‘A Bridge Between’

Anne Spry Rush

in Bonds of Empire

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588558
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728990 | DOI:
‘A Bridge Between’

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores the role of middle-class West Indians and native Britons, who shared a vision of a British Empire sustained by a culture based on respectability, in creating BBC policies and broadcasts for the Caribbean from the 1940s to the 1960s. While striving to present to the West Indian audience the best of British and Caribbean culture, the London-based Colonial Service Department of the BBC, which included both native Britons and West Indians, advanced a color-blind version of middle-class Britishness, while also encouraging West Indians to explore their Caribbeanness. The Colonial Service declined as its focus on cultural uplift was challenged by regional differences, American culture, and a radio audience that had expanded well beyond the middle-class. Nevertheless, its success through the mid 1950s reaffirmed West Indians’ place in the British World in ways that would continue to resonate in the Caribbean and in Britain itself.

Keywords: American; audience; BBC; broadcasts; Caribbeanness; Colonial Service Department; cultural uplift; middle-class Britishness; native Britons; West Indians

Chapter.  20164 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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