The Reading List: The BBC

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The Independent Culture


Life On Air by David Hendy £14.99

Coverage of the Liddiment Report focused on the pressure Radio 4 is under to "replenish" its audience with slightly younger listeners. As media historian and former R4 producer David Hendy reveals in his story of British radio's demure elder sibling, 'twas ever thus. A cultural icon since its inception in the Sixties, R4's story is one of a constant quest to self-justify.


The BBC & National Identity In Britain 1922-53 by Thomas Hajkowski, £60

What does the BBC say about us? Or, more accurately, what does it say about the way we were? This is the question posed in this study of how the BBC carved a distinctive British identity after the First World War. From its regional organisation to choice of news agenda and broadcast programming, the BBC has played a crucial role in defining contemporary Britain.

Internal politics

Inside Story by Greg Dyke £20

Forced to leave his job following the claim that the government had "sexed up" its intelligence about Iraq's military capabilities, Greg Dyke is both reflective and combative on his time at the BBC. Incorporating his career before he joined – from editor-in-chief at TV-am to director of Channel Four and chairman of Pearson – as well as during the Hutton fall-out, Inside Story offers a revelatory account of life on the inside of the Beeb.


Story Of Broadcasting House by Mark Hines, £29.95

With its stark concrete exterior and its Grade II listed status, Broadcasting House is a London landmark. In this comprehensive, beautifully illustrated account, Mark Hines, the architect in charge of the building's current redevelopment into a 21st century media hub, reflects on the history of the building, from its 1930s construction to the present day.


Musn't Grumble by Terry Wogan, £13.70

Where would the BBC be without its stars? When the size of their pay check is the subject of debate, this is a crucial unknown. But we can set aside such quibbles when considering Wogan's memoirs – he was reportedly paid an £800,000 salary for presenting his Radio 2 show. But, as one of Auntie's best-loved presenters, his memoirs offer a new kind of insight into life as a cultural fixture at the BBC.