These were the days when announcers wore dinner jackets in the evenings, and he explains this practice: “In the evening most of the people of our sort did change into dinner jackets, if they weren’t wearing white ties and going to a really grand dinner party. And the people who came to speak, who gave the talks, very often in the evening had evening dress themselves. So it would have rather odd in a way to encounter some person who was representing the BBC, who gave them a drink afterwards, and that sort of thing, if they weren’t wearing the same kind of rig-out.”

But Grisewood, who moved into Programme Planning in 1936, does not deny that in the 1930s the BBC was predominately stuffy and narrow-minded. He cites Basil Nicolls objecting to his being seen in public with a friend who wore a pink shirt, remarking that this was “not BBC”, and he tells how Ogilvie, the then Director-General, suggested that the Nazis could be persuaded to stop persecuting the Jews if the BBC broadcast “Beatrice Harrison playing the cello in the woods, so that the nightingale would sing for her” – this was a famous programme at the time. When Grisewood expressed astonishment, Ogilvie replied: “The Germans are very sentimental about the nightingale; it might persuade them to take a more peaceful view.”

Humphrey Carpenter, “The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3”.

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