At the AGM in October we launched the 100 Voices and 100 Objects projects.
As unofficial patron of what he encouragingly called ‘the terrific’ 100 Voices project, Will Wyatt spoke of the importance of aural history. Frank Gillard and Ron Neil had begun to record people but concentrated largely on management -’The suits’.
The strengths of our Project are first that the recordings will not be locked away but be there for everyone to hear and secondly we want to capture the reminiscences of people who worked for the BBC at all levels: ‘From kitchens to boardroom’ . We are trying to get candid (but not libellous!) accounts from a range of people not as formal interviews but more as conversations. We hope this makes people feel at ease as they talk.
Will has agreed to provide ‘a view from the bridge’ while meanwhile we are getting stories from people who worked in various engine rooms. These recordings are turning out to be very good listening and they should soon be available on the open site of our website during the centenary year. If we succeed in getting people from all parts of the BBC family to contribute, we shall have a unique audio collection which will be of value to future historians as well as providing very interesting listening now. We’ve already made recordings of people who worked as producers, engineers, secretaries, accountants, pensions officers, presenters, researchers, cameraman and so on. But we need more offers to make recordings – especially people such as make up artists, wardrobe assistants, telephone operators, props buyers, cooks, waitresses, armourers, ‘sparks’ or receptionists. Everyone has stories to tell and we’d like to hear them. If you’d like to take part, please contact us with a few personal details at membership@BBCPA.co.uk
If you have a computer connected to the Internet we can post out a USB microphone, an engineer will do a test run and then arrange a time and after the recording you post the mic back. If you don’t have suitable equipment, within reason, we can arrange a face-to-face interview if you live in the London area or in parts of the north of England. If recordings are made using the Internet, we use online software which can produce broadcast quality recordings, if the microphones are good enough. Mobile phones and tablets do have excellent microphones these days but they need to be used with care. If you wanted to use one of those, we’d need to do a test.
One word of warning: if you offer to make a recording, please be patient as there are only a few members of the Committee working on this and each recording needs technically managing and quite a bit of editing to remove pauses and fluffs. In the interest of balance we may record people out of the order in which they apply. As Will Wyatt said: “You don’t want too many ‘suits’!”
David Allen, George Auckland, Jonathan Smith, Colin Sykes