A Brief History of Coronation Broadcasts


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The following article is, essentially, the script for a podcast special of The British Broadcasting Century, Episode 67: A Brief History of Coronation Broadcasts. You can listen to it here if you like.

Prior to the 2023 coronation of King Charles III, Britain has had two broadcast coronations: George VI in 1937 and Elizabeth II in 1953. Both were on radio and TV, although George VI’s only had three cameras, while Elizabeth II’s was “the OB of all OBs”.

The previous four monarchs all have a role in this story too though…


Queen Victoria‘s was the last coronation of the nineteenth century – and, like broadcasting, a new innovation was used to have more people experience it than ever before: the railways. 400,000 people chugged their way into London to line the route.

Victoria was also the first British monarch to be photographed, but not till after she was queen.


Edward VII‘s was the next coronation. No broadcasting – Marconi was still working on developing radio telegraphy, and the human voice was still pretty much untransmittable. But a film was made in 1902: ‘The Coronation of Edward VII’.

…Except, all is not what it seems. Director Georges Méliès (he of A Trip to the Moon fame) and producer Charles Urban asked for permission to film the coronation – but they were refused. So they instead filmed a ‘simulation’, a 6min reconstruction in advance of the big day, to be released cinematically on coronation day itself. Here it is:

The film was a hit. Apparently even Edward VII himself liked it, calling it: “Splendid! What a marvellous apparatus cinema is. It’s found a way of recording even the parts of the ceremony that didn’t take place.”

The king may not have liked one idea George Méliès had for it – he originally planned to feature Queen Victoria as a ghost. Presumably a kindly ghost, looking on at her son now crowned. But he was talked out of it by his producer – they were after accuracy, not the fantastical visual effects that Méliès was trying to develop elsewhere for the screen.

Also crowned that day was Edward’s wife, Alexandra, as Queen. She had a few links with radio: In Dec 1911, she used wireless telegraphy to send messages to a wrecked ship with fellow royals on board. In 1920 she used wireless telephony at an experimental concert, introduced by Marconi himself, at Chelmsford’s New Street Works. Alexandra spoke to her native Denmark, before tenor Lauritz Melchior sang – this was soon after Nellie Melba helped launch the very idea of broadcasting. (You can hear about these early test broadcast concerts on this episode of The British Broadcasting Century Podcast, and in my new novel Aunties and Uncles, out summer 2023, probably).

And pre-queen, Princess Alexandra’s name had gone to a certain North London entertainment venue – Alexandra Palace, aka Ally Pally. After her death this would become home to the world’s first regular TV broadcasts when the BBC moved in.


Still no broadcasting for George V’s coronation – but this one was filmed, genuinely, no reconstruction, for a newsreel:

Just the parade was filmed – not the ceremony. That was deemed too significant and sacred to let cameras in.

Plans were a bit slapdash and chaotic, thanks to hereditary peer the Duke of Norfolk insisting that, as was his ancient right, he could plan the day. He was terrible at planning. Everything from seating position to errors in the orders of service were all over the place, and a lot had to be redrafted the night before.

Broadcasting entered the scene in 1922, including a broadcast from the Duke of York (future Edward VIII), live from his palace to an exhibition hall selling radio sets. This first princely broadcast helped sell radios to the masses.

In 1923, the BBC just a few months old, John Reith asked for permission to broadcast the Royal Wedding, of the future George VI to the future Queen Mother. The Chapter of Westminster refused, on the grounds that one couldn’t predict what state the listeners may be in. There was genuine concern that men may be listening in pubs with their hats on. The powers that be preferred to be able to see the entire audience – to see the hat status of everyone present.

In 1924, George V became the first British monarch to broadcast (the second monarch in the world, just beaten by the Dutch Queen). While the BBC had no recording kit at the time, on our ‘history of the BBC archives’ podcast special we talked about how the recording of this was rescued when a listener got in touch with the BBC, to say her husband had recorded it on home kit and stored it in their garden shed. Gladly then, this was preserved so we can hear it now. This is the earliest recording of any event broadcast by the BBC – even if this isn’t technically a BBC recording (and may have been recorded via a different microphone):


Edward VIII‘s coronation was due to take place on 12 May 1937, but it was planned than canned due to his abdication. Well actually the plans weren’t entirely canned – they were recycled. His brother George VI used the same date and many of the same details – just a change of name on the stationery, surely…

But for the broadcasters, this wouldn’t be so easy. TV had just launched, less than six months earlier, so both sound and visuals were to be transmitted from central London.

Thankfully both the palace and the abbey were more willing than a decade earlier. The main organiser of the coronation was media-savvy Archbishop of Canterbyry Cosmo Lang, regularly fielding questions from the media over what could be broadcast. Lang was on the BBC a lot in the run-up to the coronation, using this as a chance to launch his campaign to lure people back to churches, called ‘Recall to Religion’, launched by him on BBC radio in December 1936.

As the big day approached, the sound side of things was looked after by the BBC engineer heading up Outside Broadcasts: Robert Wood. His book A World in Your Ear tells of how he helped coach the new king to manage his stammer, in a tale now famous from Colin Firth’s portrayal in The King’s Speech. That film focuses on the speech therapist Lionel Logue, but Robert Wood regularly helped George VI over the next 15 years, to help find his microphone voice. Wood became a favourite of the King and Queen, and was invited as a guest of honour to George VI’s eventual state funeral – although he had to work, to set up the microphones its broadcast.

Back at the 1937 coronation, Wood actually slept in the Abbey the night before, in an old store room. BBC bosses were worried he might get run over or delayed getting there the next day – and they couldn’t do it without him. He got no sleep thanks to Big Ben’s quarter-hourly chimes – something he knew well, as he was the one who’d added microphones to it a decade and a bit earlier, to broadcast the bongs.

As well as coaching the king, Wood’s job included hiding microphones around the Abbey, “in chinks of masonry, under prayer stools, in chandeliers and lecterns. We even managed to tuck one into each arm of Edward the Confessor’s chair, used for the actual enthronement, and put a third on its carved back.”

There were 58 microphones, 28 of them inside the Abbey, 472 miles of cable, and 12 tons of kit. The newly crowned King George VI spoke to the Empire – and you can hear in his voice that this was the very start of his broadcast career:

This was not only the first coronation to be broadcast on radio, but also the first to be shown on television, a chance to show off the pageantry and grandeur. Not many people had TVs – perhaps 10,000 homes saw it broadcast live. Still, it was peacock-strutting time – and that meant visuals.

