Val Gielgud's history of the beginnings of radio drama in British Radio Drama 1922-1956 (Gielgud 1957)
2.1.2 Howard Rose's early wireless career
2.1.4 Possible inaccuracies in Gielgud's history
2.1.5 'Cyrano' omitted
2.1.7 Regional Stations omitted
2.1.8 Mention of boycott omitted
2.1.9 R.E. Jeffrey gun anecdote omitted
2.1.10 Billing in 'The Radio Times'
2.1.19 Howard Rose's recollection of the 2 September 1922 Marconi experiment in wireless drama
Val Gielgud's discussion of early wireless drama in chapter one of British Radio Drama 1922-1956 (Gielgud 1957), before his own appointment in 1929, has to be regarded as authoritative, because he had access to key information and personnel, and because he had a famous story to tell. Gielgud states of the first official transmission of radio drama:
The archives of the B.B.C. give the date as February 16, 1923.
(Gielgud, 1957, 17)
He relies here on the B.B.C. Programme Records 1922-1926 and The B.B.C. Year-Book 1930 (189), I claim. Gielgud's story is a strict, progressive evolution to his present. He claimed:
I saw the broadcasting of plays grow from an indifferent joke to professional maturity ..
He had previously described radio production before his arrival:
Production methods were largely those of trial and error. It was beyond imagination in those days to conceive of a genuine art of radio acting of the sort of mastery of microphone technique to which we have become accustomed.
('The Radio Times' 10 January 1947 p 4)
R.E. Jeffrey's reputation is soundly trashed his predecessor, and credit is warmly given to Howard Rose, who retired in 1946 according to Gielgud, though in fact this was August 1949 (record in his B.B.C. file). Plaudits also go to Cecil A. Lewis, Lord Reith, and less so to Lance Sieveking. (This latter explained in a wartime letter to Richard Hughes that he had long felt sidelined (B.B.C. Caversham correspondence file for Richard Hughes).) 1925-8, according to Gielgud, 'may fairly be called the Jeffrey-Rose period [when] there appeared embryos of practically all the later and well-known offspring of the Drama Department' (21).
It is to Rose's memory that Gielgud says 'I owe most of the recollected history of the first years at Savoy Hill' (9) and the quotes from Rose are probably a memorandum written in his retirement at Gielgud's request. (Gielgud cites Rose's writing (22).) So here is Rose's early career in wireless, according to Gielgud. Rose was in the cast of the first (mysterious?) broadcast in Britain of radio drama, in Marconi House on 2 September 1922, he directed 'Westward Ho!'(7 April 1925 London S.B. to all stations 7.30-9.15) and in the first six months of his appointment, July-December 1925, he was 'responsible for no fewer than seventy plays broadcast' (21). He also directed 'The White Chateau' (11 November 1925 2LO London 8.30-9.30). Rose was the first to use a 'Mixing-and-controlling Unit' (22-3) - miking actors separately and balancing the output resulting in the 1928 'Dramatic-control Panel', and he was the first to use 'artificial echo' as an effect (23).
But while Gielgud's history is both serious and entertaining, and clear, and lays out milestones, it is also partial, silent on a couple of issues, and has its own emphases. I build up a detailed argument here and in other sections of this study. In 3.2 I deal with the 'birth' of radio drama ('Shakespeare' 16 February 1923) and throw doubt on Gielgud's version. My research involves the bringing together of credits in 'The Radio Times', Wearing's listing of London stage productions, along other records, and then their interpretation. The case I build is detailed and it will take some patience in the reader. I have had to divide it into three sections (here, 2.2 on Eckersley, and 3.2) and cross-reference to production in 1925 (5.1).
Gielgud was faced with a daunting task in British Radio Drama 1922-1956. The opening reference to radio drama as 'Cinderella' expresses it elegantly:
And Television Drama snatched the glass slipper, and married the Prince.
