1933–1939: The Show Begins
This chapter explores the period from the formation of the Variety Department to the outbreak of the Second World War, a time when Variety established itself and developed its own approach to popular entertainment. Dibbs recounts how, with an increasing number of talented production staff, the Department grew quickly in size and output as more was expected of it. He investigates how the Department set about developing new programme ideas including adapting some American models for British tastes, despite senior management’s opposition to American-inspired programmes and jazz. He also charts the BBC’s growing obsession with censorship and the avoidance of offence. He examines how evidence of listeners’ tastes and preferences became significant for the BBC and led to the establishment of its Listener Research Section.