Image credit: David Hendy introduces the 100 voices website © Connected Histories of the BBC

Britain Reimagined: A New Oral History of the BBC

On Tuesday July 10 2018 the project’s second public event was held at the British Library in London.

35 people attended the free event, where they were able to view rare footage from the BBC’s vaults and consider what it can tell us about how our national broadcaster has imagined – and reimagined – Britain, its people, and their changing place in the world.

Guests were invited to contribute to the project by sharing their memories of the events, completing a survey, and three guests were invited to share their reminiscences in filmed interviews.

They were given a sneak preview of the new 100 voices website, and the opportunity to see footage from the BBC oral histories archive.

Mike Phillips (pictured above) chatted with David Hendy about the BBC. Mike’s son accompanied him, along with his brother, Trevor Philips.

Through a series of clips, lectures and discussions, the event focussed on the challenges presented for the BBC by increased immigration and multiculturalism. For a broadcaster  that claimed to speak to the whole nation, this meant a demand for new programmes, new voices, new faces. Clips from rare, previously unseen  footage from the BBC archives were shown to give insight into the BBC’s attempts to reflect working-class life, to be less metropolitan in outlook, to represent different faiths – in short, to be truly inclusive.

The event concluded with a tour of the British Library’s Windrush exhibition, led by the exhibition’s curators.