Presumably he wrote the book to shore up radio drama and B.B.C. radio in its darkest hour, by celebrating the story of radio drama, naming the heroes (himself very included), and displaying their photographs. But how was he to research his predecessors? He was faced with back copies of 'The Radio Times', but:
A detailed account of plays presented on the British air over a period of roughly thirty years - complete with titles, authors, and casts - would have been boring, if not intolerable, to read.
There may have been little management paperwork of importance remaining from 1922-8, to judge by what is now stored in Caversham.
Gielgud was not to leave his B.B.C. post till 1963 and he had a researcher, Kathleen Hutchings (10), and for the 1922-8 period, the memorandum of Howard Rose in his retirement (as I have suggested), along with material from C.A. Lewis, Lance Sieveking and others. So the case I build is threefold. R.E. Jeffrey's work is given the lowest appraisal by Gielgud, and as I have said, there must have been good reason for this, but perhaps not totally. Most of the evidence is now lost to us. Howard Rose claims directing credits for which, I think, there is less evidence, and in the overall case I build, good suspicion again never provable of him claiming Jeffrey's work for his own, up to the end of 1925. And I think I have substantially proved that Gielgud's opening page account of the birth of radio drama is an impressive diplomatic fiction, except for the date and 'Shakespeare' (in 3.2). He creates a grander Nativity than the likely humbler event one Shakespeare scene and two obscure actors. Again, there are connections with Rose.
Gielgud admits some curious action on his part against R.E. Jeffrey in 1928. He says, in his Chapter 3, 'Almost Too Personal', when he talks of his lack of experience in radio drama before his appointment, that he, Gielgud, had 'written - under a pseudonym - a number of letters to the Radio Times dealing, I fear rather critically, with certain aspects of the work of R. E. Jeffrey's department' (35). Do they amount to a campaign to destabilise R.E. Jeffrey? Was this just enthusiastic journalism? Letters I have surveyed in the second half of 1928, when Gielgud had joined the B.B.C., were all in favour of radio drama. In April to June, contributors such as A.E.A. of Barnstable ('we switch off .. Have any of the directors of staff listened to one?', 'The Radio Times' 27 April 1928) and R. de B.S., Warwicks. ('only a very second best affair a hotch-potch of different voices', 'The Radio Times' 1 June 1928, p 390) were part of a radio drama controversy. At all events, this admission gives the flavour of Gielgud's history.
Here are some main points which will be detailed below and elsewhere. In Chapter One, How It All Began, no mention is made of P.P. Eckersley's Writtle excerpts from 'Cyrano de Bergerac' on 17 October 1922, the experiment which was the British pioneer, according to 'The Radio Times', among other authorities (31 October 1924 p 238). This is a sin of omission - of Orwellian proportions (as is discussed in 2.2). Peter Eckersley resigned from the B.B.C. in May 1929 (Chief Engineer from 1923), due to a forthcoming divorce action and pressure from Reith. Gielgud's book is dedicated to Reith. According to Leonard Miall's Inside the B.B.C. British Broadcasting Characters:
The strict standards of his [Reith's] manse upbringing forced the resignation of his talented original chief engineer, Peter Eckersley, when he was about to be cited as the guilty party in a divorce action involving a fellow member of staff.
(Miall, 1994, 10)
Cecil Lewis's book, Broadcasting From Within, which was published in January 1924, paid tribute to the Tuesday half-hours at Writtle and its director, 'our dearly beloved Chief Engineer, P. P. Eckersley' (Lewis, 1924, 10). Lewis always wrote clearly and jovially too, when needed:
Writtle was not just half an hour's first-class amusement, it was a birthplace of brain waves! The first wireless play-a scene from Cyrano de Bergerac-was performed, among many other diverting things, and the first wireless humorist of 2 Emma Toc proclaimed himself ahead of the times.
'The Radio Times' of 31 October 1924, is quite clear about Eckersley being number one, so soon after the event:
On October 17th, 1922, Writtle established the record of being the first British station to broadcast a play.
