The Empire Service and English-Language Broadcasting

  • Gordon JohnstonEmail author
  • Emma Robertson


Johnston and Robertson discuss the pioneering work of the BBC Empire Service in the 1930s and how it sought to connect expatriates living and working in the colonies and dominions to the ‘Mother Country’. Drawing on audience surveys, listeners’ letters and programme content, Johnston and Robertson chart the development of radio as a global medium and unpack how Britishness was imagined and experienced at ‘home’ and across the empire in the 1930s and early 1940s. While the BBC attempted to distance themselves from purely ‘sentimental’ motivations for overseas broadcasts, audience responses reveal the intense emotional power of interwar radio as it intertwined with diasporic nostalgia.

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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