Tuesday 6 January 2009

Lance Sieveking

On this day in 1972, Lance Sieveking died. This brief outline gives some idea of his remarkable life and works - getting ever more remarkable as you read on. I particularly like the quote from Val Gielgud - clearly Sieveking was gifted and impossible, a common enough combination. He was one of many such men involved in the early BBC - men with a maverick quality and a strong individuality, often laced with eccentricity - the kind of people you need in a fledgling organisation (a fledgling medium) that is feeling its way towards what it can do. Such men (and they were nearly all men) gave the BBC a distinctive flavour that lasted into the 1950s - it is beautifully evoked in Penelope Fitzgerald's Human Voices, set in a wartime Broadcasting House. Now, of course, the BBC would never dream of employing any of them - nor, I imagine, would they wish to work for what the BBC now is.


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