Perhaps it would not do to have Chapter 1 of British Radio Drama 1922-1956 begin with an account of 'Cyrano' in the Writtle wooden hut. But Briggs, not long after Gielgud, quotes R.T.B. Wynn in 'London Calling' 10 October 1946, that Eckersley's was 'the first play ever to be broadcast in this country' (Briggs, 1961, 70-71).
So we are left with Howard Rose's recollection of acting in the Marconi House 'experiment' of 2 September 1922. This has to be considered together with Rose's other recollections below, shortly, but I find this suspect. I will return to this in 2.1.19-21.
Secondly, and this is very puzzling, there is no mention of output from the regional Stations by Gielgud. Yet, as I have outlined in the Introduction (Introduction 2.2.7), much pioneering was done in the big six - Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast rather than in London in the first years, and wireless Repertory Companies were set up from the start. Gielgud makes no mention of Victor Smythe in Manchester, Edward P. Genn in Liverpool, Stuart Vinden in Birmingham, Gordon McConnel in Cardiff, George Ross in Glasgow and Gordon Lea in Newcastle, to name the most prominent.
Genn, Vinden and McConnel were still directing (and acting) up to 1928 and beyond, George Ross till 1927, and Victor Smythe was a director right up to the 1930s in what became B.B.C. North. Any shuffle through back copies of 'The Radio Times' tells the story and the officially B.B.C.-bound 1920s copies still survive for consultation in Broadcasting House. Output from those regional repertory companies was already being reduced from 1927-8 when Daventry 5XX got fully operational.
Gielgud however mentions the early London attempt to found a Repertory Company in 1927 (21), though he says it failed. His own achievement was to bring this Company about (8). Becoming overall head in 1929, it became his task to monitor these regional companies and then to decide their fates. Gielgud's story of wireless drama is totally that of London's achievements and he fails to credit regional playwrights and directors duly, and their own regional repertory companies. They had already run flourishing repertory companies, some right back to 1923 and certainly 1924.
Another omission is that of the boycott on the B.B.C., called by musicians, artists and management in April 1923 and not fully resolved till November 1928 (Introduction 2.2.4, 1.9). The B.B.C. Yearbook 1930 is surprisingly frank about it in its history of the British Broadcasting Company till 1926 (159-160, 170, 178). I argue that it had a serious effect on Savoy Hill output. It was a very current issue still in 1928, as Gielgud took up employment with the B.B.C. Indeed, as Editor of 'The Radio Times', he published a long, hard-hitting statement about its resolution by theatre impresario, George Black ('The Radio Times' 23 November 1928, p. 507-9). Perhaps a mention of the boycott would reflect on troubled relations with actors and playwrights.
One other omission from Gielgud is an anecdote that did the rounds and appeared, for example in The B.B.C. Yearbook 1930, 169-170. It was about trying out a gun as Spot effect for the first time and rather too enthusiastically down the Savoy Hill stairs. R.E. Jeffrey is the one who 'was seized with the desire to make the report of a gun sound convincingly real when heard through the microphone'. The gun anecdote previously appeared, varied somewhat, in 'A Tour Round Savoy Hill' by H. Lea Chilman in The Wireless World:
not very long ago I met a comparatively new office-boy dashing around the corner of one of the passages; on enquiring as to the reason for his exceptional haste, he explained that he had been walking past No. 2 (B) [Effects Studio for drama] when suddenly the door had partly opened, and a hand appeared grasping a huge revolver which had immediately "gone off" to the boy's astonishment.
(The Wireless World 30 March 1927, Vol 20 No 13, 388)
Cecil Lewis was holding the gun according to 'The Radio Times' version of 4 July 1930 p 7. There were few enough anecdotes connected with early wireless as opposed to the first decades of British television (collected in Norden 1985). But Gielgud does not attempt it perhaps because of the Jeffrey provenance?
