On Tuesday night I was discussing broadcasting history with someone and mention was made of Asa Briggs. Within an hour his death was announced. A few hours later, I learned of Sylvia Anderson's death; and now, Cliff Michelmore, a broadcaster who was moving into a retirement phase in my childhood but who still loomed large. The sense of twentieth-century Britain tidying up after itself through the death of people who seemed to epitomise aspects of the mid-late century spirit which animated last year is even stronger this. Some links:

The BBC Archive Cliff Michelmore page

Cliff Michelmore switches off Lime Grove studios, The Late Show, 1991

Cliff Michelmore interviews David Jones (the future David Bowie), Tonight, 1964

The Shadows: 'Lady Penelope' from Thunderbirds are Go - shared by [twitter.com profile] outonbluesix as a tribute to her alter ego, Sylvia Anderson

Sylvia Anderson interviewed for the third or fourth generation of fans of Lady Penelope and Thunderbirds, Blue Peter, 1995

I've not watched this, but here's Asa Briggs in discussion early last year at the University of Sussex

An episode of The Seven Ages of Radio with Asa Briggs, starting with part of one of my favourite broadcasting quotations from David Dunhill, with added Tony Blackburn, though the structure of the series seems somewhat pessimistic.

While I'm making a link post, here's a Kickstarter worth exploring: Duel for Citizenship by Holly Matthies
A gift in pdf from the BBC Genome team: the Christmas Radio Times of 1923. More is explained at the BBC Genome blog. This is the era of the BBC as monopoly private company rather than autonomous corporation and that's reflected in the business-led feature writing which opens the magazine; but there are contributions too from Ramsay Macdonald, a few weeks away from becoming first Labour prime minister, and Lilian Bayliss of the Old Vic, as well as various broadcasters including several of the uncles and aunts of the regional stations. The adverts are revealing of a vanished time; the listings show that a simultaneous broadcast of Shakespeare recitals by Sir Frank Benson was taken by most stations, intriguingly for me coming from 5NO in Newcastle; 5WA in Cardiff offers A Christmas Carol instead. Although not the modern Woman's Hour, which did not begin until the 1940s, there is a Women's Hour, but it only seems to last thirty minutes. Christmas Day itself is one of a Christmas party and religious messages, including one specifically aimed at children.
Among the many projects displaced by my actually obtaining regular employment was the management of my two hard disc recorders, particularly the creaky secondhand one which lives in my bedroom under my 1980s Rediffusion portable. I've been catching up this evening, and as a result I'm currently being transported back to 23 November 2013 and listening to that morning's Radio 2 Graham Norton show live (with prerecorded inserts - and of course, to be technical, lots of old records) from the Doctor Who Celebration at ExCel. There are some arch inserts - the first traffic report ends with the information that traffic has cleared around Metebelis Three after a rush for blue crystals - and after words with Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, a defensively self-deprecating Steven Moffat and superfan costume and prop exhibition curator Andrew Beech, Colin Baker has just trotted out his ancient but understandable resentment towards Michael Grade, and all has been interspersed with as much music actually played on Doctor Who as possible. It was a frenetic and hyperbolic few days, or rather weeks, barely imaginable ten or twenty years earlier, and for all Graham makes fun of the detail of Doctor Who lore he has to read out, it seems to have judged its tone more carefully than the dire Afterparty which went out later on BBC Three, about the only good thing in it being the participation of Jackie Lane.

There is also a distressing amount of paper on my study floor, three days after I submitted my tax return, which accounts for most of it...
A very good preliminary exploration of the culture which allowed Jimmy Savile to prosper, in the online edition of the London Review of Books. I don't agree with everything, and some of the contextual details are wrong which skews Andrew O'Hagan's argument. 1963 is the age of Carry On Jack or Carry On Spying rather than Carry On Camping, and there is lots to be drawn from the contrast. I'm not sure that Savile was ever loved - bewitchingly possessed of some energy late twentieth-century Britain found preternatural, perhaps. Revealing interviews with Joan Bakewell and Nicholas Parsons, and just as revealing bewilderment from David Attenborough, frame historical cameos from people now mainly remembered as people who paid their visits to Roy Plomley to reveal their Desert Island Discs.
sir_guinglain: (salmon)
( Jul. 10th, 2012 09:16 pm)
I'm not usually one for linkspam, but here are a few items which have distracted me today:
  • For sale: Bush House. A landmark of BBC World Service history.
    • Christopher Middleton at The Telegraph mourns the end of an era; but how often is 'Lillibulero' played on the BBC World Service these days? Its associations are questionable to say the least.
  • Auction for BBC World Service
    • Here is the flysheet for the online auction mentioned in Middleton's article. If you want to set up your own worldwide broadcasting service, now is your chance.
  • Baroness Fauconberg and Conyers
    • The blog post is about the death of Lady Wendy Lycett, but peerage-spotters can welcome back the baronies of Fauconberg and Conyers to the extant peerage as Lady Wendy and her elder sister Lady Diana Miller were co-heirs to those titles. At the age of 92, I think it's unlikely that Diana, the new Baroness Fauconberg and Conyers (once she has had the automatic termination of the abeyance recognised by the Crown Office, and been added to the Roll of the Peerage) will be seeking election to the House of Lords, but you never know.
  • Lords reform: this will be our last chance for a generation
    • With the vote on Lords reform dropped, the elected hereditaries look as if they will be hanging on alongside the life peers and bishops for a little while yet. Peter Hain doesn't I think have all the details right on the measure the government had intended to put before the Commons tonight, but as he says it could have been amended.
  • Before Adam, by Jack London
    • Project Gutenberg e-book of Jack London's 1906 novel about an early homo species, possibly in the literary geneaology of the first Doctor Who story.
This morning on Radio 4, I heard the nineteenth-century followers of Jane Austen referred to as a "fandom" in Book of the Week: Jane's Fame. That the reader was Star Trek: First Contact's Borg Queen, Alice Krige, added a little to the effect. It's probably been some time since 'fandom' left the SF ghetto, but I first encountered it in a list of SF fan jargon and it still surprises me to hear it outside that context.

Meanwhile, The Sun has tagged Gordon Brown's enemies, co-ordinating their activities through an anonymous Hotmail account, as cybermen, though the use of 'delete' suggests that they are of Cybus vintage rather than the 'silver giants' of yore.
.

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