The BBC (Hardback)

A People's History

David Hendy

A monumental work of popular history, making the case that the Beeb is as much of a National Treasure as the NHS

'A fascinating and informative account of the BBC's first 100 years' Daily Telegraph

'A dramatic tale of innovation and determination' Guardian

In 1922, three men - only one of whom had previously heard of 'broadcasting' - founded the BBC. In doing so, Arthur Burrows, Cecil Lewis, and John Reith set out to accomplish something utterly bold: using what had been a weapon of war - Marconi's wireless - to remake culture for the good of humanity.

In The BBC: A People's History, professor and historian David Hendy traces the BBC from its maverick beginnings through war, the creation of television, changing public taste, austerity and massive cultural change. The BBC has constantly evolved, developing from one radio station, to television, then multiple channels and now the competition with the internet and streaming services.

This is a history of a now global institution that defines Britain and created modern broadcasting; it is also a reflection of 100 years of British history.

Publication date: 27/01/2022

£25.00

ISBN: 9781781255254

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

The BBC (Ebook)

A People's History

David Hendy

A monumental work of popular history, making the case that the Beeb is as much of a National Treasure as the NHS

'A fascinating and informative account of the BBC's first 100 years' Daily Telegraph

'A dramatic tale of innovation and determination' Guardian

In 1922, three men - only one of whom had previously heard of 'broadcasting' - founded the BBC. In doing so, Arthur Burrows, Cecil Lewis, and John Reith set out to accomplish something utterly bold: using what had been a weapon of war - Marconi's wireless - to remake culture for the good of humanity.

In The BBC: A People's History, professor and historian David Hendy traces the BBC from its maverick beginnings through war, the creation of television, changing public taste, austerity and massive cultural change. The BBC has constantly evolved, developing from one radio station, to television, then multiple channels and now the competition with the internet and streaming services.

This is a history of a now global institution that defines Britain and created modern broadcasting; it is also a reflection of 100 years of British history.

Publication date: 27/01/2022

£15.99

ISBN: 9781782831945

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B09FS7R6WJ

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

The BBC (Paperback)

A People's History

David Hendy

A monumental work of popular history, making the case that the Beeb is as much of a National Treasure as the NHS

'Thorough and engaging ... you can't understand England without understanding the BBC' New York Times

'Fascinating and informative' Daily Telegraph

'A dramatic tale of innovation and determination' Guardian

In 1922, a tiny group of men and women came together to found the BBC, using what had been a weapon of war - Marconi's wireless - to remake culture for the good of humanity.

Twenty years later, when George Orwell famously quit the Corporation, he decided he was done 'doing work that produces no result'. Yet the BBC is now one of Britain's most beloved institutions. Stars once fainted at the microphone; now a select few spend their Saturdays waltzing for the nation's entertainment in front of studio cameras.

From Daleks to Desert Island Discs, the BBC has blazed a trail for British entertainment. Yet it has also always been at the forefront of global change, both breaking and covering the most important stories of the century on Panorama and BBC News.

This is a stirring and monumental history of the British cultural stalwart which created modern broadcasting one hundred years ago.

Publication date: 06/10/2022

£10.99

ISBN: 9781781255261

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for The BBC

'An impassioned defence [of] a national institution'

Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times

'A tale of creative endeavour and technological innovation, beset by a constant tension between leading and following the audience'

 FT

'Sympathetic but never uncritical, a masterpiece of lucid presentation ... this is the authoritative, much-needed history of the BBC's first century - a century at the heart of British everyday life. I hope it does its bit to counter the vandals'

David Kynaston, historian and Visiting Professor at Kingston University 

'A superb account ... David Hendy stages a cast of brilliant and sometimes flawed characters in a page-turning narrative. Quite simply wonderful'

Robert Gildea, Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford 

'A dramatic tale of innovation and determination ... at the dawning of what would turn out to be this country's biggest and most significant cultural institution'

Andrew Anthony Observer

'A fascinating and informative account of the BBC's first 100 years'

Robin Aitken Daily Telegraph

'David Hendy's magisterial The BBC: A People's History is a truly wonderful book. Captivating, compelling, moving, and richly detailed it is both a ground-breaking and important history of our national broadcaster and one of the best things I have read on the transformation of British society, culture, and politics since the 1920s'

Matt Houlbrook, Professor of Cultural History at University of Birmingham 

'Extraordinary ... Hendy's stated aim is a kind of history from below: a counterpoint to Asa Briggs's magisterial five-volume account of British broadcasting history to 1974, which occasionally gave the impression that the story of radio and TV consisted largely in calm, besuited bigwigs gliding through boardrooms and Whitehall, setting policies and initiating parliamentary committees. Hendy, rather, wants to give a place to the people who actually did the work ... At times, Hendy succeeds magnificently'

Charlotte Higgins Guardian

'Hendy ... combines a historian's sense of sweep with the eye for colour of the TV producer he once was'

 The Economist

'David Hendy's history of the BBC is both engaging and fair ... it is very much the case for the corporation, but it is a case that needs to be made'

Allan Massie Scotsman

'An appropriately large-scale account of the media giant at the very heart of British life ... Much of this history has been told before but never in such well-researched depth and sparkling detail'

 Kirkus

'Hendy tracks the Beeb from its chaotic formation and its pivotal, sometimes covert, roles during the Second World War through peaks and troughs ... packed [with] vivid tales'

Graeme Thomson Radio Times

'A solid ... case for the BBC's survival'

Clive Davis Times

'Lucid and well-researched'

Rod Liddle Spectator

David Hendy

David Hendy

David Hendy is a writer, broadcaster and Emeritus Professor of Media and Cultural History at the University of Sussex. His books include Life on Air: A History of Radio Four, which won the Longmans-History Today Book of the Year Award and was nominated for the Orwell Prize.