The remainder of my critique of Gielgud here has to do with Howard Rose. There are some surprises when other evidence, especially from 'The Radio Times', comes into play. Rose was the pioneer according to Gielgud of key productions and emerging techniques. However, 'The Radio Times' gives the credit for 'Westward Ho!' (7 April 1925 ) and 'The White Chateau' (11 November 1925) to R.E. Jeffrey, with no mention of Rose. Jeffrey also claims the credit for key technological changes. I will also question Rose's responsibility for 'no fewer than seventy plays broadcast' in the second half of 1925 (21). This may or may not have been true but there is not evidence for this in 'The Radio Times' billing. What follows is an investigation of this claim and there is further discussion in 5.2.
A bit of detective work is called for here, which involves decoding the listings and crediting system of 'The Radio Times', and guessing at incomplete information. Presumably each production for the whole network of Stations was numbered in Savoy Hill, not least for financial records, and that made it possible for Howard Rose to come up with the figure of seventy broadcasts from July to December 1925. I have counted a total of 147 separate pieces broadcast across Stations from July to December 1925, and 39 of these broadcast from London. So it depends what is meant by the wording: 'he was responsible, between his appointment and the end of 1925, for no fewer than seventy plays broadcast!' This suggests that he directed this total and that cannot be so. Jeffrey is credited with twelve London productions and others are credited too. The figures do not tally.
Billing in 'The Radio Times' is not always clear and there was often not a distinction between 'legitimate' drama and variety. At one end of the spectrum was, for example, a one-hour prestige production of 'She Stoops To Conquer' (1 October 1925 London 8.20-9.20), with Miles Malleson and Henry Oscar, and Carleton Hobbs making his wireless debut (as Hastings). And then there were sketches ('Wow-Wow', 15 minutes) and revues ('Winners' 'A Revusical Extravaganza'), which contained sketches, and some of these were directed by R.E. Jeffrey (as billed in 'The Radio Times').
I count 39 productions in the London Station itself for July-December 1925, as mentioned above, and these range, as I said, from sketches and one-acters to the biggest project, the radio adaptation of James Elroy Flecker's 'Hassan'. (Two of these productions were double bills and one treble-bill.) Not all were broadcast on 2LO. They sometimes went out to all stations (S.B. = simultaneous broadcast) and sometimes only from Savoy Hill to Birmingham, Cardiff or Newcastle. For most, no producer is credited not unusual for 'The Radio Times' (24 productions with no producer credited). Howard Rose has only one credit as producer in 1925, for 'A Woman of No Importance' by Oscar Wilde (18 September 1925 Cardiff 8-10), and he also played the role of Gerald Arbuthnot in this. This is one of the eight productions from London which were one hour or more in duration during these months. Further, it was only the second production of a complete Oscar Wilde play so far.
Gielgud also mentions Rose as being the first radio Algernon in 'The Importance of Being Ernest', which must have been that of 1924 (13 May 1924 London and S.B. to all Stations 7.30-9.30), though no actors are listed. Rose also has an acting credit for 'The Little Stone House' by George Calderon (13 October 1925 London 8.10-8.40), part of a double bill with a play co-written by R.E. Jeffrey (*'Bright Gold' by R.E. Jeffrey and Frank H. Shaw). So it is possible that Rose was producer for the Calderon.
R.E. Jeffrey has twelve credits in 'The Radio Times' in the period July December 1925: six of these are for revues, which must have included sketches ('Winners' and 'Radio Radiance'), and the most important is James Elroy Flecker's 'Hassan' (8 November 1925 London), with a cast of 24 and music specially composed by Percy Fletcher and Delius. This recreated the famous London production (Ernest Milton, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies) and was co-produced by R.E. Jeffrey and David Calthrop. The B.B.C. Yearbook 1930 gives it a special credit as bringing 'wireless dramatic technique to a pitch previously unknown' (180). As just mentioned, Jeffrey also co-wrote 'Bright Gold' and surely directed it, and was responsible for a naval double bill, 'England Expects' (21 October 1925 London 8-9.45).
