Radio Contributors Miscellaneous 1963-1972

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 898 BBC/R/RCONT/RCONT13
  • Dates of Creation
      1963 - 1972
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Primarily English, although some papers are written in foreign languages.
  • Physical Description
      Circa 6,200 files (c268 linear feet)

Scope and Content

The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to the engagement of those who contributed towards BBC radio programmes between 1963 and 1972. When previously the term ‘artist’ referred to performers, the papers in this artist file sequence also cover a range of other contributors including speakers and composers. However scriptwriters still maintain a separate file sequence. The contributions include domestic and overseas programmes, but not generally the regions.

These papers usually refer to contributors who had few or no bookings with the BBC between 1963 and 1972 and were not considered to have enough paperwork to warrant their own personal file. If a contributor is not listed in the run of files for RCONT12 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT13 files.

As the papers cover different types of contributor, different departmental paperwork is included in the files. The contributions include those to Talks, Children’s Hour, Drama and Light Entertainment departments to name a few. The contents of the papers can vary depending on the contributor, but a majority of material consists of external and internal correspondence and contractual papers. Other papers include applications for auditions, reports on auditions and booking requisition forms. Occasionally biographical information, including photographs, was sent in by contributors and held on file.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Central Registry administered large quantities of contracts and correspondence with contributors to various radio programmes. Different types of programme contribution required different types of contract, which were issued by different offices. Therefore, separate file sequences were held by the Central Registry for material concerning artists, talks, scriptwriters, composers, children’s programmes and others. For this series the different sequences seem to have been amalgamated, although the scriptwriters sequence retained its own separate run of files. The copyright section also had its own sequence of files that covered television and radio contributors.


This series consists of one continuous run of folders, each containing a number of small clumps of papers that are grouped together for each contributor. These clumps of papers were not deemed sufficiently bulky enough to warrant their own personal files, and so were filed as ‘miscellaneous’.

The papers are arranged alphabetically according to the surnames of contributors. The files containing the papers are therefore arranged in alphabetical sequence, although some popular surnames have their own separate file within the sequence.

The files are unnumbered, but each file is labelled with the alphabetical range it covers. A list of the files within the series was created when the files were deposited with the Records Management Centre, although the list does not include the individual titles of contributors within the files.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Grey files containing written material pinned in clumps.

Custodial History

These files were originally created and held by the Central Registry. Papers were forwarded to the Registry from the Radio Artists Contracts department, formerly part of the Programme Contracts department.

The continual increase in paperwork holdings led to difficulties with storage space in the late 1960s. At the time ‘nominal’ files were housed in the Central Registry, registry stores, and other locations across the BBC, such as Ware.

The process of reorganising the Central Registry holdings began towards the end of 1968. A proposal was put forward to amalgamate all holdings and then to split the files into two distinct groups according to date. Papers dating to 31 December 1962 would be stored at Caversham, whilst later papers would remain with the Registry in London. Semi-current files from 1 January 1963 to 31 December 1967 would be held in a storage area of the Langham whilst files dating from 1 January 1968 would be kept as the current group of files on the ground floor.

It was originally suggested that the grouping of files would continue in five year runs. When the ‘current’ grouping of files reached the end of the five year period they would be moved to the store to make space for new run of files to be opened on the ground floor. Those already held in store would be transferred to Caversham. This arrangement led to the first three sequences of radio contributor files covering the following periods; circa 1922 to 1962, 1963 to 1967, and 1968 to 1972. However, in 1976 the Chief Registry and Records Officer suggested that the next split should be made after 10 years rather than 5 due to space and the costs incurred by the purchase of new file covers. This may account for the next sequence of files ( RCONT15 ) covering the ten year period 1973-1982.

The miscellaneous files for the 1963-1967 and 1968-1972 sequences were at some point amalgamated. In March 1986 the papers were transferred to the Records Management Centre for storage. It was at this point that the file list for the sequence was created.

Between 21 January and 28 February 1990 the sequence of files was transferred from the Records Management Centre to the Written Archives Centre.

Related Material

BBC/R/RCONT/RCONT1 is the preceding run of files for individual contributors. The files hold correspondence and contractual papers before 1963. These are ‘main’ files where there were sufficient papers on one contributor to warrant personal files with individual titles. The files for these contributors from different departments were amalgamated into one run within the RCONT1 series.

BBC/R/RCONT/RCONT2 - RCONT11 are preceding runs of miscellaneous papers dating before 1963. They hold the papers of those who generated an insufficient quantity of material to warrant the creation of a personal file in RCONT1 . The RCONT7 series consists of files dealing with requests for permission and payment to individuals or bodies for the use of their copyright material in television and radio programmes.

BBC/R/RCONT/RCONT12 is a concurrent run of main files for radio contributors covering the period of 1963 - 1972. BBC/R/RCONT/RCONT14 is a concurrent run of miscellaneous files that covers the contributions of scriptwriters for this period.

Later radio contributor papers are held in continuing sequences under the sub-sub-fonds BBC/R/RCONT: Radio Artists and Contributors .

BBC/CORP/CCONT/RCONT18 is a concurrent run of files containing material generated from the copyright section between 1963 and 1969. There are further runs of copyright files dating after this period.

The sub-sub-fonds BBC/T/TVART: Television Artists and Contributors holds equivalent files for television programme contributions.

The sub-fonds BBC/NR: Nations and Regions holds contributor files for bookings that were made outside of London ( BBC/NR/M: Midlands Region, BBC/NR/NI: Northern Ireland, BBC/NR/N: North Region, BBC/NR/SC: Scotland, BBC/NR/SE: South East Region, BBC/NR/SW: South West Region, BBC/NR/WA: Wales and BBC/NR/WE: West Region ). Some artists may have papers in both the sub-sub-fonds BBC/R/RCONT and sub-fonds BBC/NR .

Long Term Contracts for contributors may be found in separate series under BBC/T/TVART/T49 for television and BBC/R/RCONT/R94 for radio.

There may be correspondence with artists and contractual documents in separate programme production files (see sub-sub-fonds BBC/R/PRR: Programmes Radio ).