Ed Stourton describes how the BBC adapted to being on a war footing, the boredom of the Phoney War and the experiences of reporters sent to France.
The BBC is a British institution unlike any other, and its story during the Second World War is also the story of Britain's people.
Writer and presenter Edward Stourton is a sharp-eyed and affectionate companion on the BBC's wartime journey, investigating archives, diaries, letters and memoirs to examine what the BBC was and what it stood for.
In this first episode, Ed describes how the BBC adapted to being on a war footing, the boredom of the Phoney War and the experiences of reporters sent to France.
These were the years when Auntie (the BBC's enduring nickname) earned a reputation for bossiness. It was also a period of remarkable voices - Churchill's fighting speeches de Gaulle's broadcasts from exile, George Orwell, Ed Murrow, Richard Dimbleby and Vera Lynn.
During these extraordinary times, eyewitness testimonies gave a voice to everyone, securing the BBC's reputation as a reliable purveyor of the truth.
Auntie's War is more than a portrait of an institution at a critical time, it is also a portrayal of the British in wartime and an insight into why we have our broadcast culture today.
Read by Edward Stourton
Abridged by Anna Magnusson
Produced by Pippa Vaughan
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
You are at the first episode