Crucially, Gielgud gives credit to Howard Rose for producing the most famous play of this period:
Finally, as the coping-stone to the progress of Radio Drama in 1925, Rose produced, on Armistice Day, the first full-length play specially written for the medium - The White Chateau, by Reginald Berkeley. This play, which was generally acknowledged as being of both importance and quality, marked a great advance on anything that had been done before.
Perhaps it is inappropriate to doubt this clear witness statement given via Gielgud. However, 'The Radio Times' billing for 'The White Chateau' was 'presented by R.E. Jeffrey', with no mention of Howard Rose. As raised above (Introduction 5.2), billing in 'The Radio Times' is often incomplete when it comes to producers and also, 'presented by' could, just could, possibly be ambiguous. It could be a blanket term, or it could mean what we now call being a producer rather than a director (taking the terms over from American film). 'Presented by' could refer to the casting, and overall business and creative administration of the production, rather than the directing of the play itself in the studio. But 'presented by' in 'The Radio Times' invariably means 'directed by', on my understanding. I also add that in the printed edition of the script, a paperback, at the end of the cast listing there is 'Producer: R.E. Jeffrey' (Berkeley, 1925, 7).
As this is detective work, there are other possibilities. Jeffrey could have taken the limelight over his subordinate in the billing or there could have been a substitution of Rose after the copy had gone in to 'The Radio Times', three weeks before. All that can be said here is that in the billing for this most prestigious production ('The White Chateau, 11 November 1925), Howard Rose is not credited. When 'The White Chateau' was next broadcast (16 August 1926 London and S.B. all Stations 8-9.30), it had the same lone credit, 'presented by R.E. Jeffrey'. 'The White Chateau' was such a large and technically difficult production that Howard Rose must surely have been assistant director. Just the Sunday before, another enormous broadcast had taken place, that of the musical verse-play 'Hassan' as mentioned above (8 November 1925 2LO 3.30-5.30). The Dramatics Department must have been at full stretch, with rehearsals for actors, and for orchestra and chorus. (See 5.2.8 on the recent arrival of Donald Calthrop as part-time B.B.C. producer and details there of his three directing credits in 'The Radio Times'.)
Given the importance of 'The White Chateau' (cast of 17 including Henry Oscar, Milton Rosmer, Victor Lewisohn, Cathleen Nesbitt and Phyllis Panting, the first one-hour origination), and given its politically-charged subject matter, surely the Dramatic Director, R.E. Jeffrey, would have directed it? (See 5.6 for discussion of this play.) Reginald Berkeley reveals in the introduction to his 'Machines' play text, that 'The White Chateau' had to survive two internal Savoy Hill crises. The 'Programme Board stepped in' and demanded it be cut down to half-an-hour and then, in response to the international signing of the Treaty of Locarno, the play was cancelled for a while (Berkeley, 1928, 20-21). Further, Berkeley mentions R.E. Jeffrey and nowhere does he cite Rose. One could also add that the Crawford Committee started to review the structure of the B.B.C. from 19 August 1925 and broadcasting 'controversial' material was keenly discussed by all (Briggs, 1961, 248 ff.)
Further, given the subsequent reputation of 'The White Chateau' as the most important play to come out of this period, revived also in 1948 (4 August 1948 Third 9.30-11, producer Peter Watts), is it just possible that Howard Rose might have claimed the credit for directing it, now that R.E. Jeffrey had long departed? I have already mentioned that 'The Radio Times' gave the credit for 'Westward Ho!' (7 April 1925), again claimed by Rose, to R.E. Jeffrey. Since Rose would then have been a guest director for this, not yet being a B.B.C. employee, perhaps it would have been more likely that he would be credited? (See 5.3.9 for the 'Radioviews' and other innovations claimed for this production.)
