Orford Books

Stephen Potter at the BBC

Home Stephen Potter at the BBC The Good Straight Englishwoman The Merchant of Naples
Orford Books logo

Stephen Potter at the BBC cover

First publication of any part of Stephen Potter's diaries

With contemporary BBC and Picture Post photographs

240 pages hardback ISBN 0 95466530 9 RRP £20.00

Available now, Stephen Potter at the BBC. A new insight into radio in the second world war....

In the Second World War in the dark hours of the blackout, families stayed in and listened to the ‘wireless’. ‘Features’ met the challenge. Some programmes were patriotic and war related, some informative, some satirical.

This book traces the development of Features and tells how they were made (sometimes against the backdrop of falling bombs), with the participation of figures such as Graham Greene, J. B. Priestley, Louis MacNeice, Benjamin Britten, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson and Joyce Grenfell.

Stephen Potter was famous in the 1950s and 1960s for his Gamesmanship and One-Upmanship books. In the 1940s, he was widely known as a key writer/producer of Feature programmes. He made 230 of these, showing astounding versatility. Literary and Natural History programmes jostle with his biography of Winston Churchill on VE day and his ‘How’ series.

The Diaries. Stephen Potter kept detailed diaries of his day-to-day life. These provide a unique insight into the workings of the BBC immediately before, during and after the war. They also give an account of what it felt like on the Home Front, and of his experiences during the blitz, in both London and Manchester.

‘Portrait of an extraordinary outpouring of talent and energy’ The Spectator

‘Julian Potter's well-chosen extracts from his father's diaries are a welcome reminder that there was more to wartime radio than Handley's ITMA and The Brains TrustTimes Literary Supplement

‘A finely researched and lavishly informative handbook about the days when radio was king.’ Humphrey Carpenter

‘Long may we remember the brilliance of pioneers and craftsmen like Stephen Potter. His son, in this book, does him proud.’ Libby Purves

‘Just homage to an artist whose innovative brilliance has not until now been given its due.’ Elizabeth Jane Howard

Read more review comments on the book

Stephen Potter at the BBC was published in April 2004 and can be ordered at bookshops. Alternatively, you can order your copy of Stephen Potter at the BBC now, post free, direct from Orford Books. For this, please send a note with your name, address, telephone number and e-mail, together with a cheque made out to Orford Books for £20 per copy to: Orford Books, 14 Ferry Road, Orford, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 2NR. The book will be despatched within a week.