‘How can we help you?’ Hugh Greene and the BBC Coloured Conferences

Darrell M. Newton


This essay examines a 1965 meeting between The British Broad Casting Corporation (BBC) Director General Hugh Greene, and members of the West Indian community. The assembly was significant, in that Greene and other managers actively sought the opinions of these citizens as the BBC planned new programmes on race relations. This unusual effort came after the Nottingham and Notting Hill riots exposed obvious racial tensions in a country that claimed no colour bar, and the highly controversial Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962. The discussions created possibilities within a social and institutional environment foreshadowed by social tensions examined by 1950s programming, yet seldom from the perspective of West Indians scholars or citizens. Further highlighted, through the examination of original documents at the Written Archives Centre, Caversham, Reading, are discursive elements and the varied perspectives of these attendees. How did these muted voices affect previous programming decisions, televised representations of race, and the canonical formation of programming texts?

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7227/ERCT.3.2.1


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Copyright (c) 2012 Darrell M. Newton