‘Writing The Century’: TX 1st June, 10:45 am, BBC Radio 4
The Open University and Radio 4 have collaborated to produce a programme that dramatises a unique perspective of 1950’s society from the diaries of Sir Linton Andrews. ‘Writing the Century,’ a five part series that is a continuing BBC strand within Woman's Hour will be broadcast daily starting on 1st June at 10.45am. This programme will provide an insight into the Suez crisis, corporal punishment, the execution of Ruth Ellis, Sir Andrew’s own knighthood and the press’ attitude to the Royal family.
In this the second co-production with the OU, the programme focuses on Sir Linton Andrews, former editor of The Yorkshire Post. Unlike the previous programme which compared events from ordinary people’s perspective, Andrews had access to sources behind the headlines including the Royal press officials of the time. In his diary he writes about the press intrusion on Prince Charles as a child going to school which poses stark similarities to the press intrusion on the Prince’s own children fifty years on.
Furthermore during the Suez crisis he describes the Manchester Guardian’s publication of an article accusing the British Government of colluding with the Israel to invade Egypt as a ‘completely farcical idea’. It is now known that this was in fact true, illustrating how the public’s knowledge of that event was greatly mislead by the Government’s statements.
The dramatisation was overseen by Dr Barry Dackombe of The Open University, who validated the authentic historical information. “It is vital that we didn’t make any assumption based on the knowledge we have of past events. We wanted to make sure that we provided a genuine insight into the mind of Sir Linton Andrews at that time of his life,” said Dr. Dackombe.
“There is a natural fascination in reading diaries and letters as they provide an intimate insight into another world. In this case a world we think we know, but as this series demonstrates everything is not exactly as we collectively remember it!” concluded Dr. Dackombe.
www.open2.net/writingthecentury , the web portal for Open University BBC collaborations, hosts some of Dr Dackombe’s observations from this and previous series of ‘Writing the Century’.
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Notes to editors:
The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.
Executive producer for the BBC is Sue Roberts and series producers for the BBC are Peter Wild and Gary Brown.