The files contain miscellaneous clumps of papers relating to the engagement of ‘artists’ who contributed towards BBC radio 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 1930s 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 performers of any kind with the Music, Drama and Variety departments. These include, but are not limited to, musicians, singers, actors, conductors, orchestras, groups and choirs.
These papers usually refer to artists 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 an artist is not listed in the run of files for RCONT1 , they may have unlisted papers held within the RCONT2 files.
The contents of the papers can vary depending on the artist, but the material sometimes follows the entire booking process for performers. The papers consist of correspondence between artists or the artists’ agents and the BBC, internal correspondence between BBC members of staff regarding artists, applications for auditions, audition reports, booking requests and contracts for artist performances. These early papers can sometimes include other material relating to the artists and their wider careers. Material such as promotional pamphlets or leaflets for artist performances, photographs and biographies were sent to the BBC in support of applications.