The BBC And All That

Ep 1/2

Friday 23 November



Behind the scenes in the brand new Broadcasting House of 1932, described with both awe and humour by failed chicken-farmer turned BBC Radio pioneer Roger Eckersley.

Roger Eckersley was persuaded in 1923 to give up his loss-making chicken farm to join the newly formed BBC and ended up remaining there for the rest of his career, holding many positions, including Director of Entertainment. The BBC And All That is a behind-the-scenes look at the then brand-new Broadcasting House, from Eckersley’s memoirs published in the 1940s.

He had a rebellious nature - surprisingly appropriate for a BBC that was regarded by the establishment of the time as an unruly upstart - relishing tales of how they were banned by the FA from broadcasting live football commentaries, so paid a string of eye-witnesses to leave the ground at regular intervals to give descriptions of the action they had just seen.

He was part of the Pronunciation Committee when George Bernard Shaw and poet laureate Robert Bridges almost came to blows over the pronunciation of 'acoustic', and was selected to greet King George and Queen Mary for the official opening of Broadcasting House in 1932, when he found himself in a discussion about jazz with the Queen during which, he learned from an appalled friend afterwards, he had persisted in calling her 'my dear'.

2012 sees not only the 90th anniversary of the BBC but also the 80th anniversary of its move from Savoy Hill to the now iconic Broadcasting House.

Reader/James Fleet; Producer/Neil Cargill - a Pier Productions Limited for the BBC

BBC Radio 4 Publicity