This was the BBC’s first major TV outside broadcast, the cameras for the first time leaving Alexandra Palace – that building named after this new king’s grandmother.

Half of all the BBC cameras were used, ie. 3, out of 6. They didn’t have many cameras then. There’s every chance that you have more cameras that could film in your house right now, than the BBC had in 1937. So they learned to be clever, positioning cameras on corners of the procession, to give two angles for the price of one.

TV only got the procession though – no cameras for the ceremony, at the Archbishop’s say so. Just as the king’s carriage appeared, the kit broke down… the engineer hit it as hard as he could, and it worked again.

There was commentary on the radio by John Snagge, and on television by Freddie Grisewood on Hyde Park Corner.

The Daily Mail wrote the next day: “When the King and Queen appeared the picture was so vivid that one felt that this magical television is going to be one of the greatest of all modern inventions.”

But it would take George VI’s daughter to truly launch the medium of television via her coronation…


…That said, some say that sport had just as much to do with the take-up of televisions. Still, Elizabeth II‘s coronation was referred to by BBC staff as “The OB of all OBs”, while another called it “C-Day”, likening it to the military operation on the beaches less than a decade earlier.

By 1953, television had stopped for the war and started again in peacetime. They’d filmed the 1948 London Olympics and the royal wedding of the future Queen to Prince Philip. Even if people might watch in pubs wearing hats. Two million households now had a TV licence.

But the filming of the ceremony itself was still proving a sticking point. The new quote was: “Might there be something unseemly in the chance that a viewer could watch this solemn and significant service with a cup of tea at his elbow?” That’s from The Year That Made The Day, a lovely old BBC book, with maps/pictures like this:

As for filming the ceremony, Churchill was dead against it, so someone at the Beeb leaked the thoughts of him and the cabinet to the press… and the front pages (crying privilege) helped make the government back down. The Queen too relented and let the cameras in, even though her advisors said no, they’d rather keep the service private. 

Part of the deal though was no cameras closer than 30ft from the Queen. But the palace were naïve to the possibilities of zooming in. So Deputy OB boss Peter Dimmock shrewdly ensured a wide angle lens was on when showing officials, then swapped it out for a zoom lens on the day. The result? Close-ups of the Queen, unapproved beforehand, but later deemed the right call. 

Richard Dimbleby was chief commentator, but others included Brian Johnston, Johnners – probably giggling about a rude cricketer’s name.

And forget 3 cameras, the BBC now used 20 cameras for Elizabeth II’s coronation, with 41 languages, 95 commentary locations. telerecordings, helicopters on standby to take the footage across the Atlantic… It was almost literally a military operation.

Twenty millions UK viewers watched it – for the first time outnumbering radio listeners. Far more watched across the world. Eighty-five million Americans watched the highlights.

Here’s a colour version of the day’s events:


Flash forward to the present day then, and in 2023, we have another, for Charles III. Not just radio and TV, but now online, on digital, you can probably ask your smart speaker to play it – you can certainly ask it to play the National Anthem.

There’s still be a private solemn section, where Charles is anointed with ointment, that the cameras don’t get to see. And in one interesting broadcasting quirk, there’s a multifaith element that won’t be audible, because it includes the Chief Rabbi, and it takes place on the Sabbath, when the Jewish law prohibits use of electricity, microphones included.

When you film a religious service, there are always limits. And quite right too – I don’t know that we should see everything, and it’s only in recent coronations that we could see anything at all.

The podcast version of this, with extra clips etc, can be heard here: https://pod.fo/e/17951b

For a deeper dive into a few tales surrounding the coronation, especially the engineer in charge of 1937’s, there’s a video on my Patreon page where we delve into a couple of key books and their stories: https://www.patreon.com/posts/coronation-bonus-82457462

For more info on my broadcasting history project – including book, live show and podcast – see paulkerensa.com/oldradio.

CATCHING UP… with Patrick Regan


The final CATCHING UP podcast – which means this podcast channel will be resting for some time… till the next idea comes along… but not until we’ve heard from marvellous speaker and writer and charity founder PATRICK REGAN!

Patrick’s fab book is Bouncing Forward. Patrick’s fab charity is Kintsugi Hope. He’s doing great things out there helping individuals and communities. His book is highly recommended. What a gent. We talk about returning post-lockdown as a society, recovering post-crisis as an individual, and his skincare regimen. A bit.

Enjoy his dulcet tones – savour them! For they are the last here for a while. But stay subscribed, for we will return! With something new. In a while.

For now, a huge thanks for listening.

My other podcast is The British Broadcasting Century

And I’m one of the hosts on The Religion Media Centre Podcast.

Elsewhere you’ll find my Audible Original Podcast ‘Christmas – What the Falalalalala?’ with me and Grace Dent. You can get a free trial with Audible and then listen to your heart’s content. That was a one-off series, back then.

Elsewhere, find me on social media @paulkerensa, or my mailing list is at eepurl.com/M6Wbr – sign up for updates from me.


Do listen, share, subscribe, rate, review, tell your friends, tell your old schoolfriends, tell the world… 

…and like our podcast page on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

See me on tour: See my website paulkerensa.com/tour for details.

Fancy tipping? ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support – right now that’s mostly geeky things about the BBC origin story, but hey, they’re things I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. Join my geeky corner of t’internet! Thanks if you help! It REALLY helps keep this game afloat.

May your God go with you, or if you haven’t got one, feel free to borrow mine.

Thanks for sticking around. Thanks for listening. Till soon.


CATCHING UP… with James Cary


This time on this irregular podcast… (thanks for staying subscribed by the way – new episodes will pop up when you least expect them… honestly, you’ll forget about us, then suddenly, hello! It’s that writer of that thing or that author or that comedian or that person off the telly)

…it’s James Cary!

Yes our most prolific guest. He’s been on this podcast’s earlier incarnation Comedians With Books. He’s been on this podcast’s even earlier incarnation The Heptagon Club.

Now he’s here, mid-/post-/wherever-we-are-in-the-pandemic, to talk Christianity and comedy. Do they mix? Should they? And why not?

