About the book
Writing to Philip Rahv on 9 December 1943, Orwell described his time at the BBC as 'two wasted years', yet this volume continues to show how much he achieved. Among the educational series in this period were those devoted to new developments in science, modern English verse, great dramatists, and psychology; there were series, such as 'Books That Changed the World' which included broadcast talks on great books from East and West. Among those who broadcast for Orwell were John Lehmann, V.S. Pritchett and Stephen Spender. Oliver Bell, Director of the British Film Institute, took over film reviewing, and the series of shortened versions of Indian plays continued.
Orwell adapted four 'featurised stories', and broadcast talks on Macbeth and Lady Windermere's Fan. He continued to broadcast to Malaya and wrote and read news commentaries for Indonesia. He wrote over a dozen reviews, several essays, and a long study, 'The Detective Story' printed here for the first time in its original French version and in an English translation.
The volume concludes with two appendices: the devastating report by the Intelligence Officer, Laurence Brander on the ineffectiveness of the BBC's broadcasting service to India; and, Orwell's preparatory notes for 'The Quick & the Dead' and 'The Last Man in Europe'.