Another 'Radio Times' example is the credit given guest director Milton Rosmer for what was really the first non-Shakespearean play broadcast by 2LO, 'Five Birds in a Cage' one-act play (Gertrude E. Jennings), 29 November 1923 London 7.50-8.25. 'The Radio Times' gives the credit 'produced by Milton Rosmer'. Another guest, Lewis Casson is credited for his double-bill on 19 February 1924, 'The Tragedy of Mr Punch' and 'Columbine'. Also, R.E. Jeffrey is credited with, for example, the London Shakespeare Night (18 November 1924 London 7.30-9.30) 'Dramatic Director R.E. Jeffrey', and the three major Shakespeare productions from 2LO in 1925 (the remaining four do not have a producer credited).
Rose also claimed to be the first to use a 'Mixing-and-controlling Unit' (22-3), the Control Panel. However, the great 1925 innovation that was acclaimed in 'The Radio Times' was other then this, though vitally connected. This was the use of more than one studio for a production 'multiple studio' technique. It was the main reason for the invention of the early Control Panel (fading and balancing), and was excitingly used, and over-used, in Cecil Lewis's 'Pursuit' (6 January 1928 Daventry 8.45-10 and 7 January 1928 2LO London and Daventry 5XX 7.45-9.15). Crucially, this invention was claimed by R.E. Jeffrey, from his first experiment in 1925:
Over three years ago, when I produced a little play entitled 'All Aboard Going Aboard', to demonstrate for the first time the multiple studio and microphone method of radio production, and over four thousand people wrote in and talked about the 'new technique'.
('The Radio Times' 28 September 1928 p 617)
This was also mentioned in 'The Daily Chronicle', 1 January 1929. Later, Cecil Lewis explained the innovation:
I personally was greatly excited by the possibilities of radio drama and with the help of engineers developed what was then called 'the multi-studio technique', the original 'mixing panel' by which sound from different studios could be brought in and blended, music, artists, sound effects, into a single transmission. It is a commonplace of today: then it was an exciting innovation and I wrote a play to demonstrate its effectiveness ['Pursuit'].
(Lewis, 1974, 69)
Both R.E. Jeffrey and Cecil Lewis, as I read them, share credit with the Savoy Hill engineers. They do not encourage belief in Rose's claim for priority.
Here are a couple of other small points. One of the early anecdotes Gielgud has to tell again comes from Howard Rose and leads to the pay-off line from Rose, 'Our theatrical upbringing died hard with all of us' (20) a key point to make. Gielgud understands that there had been a wireless production of G. K. Chesterton's 'Magic':
' a curious breakaway into less conventional fields because the first and most essential dramatic climax of that piece is one essentially visual'.
In fact this was not an in-house Savoy Hill wireless production, but a relay from the Everyman Theatre in Hampstead of extracts from the play (23 August 1923 London 7.30-8.30). 'Magic' had the starry cast that Gielgud gives all to become wireless actors - and was produced by Harcourt Williams. It was revived in 1925 and Gielgud must have seen it on stage (Wearing 23.196 25.139). There was no point in accuracy getting in the way of a good story and anyway, 'The Radio Times' had not yet begun publication. (I have checked the listing from 'The Times' for accurate information.)
Rose did not, apparently, deserve all the plaudits of Gielgud. Here is Humphrey Carpenter, in his The Envy of the World. Fifty Years of the B.B.C. Third Programme and Radio 3 1946-1996, on the year 1946:
.. [Rose] made actors mark their scripts with coloured pencils 'yellow for emotion', says [David] Spenser [the actor], 'red for getting excited, and there were purples and greens. By the time he had finished, I didn't know what I was doing. But about halfway through transmission, he would get up, put on his coat, doff his hat through the window to the cast, and go off he had to catch his last train home! And suddenly the acting style changed; everyone had been freed!'