There’s conversation about luck vs fate, humour in the Bible, his career plan as a writer who goes where the wind blows, and ample more.

James’ writing CV includes My Family, Miranda, Hut 33, Bluestone 42, and many more.

James’ books include The Sacred Art of Joking and The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer. My books include So a Comedian Walks into a Church and Planet Protectors. Buy them all! I recommend bookshop.org

James’ podcast is Sitcom Geeks. My other podcast is The British Broadcasting Century. Listen to them all!


Do listen, share, subscribe, rate, review, tell your friends, tell your old schoolfriends, tell the world… 

…and like our podcast page on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

James is at jamescary.co.uk or find him and me on social mediae. See James on tour – see his website for details.

See me on tour: See my website paulkerensa.com/tour for details.

Fancy tipping? ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support – right now that’s mostly geeky things about the BBC origin story, but hey, they’re things I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. Join my geeky corner of t’internet! Thanks if you help! It REALLY helps keep this game afloat.

May your God go with you, or if you haven’t got one, feel free to borrow mine.


CATCHING UP… with Rabbi Alex Goldberg


The irregular podcast returns! Well we just crop up when we’ve a nice chat to bring you, and this time we have just that in spades.

Rabbi Alex Goldberg is a university chaplain, Dead of Religious Life and Belief at the University of Surrey, Pause for Thought broadcaster, and all-round good egg. We talk about lockdown lessons, the bizarre quirks of chaplain life, unpredictable ethical quandaries, the grab-and-go iftar, and, somehow, poignantly, helpfully, bizarrely, the nobility of a frozen giraffe.

All will be revealed – do listen, share, subscribe, rate, review, tell your friends, tell your old schoolfriends, tell the world… 

…and like our podcast page on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

Or find me on Twitter/Instagram @paulkerensa. Rabbi Alex Goldberg is on Twitter @alexgoldberg_eu

In the podcast I also talk about my tour: The First Broadcast (paulkerensa.com/tour) – come see! Or book me for your place.

& my other podcast: The British Broadcasting Century (podfollow.com/bbcentury)

& my new novel: Auntie and Uncles (pre-orderable soon, among the books on my author page on Amazon: shorturl.at/uwHK7)

Fancy tipping? ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support – right now that’s mostly geeky things about the BBC origin story, but hey, they’re things I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. Join my geeky corner of t’internet! Thanks if you help! It REALLY helps keep this game afloat.

May your God go with you, or if you haven’t got one, feel free to borrow one for a bit.


CATCHING UP… with Rachel Creeger


Where have we been all this time?! After a 2mth gap, A Paul Kerensa Podcast returns with a fab new guest – Britain’s only female orthodox Jewish comedian: Rachel Creeger.

We talk interfaith, outerfaith, synagogue gigs, church gigs, humour in a crisis, Odessa’s comedy heritage, and everything else that goes with it.

She’s a fab guest, and you can find her elsewhere on the internet at rachelcreeger.com, and her podcast is called Jew Talking To Me. Listen!

Find this podcast on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

And do try my other podcast on the origin story of the BBC: podfollow.com/bbcentury

The Religion Media Centre Podcast, that we also mention, which includes ANOTHER chat between me and Rachel is at https://religionmediacentre.org.uk/podcast/

Do subscribe, rate, review, share – it all helps others find this.

If you’d like to send us a tip, ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support. Thanks if you do so! It REALLY helps keep this game afloat.

Take care, you. It ain’t easy, I know. May your God go with you. We’ve got ours.


PK‘s Christmas Special 2021: The Top 10 Carols vs Festive Pop Songs


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This festive fan/Xmas Xpert/Santologist couldn’t POSSIBLY let Christmas go unpodcasted (just invented that word – I apologise).

So in this guestless episode, Paul runs down the Top 5 Christmas carols AND the Top 5 festive pop songs.

He’s amalgamated several polls, surveys and charts (inc. Songs of Praise Favourite Carol, Classical Magazine’s poll of experts, Classic FM’s carol survey, global charts etc), weighted them accordingly, and presto! Some Christmas podding for you.

From The Pogues to Postman Pat, Mendelssohn to Michael Buerk, Bing Crosby to two versions of In the Bleak Midwinter, we’ll unpick the back-story of our best-loved Christmas crooners, carols and chart-toppers. All in under ten minutes.

It’s all based on Paul’s festive history book: Hark! The Biography of Christmas, available now in paperback, ebook and audiobook (get it free on an Audible free trial, then instantly cancel!).

Or read Paul’s Yule blog.

We mention Paul’s festive parody song, A Fairytale of Bethlehem – it’s viewable on Youtube

You’ll find a different Christmas podcast special on The British Broadcasting Century, looking at the stories behind a classic British Christmas TV schedule: podfollow.com/bbcentury

Like this podcast on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

And please do subscribe, rate, review, share – it all helps others find this.

If you’d like to send us a tip, ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support. Thanks if you do so! It REALLY helps keep the wheels turning and the pods casting.

The podcast returns in 2022 with more guests and who knows what else…

Merry Listening!

November 14th: Happy Birthday BBC!


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It’s the BBC’s 99th birthday! Well it was on the day I wrote this: November 14th 2021.

At 6pm, on this day in 1922, Arthur Burrows gave the first BBC news bulletin, reading it once fast and once slow, asking ‘listeners-in’ to let him know which they preferred.

To celebrate Auntie Beeb entering her 100th year, I’ve made a bit of a labour of love – a special episode of The British Broadcasting Century podcast summarising the 36 episodes I’ve made so far – the Prehistory of the BBC, from Marconi to Reith in 45mins.

Do listen(-in)!

Below are the podcast notes, including a fairly complete transcript, so if you don’t listen, you can read…

On the podcast episode, you’ll hear the story of – and voices of:

  • First teenager to listen to the radio in his bedroom Guglielmo Marconi
  • First major broadcast engineer Captain HJ Round
  • First broadcast singer Winifred Sayer
  • First voice of the BBC Arthur Burrows
  • First regular broadcaster Peter Eckersley
  • First BBC pianist Maurice Cole (the most wonderful accent, “off” = “orff”)
  • First BBC singer Leonard Hawke (although WE know from episode 28 that the Birmingham and Manchester stations broadcast music the day before – but the BBC didn’t know that)
  • First slightly terrifying boss John Reith

That’s a lot of firsts. Plus more recent voices – hear from these marvellous experts:


Oh and exactly one year from now, for the BBCentenary, I’ll be performing my one-man play at the Museum of Comedy. It’s called The First Broadcast. Tickets are on sale now for The Museum of Comedy, either November 14th 2022, or earlier, April 21st. Other dates/venues will follow.

