No Fixed Points
Humphrey Carpenter investigates the origins of the Third Programme in the aftermath of World War II. With an archive interview outlining William Haley's vision for the channel.
In 1996 Humphrey Carpenter presented this history of the Third Programme and Radio 3, in which he interviewed all the surviving founders of the network, who recalled in vivid detail the ideals on which it was based, the anxieties of the very first evening on air, and the reactions of the press and public at the time.
Humphrey himself died in 2005, and almost all the contributors are no longer with us, but this is another chance to hear the first part of the history of the Third Programme, launched 70 years ago in the aftermath of the Second World War.
In an interview from the BBC's own archives, Director General William Haley outlines his vision of a network with no regular programmes, no news bulletins and no fixed points. Listeners including Peter Maxwell Davies and Harold Pinter remember how the Third changed their lives, Michael Tippett recalls programmes he presented, and former Controller Harman Grisewood reflects on an early complaint about "vulgarisation" - from EM Forster. And there are tales of coal shortages, atrocious reception, fan mail from Richard Strauss - who heard the Third in Switzerland - and a triumphant visit to London by the whole of the Vienna Opera.
Producer: John Goudie.
You are at the first episode