Last night, I listened to the BBC Radio 4 Archive Hour programme about J.B. Priestley’s World War 2 radio broadcasts, the Postscripts. You can listen to it on the BBC iplayer until Monday.
I was very impressed. I am not just saying that because Special Collections was involved! I felt that it really engaged with why the Postscripts began, how they evolved, how listeners, the BBC and the government responded, and why Priestley stopped doing them. Great use was made of the BBC’s archive recordings of the surviving original broadcasts, and of later interviews with JBP himself.
To choose a particular moment, the programme included a section of Journey into Daylight, Priestley’s 1945 broadcast reflecting on the Allied victory. I had not heard this before. The contrast between the cutglass accent of the presenter and Priestley’s warmer Yorkshire tones was striking. It illustrated the point made earlier in the show – I think by Roy Hattersley – that Priestley brought a popular voice to the BBC, a voice more like those of his listeners. Not necessarily something that would make him popular with the establishment.
More on this blog about the Postscripts very soon.