The ten years following the end of the Second World War were critical years in the history of British broadcasting. They witnessed the rise of television and the end of the BBC's monopoly. This fourth volume of Asa Briggs's detailed study is based on a mass of hitherto unexplored documentary evidence, much, but not all of it, from the BBC's own voluminous archives. It examines in detail how and why some of the key decisions affecting broadcasting policy - domestic and external - were reached and what were their effects.
Yet it is more than an institutional history. One long chapter deals with the changing arts and techniques of broadcasting news and views, politics, drama, features and variety, music, religion, education and sport. It describes a pattern of broadcasting - and a society and culture - already remote from our own. At every point the main contours of society and culture are explored. It ends with the first night of competitive television and with contemporary assessments of the likely impact of television on sound broadcasting and other media.
It is profusely illustrated and can be read either as complete in itself or as one fascinating phase in the unfolding history of British broadcasting.
`Lord Briggs is an exceptionally sure-footed guide through complicated facts ... an outstanding triumph. Many of his colleagues would regard any one of the five volumes as a lifetime's work. He deserves, once again, applause as well as our thanks.'
The Financial Times