In it, I play both Britain’s first regular broadcaster Peter Eckersley, and this man – first voice of the BBC Arthur Burrows…

Arthur Burrows – first voice of the BBC

Meanwhile on the podcast, here’s an approximate transcript of what you’d hear…

  • Marconi himself appeared on the BBC in 1936, playing himself in a reconstruction of when he first sent Morse code across the Atlantic in 1901…
  • Those are Marconi’s last recorded words before he died, there with his assistants Pagett and Kemp, though Kemp was played by an actor. They’re recreating the moment when they sent Morse Code from Poldhu in Cornwall to Newfoundland, 2000+ miles away. Prior to that 255 miles was the wireless record.
  • Marconi was always outdoing himself. As a teenager he’d sent radiowaves across his bedroom – a transmitter and receiver ringing a bell. Then outside, asking his assistant across a field to fire a gunshot if the wireless signal reached him. Then over water. Then… in 1896 the 21yr old Marconi came to England. The Italian army weren’t interested in his new invention, so he thought he’d try the influential engineers of London. I think it’s that decision that set London and the BBC as the beating heart of broadcasting a couple of decades later.
  • There was a magical moment where Marconi strode into Toynbee Hall in East London, with two boxes. They communicated, wirelessly, and he simply said: “My name is Gooly-elmo Marconi, and I have just invented wireless.” That’s a drop mic moment. If they had a mic to drop.
  • Others played with this technology. In December 1906, Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden managed to make a very faint speech broadcast for ships near Brant Rock Massachusetts – making the first entertainment show for radio. He played a record, Handel’s Largo, played O Holy Night on violin, and read from Luke’s gospel, chapter 2. Well it was Christmas Eve.
  • This was actually my way in to this whole radio story. I wrote a book on the history of Christmas, called Hark! The b of C. So I researched Fesseden’s Christmas entertainment first… and also the first BBC Christmas of 1922. When I read that the Beeb had 35,000 listeners at that point, but 4 employees, I had to know who these 4 employees were! I started digging. When I discovered that 2 of those people had an on-air feud, one of them was John Reith, an arguably immoral moralist, and the 4th was soon sacked by him… I thought, there’s a book in this. So as I research and write that, I’m podcasting as I go on the BBCentury. I love that this medium of podcasting owes so much to those early pioneers… and I’m no engineer. For me, it’s all about the characters. We’ll get to the BBC pioneers soon enough, but Marconi, he was one of those characters.
  • Through the 1910s, business was booming for Marconi, but he still saw radio as a two-way thing – we ‘radio’ for help. Marconi took the credit for radio’s use in catching criminals – Dr Crippen, who’d escaped on a ship across the ocean. And saving lives, onboard Titanic. Soon every major vessel carried radios and a Marconi operator – for a fee of course. He made his money in sending messages, the world over, between two people. The broadcast aspect was an accident – a pitfall of radio being too ‘leaky’. So the first listeners were actually called ‘listeners-in’ – the messages weren’t intended for them.
  • So it was at a more amateur level – the radio hams – who’d be experimenting with ‘broadcasting’. Britain’s first DJ, technically, was a woman called Gertrude Donisthorpe in WWI. Her husband Horace was the eager experimenter, an army wireless trainer by day, and at night the couple would cycle to a field near Worcester, he’d set up one side, her on the other, and she’d play records and recite rhymes just for her audience of 1 – her husband, to see if it worked. She’d cycle across the field to see if it had, often finding he’d cycled off to tell her via a different route. As they progressed, they started transmitting limited wireless concerts for some local troops. And they were popular. Radio amateurs enjoyed what they heard, when they could hear it. There was demand for wireless entertainment… just not much supply.
  • But the engineers like those at the Marconi Company, were continually strengthening and improving the technology. Marconi’s right-hand man Captain Round for example…
  • No fan of red tape… this Churchill lookalike, round face, cigars and no-nonsense… joined 1902, genius… designed radios… especially for aircraft… Jutland direction-finding… But Captain Round is a name to watch.
  • After the war, 1919, just months from the birth of broadcasting, The Marconi Company still had no real interest in radio as an artform or entertainment or anything other than point to point messaging. Apart from one person, their Head of Publicity, Arthur Burrows…
  • In 1918 Burrows wrote: “There appears to be no serious reason why, before we are many years older, politicians speaking, say, in Parliament, should not be heard simultaneously by wireless in the reporting room of every newspaper office in the United Kingdom. . . . The field of wireless telephone, however, is by no means restricted to newspaper work. The same idea might be extended to make possible the correct reproduction in all private residences of Albert Hall or Queen’s Hall concerts or the important recitals at the lesser rendezvous of the musical world. . . . There would be no technical difficulty in the way of an enterprising advertisement agency arranging for the interval in the musical programme to be filled with audible advertisements, pathetic or forcible appeals—in appropriate tones—on behalf of somebody’s soap or tomato ketchup.” We’ll come back to Arthur Burrows.
  • Around the same time in America, future radio mogul David Sarnoff sent a memo referring to a “radio music box”, that could “listeners-in” could have in their homes, playing the music broadcast by wireless stations, that were cropping up, especially in America, and a steadily increasing rate.
  • In Britain, Captain Round of the Marconi Company continued to experiment. Rightly medalled after the war, he switched his attention from using radio to find enemy ships, to using radio to transmit the human voice further and stronger than ever before. This meant tests.
  • Now the nature of radio, the quirk of it, is that it’s not private. You can’t experiment without anyone with a set listening in – and since the war there were more and more ex wireless operators and amateur radio “hams”. So as Round experimented, in Chelmsford at the end of 1919, with his assistant William Ditcham, across Britain and even into Europe, people heard him. Ditcham had to read out something into his microphone – just the candlestick part of an old telephone. Ditcham would begin by addressing those listening – the ‘leaky’ nature of these radio experiments meant the engineers actually used those cheekly listening in to find their range and signal strength. So Ditcham would begin: “MZX calling, MZX calling! This is the Marconi valve transmitter in Chelmsford, England, testing on a wavelength of 2750metres. How are our signals coming in today? Can you hear us clearly? I will now recite to you my usual collection of British railway stations for test purposes… …The Great Northern Railway starts Kings cross, London, and the North Western Railway starts from Euston. The Midland railway starts from St Pancras. The Great Western Railway starts from…”
  • Railway timetables! And they were a hit. Mr Ditcham became an expert is this new art of broadcasting, before the word was even invented. He noted: “Distinct enunciation is essential and it’s desirable to speak in as loud a tone as possible!
  • Word spread. Letters to newspapers said how much radio amateurs were enjoying Ditcham and Round’s wireless experiments… but the content could do with being a bit more exciting. How about a newspaper?
  • So in January 1920, William Ditcham became our first broadcast newsreader, literally reading the news, from a paper he’d bought that morning. Well, he’d sit on it a day, and read yesterday’s paper… The press might have a problem with their copyrighted news being given away for free. And thus begins the rocky relp between broadcasters and the press. It’s worth keeping them on side…
