George Orwell at the BBC | The writer of 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' holds true to his ideals
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From: Assistant Controller (Overseas Services)
Subject: COMMENTARIES BY GEORGE ORWELL
PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
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
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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
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.
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.
George Orwell is recommended for employment.
A glowing reference for George Orwell.
Eric Blair discusses writing as George Orwell.
George Orwell invites TS Eliot to contribute a reading.
The Assistant Controller appreciates the propaganda advantage of Orwell's name.
Is George Orwell's voice suitable for broadcasting?
An invitation to comment on social changes in wartime Britain.
Orwell asserts his preference for the truth.
An exceptional testimonial for staff member 9889.
George Orwell submits his resignation from the BBC.
LF Rushbrook Williams ponders George Orwell's resignation.
The BBC regrets the loss of Orwell from its employment.
George Orwell writes about moving to the remote island of Jura.
Rayner Heppenstall asks what provisions to bring to Orwell on Jura.
George Orwell gives directions on how to get to Jura.
Rayner Heppenstall worries about what to bring and getting to Jura.
Rayner Heppenstall pulls out of visiting George Orwell on Jura.
Rayner Heppenstall worries that he has offended George Orwell.
George Orwell describes life on Jura.
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