The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to contributions towards radio Light Entertainment Programmes 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 1950s onwards.) These files cover artist contributions to both the BBC’s domestic and overseas programmes but not, generally, regional programmes.
The papers cover the engagement of musicians and singers with the Light Entertainment (Sound) department. This department covered bookings for programmes that included variety acts such as music hall, vaudeville and cabaret.
These papers usually refer to those 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 musician, singer or group is not listed in the run of files for RCONT1 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT6 files.
The contents of the papers can vary depending on the artist, but the material sometimes follows the entire booking process for musicians and singers whose work fell under the Light Entertainment (Sound) category. A large quantity of the material is in the form of correspondence between the contributors and the BBC, and internal correspondence.
External contributors contacted the BBC in the hope of gaining an audition. They were invited to fill in an application for audition with the Light Entertainment or Variety departments, which can be included within the papers. These auditions were usually recorded and listened to at a later date by the Talent Selection Group, who would then submit a report. These reports can also be found within the papers. Following a favourable response, the musician or singer’s name would be added to a list of those available for broadcasting. When selected, a programme form would be completed by a member of BBC staff requesting a particular contributor. Those who were selected were issued contracts for their performances, some of which are retained in these papers. Other material relating to these contributors can include biographies or other promotional material, which was sent in to engage the interest of the department.