  • In Jan 1920, there are 2 weeks of ‘Ditcham’s News Service’ – that’s Britain’s first programme title. That gains over 200 reports from listeners-in, as far as Spain, Portgula, Norway… up to 1500 mi away. So the transmitter is replaced, from 6kw to 15kw. Ditcham ups his game too. Throws in a gramophone record or two. 15mins of news, 15mins of music. A half hour in total – that seems a good length for a programme – really it was what the licence allowed, but it’s clearly stuck – at least till Netflix and the like mean programme length has becoame a little more variable, a century later.
  • Then in Feb, there’s live music – just a few fellow staff at the Marconi Works in Chelmsford, including Mr White on piano, Mr Beeton on oboe and Mr Higby on woodwind.
  • At Marconi HQ, Arthur Burrows, that publicity director who wrote of possible wireless concerts and ketchup sponsors, he gets behind this in a big way. He heads to Chelmsford, supports Ditcham and Round, and even joins the band.
  • And you know who else joins the band…
  • …from the neighbouring works building – Hoffman’s Ball Bearings – a singer, Miss Winifred Sayer. Now as she’s not a Marconi employee, she needs to be paid… so she’s radio’s first professional
  • Previous broadcasts had been a little luck of the draw, but this one, well it would be nice to tell people it’s going to happen. So Captain Round sends out the first listings – the pre Radio Times, radio… times… you can hear Winifred Sayer and the band: 11am and 8pm, Feb 23rd till March 6th That memo goes out to all the Marconi land stations and ships at sea. The first song Winifred sang was called Absent – she later called it a “punch and judy show”, and enjoyed her ten shillings a show. As she left, the MD of Marconi’s said to her: “You’ve just made history.”
  • So, we have radio, right? Not so fast! The fun is just beginning…
  • The press, you see, were worth keeping on side. The Daily Mail got wind of this. Arthur Burrows, that publicity chap and radio prophet, he became friends in the war with Tom Clarke, now editor of the Daily Mail. And the Mail loved a novelty. They’d sponsor air races and car dashes and design-a-top-hat competitions. Radio was right up their fleet street.
  • But they’d need a bigger singer than Winifred Sayer from Hoffman’s Ball Bearings. They wanted to see how big an audience there’d be for broadcasting – a word just coming into use, a farming term, about how you spread seed, far and wide, scattershot, never quite knowing how far it reaches, and whether it will be well received and grow into something. So the Daily Mail fund one of the world’s biggest singers: Dame Nellie Melba – of Peach Melba fame. She was over in England at the Albert Hall doing some shows, so for a thousand pounds – enough to buy a house – she came to Chelmsford. Outside broadcasts didn’t exist at the time, given the size of the kit. Ditcham and Round prepared the Chelmsford Works building, although that involved a small fire, a carpet Melba rolled away as soon as she saw it, and a microphone made from an old cigar box and a hat rack. Arthur Burrows gave Madame Melba a tour when they weren’t quite ready… She took one look at the 450ft radio mast and said “Young man if you think I’m going to climb up there, you are greatly mistaken.”
  • She broadcasts on June 15th 1920, and it’s a huge hit, despite a shutdown just before finishing her last song. Captain Round makes her do it again, without telling her of the shutdown, by simply asking for an encore.
  • Arthur Burrows gives the opening and closing announcements, instead of William Ditcham, because this has been Burrows’ dream. Broadcast radio concerts. So what next? It spanned Britain, reached Madrid, parts of the Middle East…
  • But it’s too successful. The Air Ministry finds planes couldn’t land during the concert. It dominated the airwaves. So despite a few extra professional concerts from Chelmsford that summer – opera stars like Lauritz Melchior, and Dame Clara Butt – the govt step in and shut all radio experiments down.
  • Arthur Burrows finds himself at sea, literally, that summer, demonstrating radio to the press on the way to an interionational press event… but without govt backing, journalists now see radio as maybe a means to communicate newsroom to newsroom. Ditcham’s news and Melba’s music seem to be all that broadcasting amounted to.
  • For 18 months, nothing. Radio amateurs, and indeed Arthur Burrows at Marconi, petition the PostmasterGeneral to reconsider. And finally… it worked.
  • Because while the ether had fallen silent in Britain, it continued in Holland, a bit in France, and in America radio is booming. Not wanting to be left behind, the British govt say ok, you can have one radio station. The Marconi Company is granted a permit. But much to Burrows dismay… the job lands on the desk of another person I want to introduce you to… Peter Eckersley
  • Eckersley was with the Designs Dept of the Aircraft Section of Marconi’s. His team had helped create air traffic control; Eckersley had been there in the war for the first ground to air wireless communication, and now in their spare team, his team in a muddy field in the village of Writtle in Essex, not far from Chelmsford, would have to fit this broadcasting malarkey in in their spare time, for an extra pound a show, not much.
  • It was odd. Radio amateurs wanted it. Burrows the Marconi publicity guy wanted it. Eckersley and his team couldn’t give two hoots about it – in fact they celebrated when the govt banned radio 18 months earlier, as finally the airwaves were clear for them and their serious work, instead of constant blinking opera from Chelmsford.
  • But it’s Eckersley’s job, to start Britain’s first regular radio station: 2MT Writtle. And from Feb 14th 1920, for the first few weeks it sounds pretty normal. They play gramophone records, chosen by Arthur Burrows at head office. Burrows has arranged a sponsorship deal – not with ketchup with a gramophone company, who provide a player so long as it’s mentioned on air. Peter Eckersley’s team of boffins break the gramophone player. There was a live singer – the first song on the first regular broadcast radio show was the Floral Dance, though the Times called it only “faintly audible”. It is not a hit. For 5 weeks this continues, bland introductions to records, a live singer or two. And Peter Eckersley, the man in charge, goes home each night to hear the show his crew put out on the wireless. Until week 6, when he stays, for a pre-show gin and fish and chips and more gin at the pub. Then he… runs down the lane to the hut and reaches the microphone first! And he starts talking……
  • Eckersley talks and talks and mimics and carouses… He plays the fool, plays the gramophone records, off-centre, or covered in jam…
  • …the strict licence meant closing down for 3mins in every 10, to listen for govt messages, in case they have to stop broadcasting. Eckersley doesn’t shut down for 3mins. The licence limited them to half an hour. Not Eckersley. Over an hour later, he stops. And sleeps it off. Next day, his team gather round and tell him what he said.
  • Our man Arthur Burrows gets in touch. A stern admonishment! Burrows’ dream of broadcasting, had been dashed on the rocks by Eckersley, a man drinking, on the rocks. But accompanying Burrows’ angry missive came a postbag of listener fanmail. “We loved it” they said. “Do it again.” Burrows was a lone voice against Eckersley’s antics, so the following Tuesday, and every Tuesday in 1922, Peter Eckersley seized the mic again and again.
  • Demand for radio sets boomed. Ports stopped receiving ships when Peter Eckersley was on. Parliament even closed their sessions early to hear him. He was our first radio star. And he helped spawn an industry.
  • Burrows is still fuming, but there is no greater demand for radio. So he applies for a 2nd licence, for a London station – let’s do this radio thing properly. 2LO in London is granted that licence, and Burrows isn’t taking any chances – HE will be the primary broadcaster.
