Orson Welles

Duration: 25 minutes

First transmitted in 1955. Writer, film and theatre director, Orson Welles takes the hot seat in this in-depth and revealing interview. Newspaper writers John Beavan, Elizabeth Frank, Rene McColl and William Hardcastle press Orson Welles on a number of issues as they attempt to delve into his life, passions and the secrets behind his career. Welles is questioned about his views on television, his reasons for staging Macbeth with an all-black cast, and his political ambitions.

Last on

Mon 17 Jan 1955 15:30 BBC Television Service

See all previous episodes from Press Conference

  • BBC Four Talk Collection

    Talk
    This programme is part of Talk - a collection of interviews with some of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

    Go to the BBC Four Talk Collection
  • More about this programme

    Press Conference was "a series where personalities who make the news answer impromptu questions from men who write the news." So begins this edition which seems to overlook the presence of Elizabeth Frank in the line-up! However, the programme contains many gems including Welles' anecdote following the now legendary 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds which "frightened half of the United States out of their wits" and into believing that a Martian invasion had begun. Welles reflects, "I think we underrated the prestige of radio at that moment, anything that was said on the radio was automatically true. After that nobody ever believed anything on the radio and, Pearl Harbour, the day of Pearl Harbour in America I was doing a radio broadcast which was interrupted with the announcement that Pearl Harbour had been attacked and of course everybody in America said it’s rather bad taste to do it again."
  • About BBC Four Collection programmes

    Programmes are selected, in part, for their historical context and reflect the broadcast standards and attitudes of their time, which may not accord to some current BBC editorial guidelines. We aim to select programmes which can be shown in their entirety but in some cases edits are required.

Credits

Presenter
Huw Wheldon
Interviewer
John Beavan
Interviewer
Elizabeth Frank
Interviewer
William Hardcastle
Interviewer
Rene McColl
Interviewed Guest
Orson Welles

Broadcasts

  • Fri 14 Jan 1955 22:05 BBC Television Service

  • Mon 17 Jan 1955 15:30 BBC Television Service

Featured in...

  • Talk

    A collection of BBC interviews with influential figures of the 20th century.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss