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

Memo from the Assistant Controller, Overseas Services

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

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT
1942

Page 1 of 2


From: Assistant Controller (Overseas Services)

Subject: COMMENTARIES BY GEORGE ORWELL

PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL

To: E.S.D

23rd October 1942

I have discussed this matter with C(O.S). There is no difficulty about a member
of the Corporation staff broadcasting under a pen name, but he should not be
announce or billed as a member of Corporation staff, and the normal conditions
about staff contributions to programmes should apply.

C(O.S) suggests, however, that in this instance it would be advisable to make
sure - presumably through the India Office - that the Government of India are
not going to raise objections by a man whose books they have banned. The
propaganda advantages of Orwell's name are obvious and I should hope [the author
originally typed think and replaced it with hope] they would be appreciated.


Signed, R. A. Rendall


[A hand-written note underneath the memo reads:]

I have consulted Mr Joyce and his colleagues, and they feel that it would be useful
to take advantage of "Orwell's" name.
In view of the fact that several people whose books have fallen under the
displeasure of the G. of I. or in effect speak for us, and that their contributions
are appreciated. Mr Joyce feels that it would be a mistake to refer the matter
specifically to the G. of I. If asked, the G. of I. might feel called upon to
adopt a critical attitude. If the question [illegible] raised, Mr Joyce thinks
they are very unlikely to object. [handwritten]

L Williams 29/10
[signature]

Page 2 of 2


[handwritten note]

In view of E S D's note, I fully agree - at least as an experiment, as R. W
suggests in his minute of 15/X. I would like to know of any signs of reaction
official or personal.

J R [illegible]

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Document Type | Memo

23 October 1942

Document version

Writtenin

1942

Synopsis

In this memo, RA Rendall addresses concerns that the Indian government might object to broadcasts by George Orwell, a man whose books they have banned. A handwritten amendment by LF Rushbrook Williams recommends keeping silent on the matter, rather than actually raising the issue with the government of India.

Did you know?

Unfortunately, it was discovered that the target audience of Indian students at whom Orwell's broadcasts were aimed did not in the main possess radio sets. Even those lucky enough to be able to tune in would have found the signal so weak as to render the broadcasts virtually unintelligible.

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