This is the largest sequence of miscellaneous files for radio contributors dating before 1963. (The official dates for this Registry sequence were for papers created between 1922 and 1962, but Accession Books list files as dating from the 1930s onwards.) The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to the engagement of those who contributed towards BBC radio talks programmes before 1963. These files cover Talks contributions to both the BBC’s domestic and overseas programmes but not, generally, regional programmes.
The papers cover the engagement of ‘speakers’ with the Talks department. Talks covered any programme that involved the spoken word, excluding news bulletins and drama. The talks therefore covered a range of different subjects and could take place in the form of running commentaries, practical instruction, lectures, discussions, debates, recitals and readings.
These papers usually refer to speakers who had few or no bookings with the BBC before 1963 and were not considered to have enough paperwork to warrant their own personal file. If a speaker is not listed in the run of files for RCONT1 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT3 files.
The contents of the papers can vary depending on the contributor, but the material sometimes follows the entire process for booking speakers for Talks. A large quantity of material is in the form of correspondence. In many instances, the outside contributor would contact the BBC with an idea of a talk that they wished to deliver on radio. In other cases the Talks department would initially contact people that they wanted to deliver a talk.
Following initial contact, the department would request a synopsis or draft of the work to review before making a decision as to whether or not to broadcast. Some drafts could be reviewed a few times before finally being accepted for broadcast, or indeed rejected. Through this process paperwork such as booking requisition forms and contracts was created. Occasionally the papers will include a synopsis of a proposed talk or a draft script. The papers do not generally include the final versions of scripts that were accepted, although a number of broadcast scripts are held on microfilm within in the Radio Talks Scripts series (see ‘Related Units of Description’).