IoS radio review: Revolutionary Radio, Radio 4, Monday
The BBC and All That, Radio 4, Friday
Do mention the war, and keep on talking
I'm not sure I could live without the radio – well, of course I could, but you know what I mean. It's one of life's greatest pleasures, but it's never meant as much to me as it did, say, to the citizens of Prague in the mid-1940s.
As Fi Glover learnt in Revolutionary Radio, listening to foreign broadcasts during the Second World War was punishable by death. The plaques outside the Czech equivalent of Broadcasting House commemorate the courage of those who, after fierce fighting with the Germans, seized and held on to the radio station as the war entered its final stages. An escaped PoW, William Greig, went on air to plead for help from the Allies. And, as they drew close, one veteran recalled, the radio told people "that the fight was going on, that we weren't losing the battle".
Like the Germans, the Serbian government 20 years ago realised the potency of free airwaves, sending in troops to smash up the B92 station, which had the temerity to do its own reporting. Today, the voice of independent Zimbabwe, SW Radio Africa, broadcasts on shortwave and the internet, not from Harare, but from north London. The struggle goes on and radio still has a job to do.
There was a taste of life during wartime in Britain in the delightful The BBC and All That, the first reading from a memoir written by the early Beeb operative Roger Eckersley. He described Broadcasting House in 1945 – "dark, grim and still bearing the marks of war" – and being summoned by the controller, Admiral Carpendale ("Mr Reith, as he was then, was a distant, menacing figure in the background") to adjudicate between three swatches of material being considered for a new studio in Cardiff. "Tempora mutantur: now special committees will sit."
He also cited an occasion from the early days, when many were sniffy about the new medium. Attending a party at an hour when the likes of Vita Sackville-West often expatiated on air, he turned on the wireless, telling guests there might be something on which they liked. Instead, there came "a little thin voice growing gradually in volume: 'and if your canary has diarrhoea ... ' I never really lived this down".
Books And it is whizzpopping!
MusicThey're running their own restaurants
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta clashes with President Obama on LGBT equality: ‘Gay rights is really a non-issue’
- 2 Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
- 3 Mers outbreak: Manchester Royal Infirmary A&E closes over suspected cases
- 4 Jon Snow alive? New Game of Thrones toy line suggests he's not among the dead
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
True Detective season 2, episode 6, 'Church in Ruins' review: Tension mounts just as time is running out
Chief Keef's 'Stop the Violence' hologram performance shut down by police
Listen! Beowulf opening line misinterpreted for 200 years
Jon Snow alive? New Game of Thrones toy line suggests he's not among the dead
I Am Cait reviews round-up: A fake, forced, boring reality TV series despite earnest intentions to help promote trans issues
The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
What the Labour party could look like under Jeremy Corbyn
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park