  • Poetry readings, sports commentary, opening night boxing match. Later in the summer, garden party concerts. And as Burrows is a publicity and demonstration man, many of these broadcast concerts are for private institutions, charity events, a chance to show what broadcasting can do.
  • Other wireless manufacturers other than Marconi’s express an interest, they ask the PMG for a licence to broadcast too. MetroVick in Manchester, they want in, so the PMG says fine. Kenneth Wright is the engineer at MetroVick who gets the job of launching in Manchester.
  • Wright continues in Manchester… Eck continues in Writtle in Essex… Burrows continues in London…
  • But Eckersley mocks Burrows. In fact people write to Arthur Burrows saying how much they enjoy his broadcasts on 2LO London, but could he stop broadcasting every Tuesday evening for the half hour Eckersley’s on, cos listeners want to hear Eckersley lampoon Burrows. For instance, Burrows played the Westminster chimes in the studio – this is 18mths before Big Ben’s chimes would be heard on the BBC. So Eckersley outdoes Burrows by finding all the pots, pans, bottles and scrap metal he can, and bashing it all with sticks. Messy chaos! He loved it.
  • He’s another, retold by Eckersley and Burrows themselves, some 20 years apart… You see, both would close their broadcasts with a poem.
  • All through the spring and summer of 1922, each broadcast is still experimental. Official broadcasting hasn’t quite yet begun – because no one knows if there’s a future in this. In fact the Marconi Company largely thought all this was one big advert to show consumers how easy wireless communication is, and how they should all pay Marconi’s to help them send point-to-point messages.
  • But the bug grows. The press want in. The Daily Mail apply for a licence for to set up a radio station. They’re turned down – it would be too powerful for a a newspaper to have a radio station. It only took Times Radio 100 years…
  • In Westminster, the PostGen is inundated by applications for pop-up radio stations. He can’t just keep licensing all of them. What is this, America?! Arthur Burrows…
  • In May 1922, the PostGen says to the wireless manufacturers, look. I can’t have all of you setting up rival radio stations. But I will licence one or maybe two of you. Get together, chat it through, work out how you can work together.
  • For a while, it looks like there will be two british Broadcasting companies – a north and a south. Kenneth Wright…
  • …but after weeks, even months of meetings, primareily with the big 6 wireless firms, an agreement is struck.
  • …You may wonder where Reith is in all this. Wasn’t he meant to be the fella who started the thing!? He arrives when the BBC is one month old. For now, he’s leaving a factory management job in Scotland, settling down with his new wife, having moved on from a possibly gay affair with his best friend Charlie… and he’s about to try a career in politics. He’s never heard of broadcasting at this stage. But for those who have, in the summer of 1922, Parliament announces there will be one broadcasting company, funded by a licence fee…..
  • One British Broadcasting Company. Marconi, MetroVick, Western Electric, General Electric and so on… each will have one representative on the board of this BBC, and then broadcasting can continue, they’ll all sell wireless radio sets, and to fund the operation, there’ll be a licence fee.
  • The name ‘BBCo’ is coined by one of the wireless manufacturer bosses in one of those meetings, Frank Gill, who notes in a memo before the name ‘broadcasting company’, the word ‘British’. A few lines down, he’s the first to write the word ‘pirates’ regarding those broadcasting without a licence.
  • But there’s one more hurdle to conquer – news. That takes some time to iron out with the press, and finally it’s agreed that us broadcasters will lease the news from them, for a fee, and no daytime news, to ensure readers still bought papers.
  • The press and the broadcasters still have an uneasy relationship, so whenever you see the newspapers having a pop at the BBC, know that the Daily Mail sponsored the first ever broadcast with Dame Melba, they were turned down for a radio station when they applied, and for years they were annoyed this radio upstart was trying to steal their readers.
  • With the starting pistol sounded, Arthur Burrows gets his dream: he’s convinced his employer, the Marconi Company that radio isn’t just about sending messages to individuals, it’s about reaching many listeners… or better still, it’s still about reaching individuals, just lots of them. Flash forward to Terry Wogan’s sad goodbye from his Radio 2 Breakfast Show. “Thank you for being my friend.” Singular. Radio – even podcasts like this – still speak to one listener at a time. I make a connection with you. Arthur Burrows and Peter Eckersley, were among the first to realise that.
  • But which of them would launch or join the BBC? The wild unpredictable Eckersley, who created demand for radio, and was still mocking Burrows in his field hut in an Essex village? Or the straight-laced Arthur Burrows, who’s prophesied broadcasting for years?
  • I think we know the answer to that. Playing it safe, The Marconi Company kept 2LO as part of this new British Broadcasting Company, as well as 2ZY Manchester under MetroVick, and a new station in Birmingham, 5IT, run by Western Electric. Marconi’s would also build new stations, in Newcastle, Cardiff, Glasgow, and more, growing in reach and ambition.
The 2LO transmitter
  • But it starts in London, on November 14th 1922, with a souped-up transmitter, rebuilt by good old Captain Round, the Marconi whizz who helped start it all. Arthur Burrows is before the mic, achieving his dream, to see broadcasting come to fruition. There are no recordings of that first broadcast, but we recreated it…
  • The next day, the Birmingham station 5IT launches – they quickly bring in the first regular children’s presenters, Uncle Edgar and Uncle Tom. An hour after they launch, Manchester 2ZY starts under the BBC banner, with more children’s programming there, plus an early home for an in-house BBC orchestra.
  • When the jobs go out for the this new BBC, bizarrely after it’s actually launched, there are just 4 employees hired before the end of the year, and Burrows is first, a shoo-in for Director of Programmes. John Reith applies for General Managership, having tried a bit of politics, but been pointed towards the BBC advert by his MP boss. On arriving, one of the first things he says is: ‘So what is broadcasting?’
  • As for Peter Eckersley, he continues at 2MT Writtle, every Tuesday evening into January 1923. The only non-BBC station to share the airwaves till commercial, pirate or… well there’s Radio Luxembourg but that’s for a future episode. But Eckersley too is ultimately convinced to join the good ship BBC. And all it takes is an opera, broadcast live from the Royal Opera House in January 1923 – one of the first outside broadcasts.
  • A penny drops for Eckersley, and he realises the power and potential of this broadcasting lark. Reith convinces him to stop his frivolous Tuesday show in Essex, and offers him a job as the BBC’s first Chief Engineer. And here Eckersley prospers, giving us new technology, nationwide broadcasting, the world’s first high-power long-wave transmitter at Daventry, he brings choice to the airwaves, with a regional and national scheme. Without Burrows, without Eckersley, without Reith, British broadcasting would look very different.
  • There’s one other name, among many, I’m particularly enthusiastic about: Hilda Matheson. An ex-spy who becomes the first Director of Talks, who reinvents talk radio and gives us the basis for Radio 4 and speech radio and indeed podcasting, you could argue, as we know it. She’s a fascinating character – part of a gay love triangle with the poet Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf. She’s the only BBC employee allowed to bring a dog to work.
  • And so much more, we’ll unpack on the British Broadcasting Century podcast, plus the Pips, the Proms, the Radio Times, and everything else you know and love, tolerate or loathe about British broadcasting today.

