice

WRITTEN 1943
1 PAGE

The BBC regrets the loss of Orwell from its employment.

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Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall.

Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall

WRITTEN 1946
2 PAGES

George Orwell writes about moving to the remote island of Jura.

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Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell.

Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell

WRITTEN 1946
1 PAGE

Rayner Heppenstall asks what provisions to bring to Orwell on Jura.

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Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall.

Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall

WRITTEN 1946
2 PAGES

George Orwell gives directions on how to get to Jura.

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Letter from Heppenstall to Orwell.

Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell

WRITTEN 1946
1 PAGE

Rayner Heppenstall worries about what to bring and getting to Jura.

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Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell.

Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell

WRITTEN 1946
1 PAGE

Rayner Heppenstall pulls out of visiting George Orwell on Jura.

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Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell.

Letter from Rayner Heppenstall to Orwell

WRITTEN 1946
1 PAGE

Rayner Heppenstall worries that he has offended George Orwell.

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Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall.

Letter from Orwell to Rayner Heppenstall

WRITTEN 1946
1 PAGE

George Orwell describes life on Jura.

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