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October 04 , 2010

Bernard Shaw and theBBC


George Bernard Shaw's frequently stormy but always creative relationship with the British Broadcasting Corporation was in large part responsible for making him a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. From the founding of the BBC in 1922 to his death in 1950, Shaw supported the BBC by participating in debates, giving talks, permitting radio and television broadcasts of many of his plays - even advising on pronunciation questions. Here, for the first time, Leonard Conolly illuminates the often grudging, though usually mutually beneficial, relationship between two of the twentieth century's cultural giants.

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Drawing on extensive archival materials held in England, the United States, and Canada, Bernard Shaw and the BBC presents a vivid portrait of many contentious issues negotiated between Shaw and the public broadcaster. This is a fascinating study of how controversial works were first performed in both radio and television's infancies. It details debates about freedom of speech, the editing of plays for broadcast, and the protection of authors' rights to control and profit from works performed for radio and television broadcasts. Conolly also scrutinizes Second World War-era censorship, when the British government banned Shaw from making any broadcasts that questioned British policies or strategies.

Rich in detail and brimming with Shaw's irrepressible wit, this book also provides links to online appendices of Shaw's broadcasts for the BBC, texts of Shaw's major BBC talks, extracts from German wartime propaganda broadcasts about Shaw, and the BBC's obituaries for Shaw.

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