For more, subscribe to The British Broadcasting Century Podcast, join our Facebook group, or follow us on Twitter.

Christmas creep 2021: Don’t John Lewis ads arrive earlier and earlier?



Ah, my Yule blog. I’ve not posted here in a while. (For more of it, search ‘Christmas’ in the search box of this blog) I’ve not needed to. Christmas has been absent. Even last Christmas, in 2020, it was quite absent, seemingly.

Of course Christmas is Christmas is Christmas, whatever do to celebrate. But it’s always been – literally – a movable feast.

I explored in my book Hark! The Biography of Christmas how Christmas through the ages has moved around a little. December 25th, yes (in the West), but then there’s Orthodox Christmas, which happens to be about – oh look – 12 days later. The Twelve Days of Christmas arguably comes from appeasing both sides of the family, East and West Churches. But the Christmas season moves a lot more still.

With the rise of the commercial Christmas (thank you Macy’s for kicking that off), a whole industry blew up around preparing for Christmas. For centuries we’d done that, certainly, from King John’s miles of table linen to customs for Martinmas or Stir-Up Sunday. We’d prepared, but we’d not had the chance to buy quite so much.

Macy’s wanted our money. So did the other big department stores. In the late nineteenth century, Harrod’s and Selfridge’s both put up Christmas window displays, so year after year they each put theirs up a little earlier, to try and get the jump on their rival.

…Christmas creep was born!

That starting-pistol being fired earlier and earlier means the Christmas season seems to creep back earlier each year, so you end up with Christmas displays in shops in autumn. Sainsbury’s stocked mince pies this August! (Well, they could be out of stock by Christmas.)

But till now, the Christmas ads – headlined by the John Lewis ad in recent years – have all hovered around the same date, in late November.

Not this year. For the first time, the John Lewis ad has debuted BEFORE BONFIRE NIGHT. (That’s November 5th, non-UK residents). Halloween out the way, the shops are ready for the next thing.

Here’s the 2021 ad, launched today, as I write this, Nov 4th 2021:

The John Lewis ad has landed – so has this alien…

John Lewis say the reason they’ve gone early is because we’re planning earlier this year – perhaps due to supply issues, perhaps due to uncertainty over Covid ruining another Christmas for us. People are freezing their turkeys, they say, and buying pressies sooner than usual. Already we’re hearing that many toys or electrical items may not be available at all this year. I reckons some Christmas presents are still stuck on that cargo ship in the Suez Canal (is that still there?)

So there you have it. Christmas creep – still a thing, now applied to online Youtube ads for your department store of choice. Inevitably it won’t shift back – so next year expect the John Lewis ad by November 4th 2022, if not sooner.

Whatever you buy, or buy into, this Christmas – make it a good one, all of you. Traditions may change again, but we shift slowly with our customs. So 2020’s Christmas was a bit of a shocker, and a shock. We’ll try this year to gather a bit more than last year, but expect us to move online more than 2019’s Christmas certainly.

That includes shopping online – John Lewis is counting on it.

And hey, I suppose I can too then. If you’d like to read a book on the history of Christmas, why we do what we do each festive season, my book Hark! The Biography of Christmas is a fun festive sleigh-ride through thousands of years of Christmas customs. I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

I’ve recorded some special videos/prepared some special notes with my good friends at The Big Church Read – 5 short videos, so if you’re in a book group, a church group, or just fancy following it yourself, you can watch the videos, read the notes, but above all, read the book, available on that link too.

