Are you old enough to remember Second World War radio classics such as ITMA? Do you recall listening to the BBC during the blackout? Tell us what you liked or disliked about broadcasting in wartime? Has the BBC helped you through times of war, whenever and wherever in the world you have encountered conflict? Let us have your comments, thoughts and ideas.
I am not old enough to have lived through World War Two but my Aunt tells me that everyone listened to the news on the radio every night. She said that nobody in her family ever questioned what the BBC reported. I remember the Falklands War and feeling at the time that the BBC reports were not telling the entire truth. Today, with other sources of information available such as Al Jazeera we can compare how different news broadcasters report on the same event. I still listen to the BBC news on the radio in the morning and at five but suplement it with other sources. I find that although (inevitably) the BBC does have biases it does not have an agenda like certain other broadcasters.
John Hughes, Brighton
Hello BBC – my Grandfather; German Jewish émigré actor/broadcaster Carl-Heinz Jaffé (1902-74), having been a German Matinee idol during the 1920s-30s under Max Reinhardt and (evading the Gestapo) emigrated to England in 1936, was engaged by the BBC for wartime news-reading duties including secondment to the PID (Political Intelligence Dept) that included multi-lingual coded announcements to assist the allies in occupied Europe.
His (unpublished) autobiography cites several dramatic first-hand account examples. Post-war between 1945-72 Jaffé (seconded by then German station head and later BBC DG Sir Hugh Carleton-Greene) headed the BBC’s German Service from Bush House with the renowned series ‘Lernt Englisch Im Londoner Rundfunk’ (Learn English on the London Radio) for over 3,000 programmes including 15-years with famed performer/linguist Anita Bild.
This was in addition to his concurrent c.60 feature films, +100 stage productions (including Pulitzer Prize winner, Ivor Novello’s last musical, Royal Charity show for NSPCC) and c.90 TV appearances (including iconic shows e.g. Dad’s Army + Anglo US series e.g. Charlie-Chan, Douglas Fairbanks/Buster Keaton) spanning a 6-decade entertainment career appearing with many A-list stars of the era.
Coco the Clown (Nicolai Poliakoff) was his Corporal during his WW2 Pioneer Corps enlistment in Devon where he ran the Army Theatre (raising WW2 funds), including working with famed Bletchley Park ‘listener’ Fritz Lustig who was also stationed there for a while.
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