SPEAKING PEACE?

MILITARIA

Though wartime presented the BBC with some of its toughest challenges, the corporation nevertheless battled hard to inform, educate and entertain

Founded in 1922, Britain’s national public broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation, was responsible for the transmission of radio programmes. In the pre-war years, it saw astonishing growth with the huge rise in popularity of radio or, as it was commonly known, the wireless. However, under the director-generalships of Sir Frederick Ogilvie (1938-1942), Sir Cecil Graves and Robert Foot (1942-44) and Sir William Haley (1944-52), one of the BBC’s biggest challenges was World War Two, the organisation coming under fire from adversaries abroad and at home.

First of all, the broadcasting medium we most associate the BBC with today, television, was shut down – though due to the strength of London’s Alexandra Palace transmitter, this would only affect the relative few that had televisions and were within the limited range of ‘Ally Pally’. Ending televisual broadcasts on September 1, 1939, at 12.35pm, the last programme aired was the Disney cartoon Mickey's Gala Premier.

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