Merry reading, if you do – and merry shopping, which I know you’ll do. Whether that’ll be at John Lewis with its sweet alien and spaceship, that remains to be seen.

Merry November!

Do browse the rest of my Yule blog, by searching for ‘Christmas’ in the search box of this blog.

CATCHING UP… with American Dave


This time Paul is catching up with American Dave, his old buddy from student days. From Guildford to San Diego to your ears, we catch up about Trump, Covid, Brexit… and try and find some wisdom and optimism in amongst the craziness.

We last met American Dave back in the days of The Heptagon Club (which you can find if you scroll waaaaay back on this A Paul Kerensa Podcast channel).

Find this on Facebook: Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast

And do try Paul’s other podcast on the origin story of the BBC: podfollow.com/bbcentury

Do subscribe, rate, review, share – all that jazz, it all helps others find this.

If you’d like to send us a tip, ko-fi.com/paulkerensa chips in the price of a cuppa coffee, or patreon.com/paulkerensa has extra audio, video & writings, in exchange for your monthly support. Thanks if you do so! It REALLY helps keep this game afloat.

Till next time!

CATCHING UP… with Rev Jon March


My guest this time is my old buddy from uni days, Rev “Random” Jon March. He’s vicar of St Luke’s, Kentish Town. You’ll swiftly hear what earned him the nickname “Random”.

Hear how he accidentaly did a Theology degree due to at least two admin errors… his analysis of words like ‘several’… how he grew a church from literally zero… and his thoughts on how to build back a church after something like, say, a pandemic.

Jon’s podcast The New Now, on leadership in changing times, is available here – and this episode has Paul as a guest: https://lnns.co/z2vOtYXZIha 

Paul’s on twitter @paulkerensa

Jon’s on twitter @jonmarch

Paul’s other podcast The British Broadcasting Century is listentoable here: podfollow.com/bbcentury

If you like the podcast, please give us a nice review where you found it, and stay subscribed for more like this. Next time: comedy writer James Cary.

Thanks for listening!

CATCHING UP… with Gareth Jones


This time, Paul chats to TV presenter, podcaster, technology enthusiast and man of at least two names, GARETH JONES!

You may have known him as ‘Gaz Top’ on Saturday morning children’s TV show Get Fresh, or you may have seen his 16-year stint fronting How 2 for CITV.  He’s presented Tomorrow’s World, he’s hosted the Gareth Jones on Speed podcast for 15 years (garethjones.tv/onspeed.html) – and we get into all of these things and more.

If you’ve listened to my other podcast, The British Broadcasting Century, you may have heard bits of this chat. But he was such a great guest, I wanted to put the entire brilliantly gobby, hugely insightful, occupationally illuminating interview up here. 

So have at it! The complete works of the Gareth Jones chat.

Find out more about Gareth and watch videos of his past oeuvres on his website, garethjones.tv

Did you know this podcast has a Facebook page? ‘Like’ us at Facebook.com/PaulKerensaPodcast.

You can find Paul on Twitter @paulkerensa

You can find Gareth on Twitter @garethjonestv

This podcast is more a channel than a series – so right now it’s occupied by CATCHING UP – longform chats with interesting folks. But go back and you can find Comedians With Books or The Heptagon Club – more interviews with interesting folks, just in different marvellous formats. Listen to that lot, complete the set.

Stay subscribed for more! Next time: Rev Jon March on how church can return post-pandemic. But with more fun in our chat than that sounds.

Meantime, see my website for more info on my writings and giggings (I am available for both, if you need someone for some writing or some gigging): 


CATCHING UP… with Ruth Valerio (Planet Protectors special!)



This time, Paul’s CATCHING UP with author, speaker, campaigner and all-round Planet Protector, RUTH VALERIO. Paul talks to her about her new fabulous children’s book, Planet Protectors… which is very familiar to Paul… because he wrote it too!

Ruth and Paul wrote it together and it’s out now! It’s published by SPCK, and the fab illustrations are by Fay Austin. 

Get your copy of Planet Protectors here – including information on bulk discounts, if you’re part of a youth group, church group, school… or you just want 10 copies!

Discover how children can change the world, change churches, and how you can judge a book by how its cover FEELS. If you’re a church person, hello, there’s lots in here about how churches can change. If you’re not a church person, hello, there are loads of tips in the book about things you can in your everyday life, from loving your coat to stargazing to how to welcome to how to junk-model right.

Ruth’s website is at ruthvalerio.net – you can read her writings and find out more about her back-story and campaigns.

Here’s one campaign – Tearfund’s Reboot campaign – centred on the UN climate talks in Glasgow, COP26, and how we can come back from this pandemicky times looking after our big round home a lot better.

Watch the video of this interview on Youtube.

You can find Ruth on Twitter @ruthvalerio

You can find Paul on Twitter @paulkerensa 

This podcast is currently occupied by CATCHING UP – longform chats, unedited, with various people, individuals and humans. Stay subscribed for more. It’s all a bit experimental, so take it in that guerrilla spirit.

For a more edited, honed and finely produced podcast, my other podcast The British Broadcasting Century is telling the origin story of the BBC, radio and life as we know it. Try it! Season 2 now underway.

As for this one, stay subscribed for more fab chats – next time, TV presenter Gareth Jones…



Jam-packed with interesting facts, Christian theology and practical tips, Planet Protectors is an informative and empowering guide for children on helping the environment by living sustainably!

In a lively, entertaining style Ruth Valerio and Paul Kerensa offer 52 fantastic ideas for looking after the world – from cycling more and choosing fair-trade, to taking shorter showers and recycling. Children will love taking up a different challenge each week and be inspired to join the fight for the planet’s future as they learn about why it is so important to care for the environment and God’s creation.

With quirky illustrations perfect for colouring in throughout, Planet Protectors is an ideal book for 7- to 9-year-old children beginning to read independently. It is also a brilliant resource for parents and guardians to open up conversations with children about environmental sustainability, and for primary schools, Sunday schools and youth workers teaching about the environment.

Encourage and empower your children to see how they can make a difference and look after the world by becoming Planet Protectors.