(Carpenter, 1996, 44)
The earliest surviving script of his in Caversham his own as producer is 'Love One Another' (L. du Garde Peach), 5 January 1932, and like others of his surviving in the archive, is extraordinary in marking up every syllable for emphasis or non-emphasis, and the pauses and run-ons.
Having surveyed the formative history of radio drama through Rose's memorandum false memory syndrome or not? it is time to return to Rose's first historical statement, contesting the very birth. Was this in Marconi House on 2 September 1922 (Rose) or in Writtle and with 'Cyrano' on 17 October 1922 (Eckersley)? There are two further pieces of historical information to add here: Rose's acting credits and the record of the Marconi transmission for that date.
Firstly, during these months, Howard Rose was playing the role of Sir Reginald Bassett in 'The Way of an Eagle' (Ethel M. Dell) at the Adelphi Theatre, from 20 June 1922 to 30 September 1922. (Four years later, Rose would direct this play for wireless, 'A studio version of the play, founded on the well-known book by Ethel M. Dell' (16 June 1926 2LO London 8-9.30).) Secondly, there are the records in the Marconi Archive for that 2 September as each transmission required detailing of content and official authorisation from The Secretary, General Post Office. As Briggs says, 'early operations were tightly bound by red tape' but then there was some relaxation (Briggs, 1961, 72-5). It so happens that the broadcast for 2 September was one of the 'demonstrations' that were given 'for the benefit of special audiences gathered together by outside bodies' (78). The Marconi Archive records the Marconi request by letter (28 August 1922) to transmit from 6-6.30 and from 7-7.30 'from Marconi House to Town Park, Enfield, on the occasion of a Flower Show and Fete in aid of Enfield War Memorial Hospital'. There also survives the Post Office authorization (P.O. reference 133405/22, dated 29 August 1922) giving permission and demanding that the 'receiving apparatus and aerial installed at Town Park, Enfield for the demonstration in question shall be dismantled and removed as soon as possible'. (I am indebted to Louise Weymouth, Company Archivist, Marconi PLC for permission to consult the documents.)
I think Rose's acting credit and the Marconi archive are conclusive. But to add to these, I have found no reference to this 2 September 1922 wireless drama experiment in Arthur Burrows's book, The Story of Broadcasting, which was published in October 1924 (Burrows 1924). Cecil Lewis describes how Marconi House 2LO 'gave a number of concerts during the summer and autumn of 1922 of short duration' (Lewis, 1924, 11), and as mentioned above, he was the first in print about Eckersley as the pioneer. Again, all I can point out is that Burrows did not dispute 'Cyrano' in his subsequent book and in that same October 1924, 'The Radio Times' stated that Eckersley was the pioneer. And to repeat information given above, the next statement about 'Cyrano' comes in R.T.B. Wynn's article in 'London Calling' 10 October 1946 (quoted by Briggs, 1961, 71) - 'the first play ever to be broadcast in this country', relatively soon before Gielgud published British Radio Drama 1922-1956. Myles Eckersley informs me that Briggs interviewed his father Peter carefully in his research and that the two were acquainted. Briggs does not refer to the Howard Rose claim of 2 September 1922.
So it is time to look again at Gielgud and Howard Rose:
On the other hand, Howard Rose, who should know, as he was a member of the cast, has told me of a broadcast on September 2, 1922.
(Gielgud, 1957, 17)
It is the Enfield Flower Show and Fete 'demonstration' versus Rose's recollection. That is the end of the detective trail. There are three statements in print about Eckersley as pioneer of radio drama and then there is Howard Rose's recollection of 2 September 1922. My contribution has been to bring these together, to research new material, to question other parts of Gielgud's early history, especially about the 'Shakespeare' broadcast of 16 February 1923, to throw into doubt Rose's statements and their combination. I think that there is a pattern here Gielgud composed an impressive diplomatic fiction.
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