By LornaL

Correspondence about cricket with the BBC

The BBC was only 5 years old when Lorna’s father Albert corresponded with the Director of Talks about cricket test matches. Albert was querying whether it might be possible for the BBC to broadcast the latest test match scores at breakfast time. The frosty reply from the BBC fits with Wikipedia’s statement that in its early days ‘the BBC was reluctant to spend its severely limited air time on long football or cricket games, regardless of their popularity’ (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC#1927_to_1939). It is amusing that Albert found an alternative source for the information that he sought: Radio Paris!

The text blipped is transcribed below.

From Lorna’s father to the BBC, November 12th 1932:

Out of the 5,000,000 BBC subscribers in this country I have no doubt there must be a million people who will be eagerly watching the fortunes of the MCC team in the test matches.

It would be very pleasant to hear a broadcast of the latest test scores each morning at 8 o’clock. I do not think that this effort would overpower the organisation of the BBC, while to thousands of listeners the latest score at breakfast time would be far more cheering that the fat stock prices at dinner in the evening.

From the BBC to Lorna’s father, November 16th 1932:

In reply to your letter of November 12th we cannot say anything definite as to the broadcasting of news of any kind, other than the result of events upon which we are transmitting a running commentary, before the normal time of 6pm. We have in mind, however, arrangements for eye-witness accounts of the test matches, and although our arrangements are still unsettled, there is a good prospect of some accounts of the cricket being given in Australia. These, however, will certainly not take place until the first match which is capable of deciding the fate of the Ashes, even then not until the second innings are reached.

From Lorna’s father to the the BBC, December 3rd 1932:

I wrote to you on 12th November - and the correspondence was dealt with by your ‘Talks’ department - with regard to announcing the result of the test match scores at 8am. You replied on 16th November, the following of which is an extract:

‘we cannot say anything definite as to the broadcasting of news of any kind’.

In the meantime one has to be content with obtaining this information at the same hour through Radio Paris. Was there ever a greater cause for the cry ‘Wake up England’.

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