From Empire to World Service: An Introduction*

  • Gordon JohnstonEmail author
  • Emma Robertson


In this first full-length history of the BBC World Service, Johnston and Robertson argue that from the launch of the Empire Service in 1932 to the World Service of today, debates about the role of the BBC overseas broadcasting services have always involved deliberations about the future of the UK and its place in the world. To understand the history and trajectory of the BBC overseas broadcasting services, Johnston and Robertson discuss five interrelated themes: the relationship between overseas broadcasting and foreign policy; the constitutional position of the BBC and its status as a public service broadcaster; the composition of the BBC’s worldwide audiences; the impact of technological change; and the recognition that the BBC has agency in its own history.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.History Program, Department of Archaeology and HistoryLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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