Jean Seaton has appeared on KPFA’s Area 941 Podcasts to discuss George Orwell’s 1984. The episode, which can be heard on KPFA’s website, focuses on George Orwell’s 1984 with guests Tim Crook, a professor of Media Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Officer of Education at the Orwell Society, and Jean Seaton, the Director of the Orwell Prize which offers yearly prizes in journalism and literature, as well as hosts events and publications. She is also the official historian of the BBC. In the second half of the program KPFA broadcast clips from the audio book of 1984.
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Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History and the Official Historian of the BBC. She will publish in the Autumn of 2024 the next volume of the Corporations story, Holding the Line: the BBC and the Nation, taking Lord Asa Briggs work forward for Profile Books. This involves everything the BBC did in a tumultuous decade from the conflict in Northern Ireland, to the invasion of the Falklands, to Not the Nine O'Clock News, the Proms, the early music revolution, devolution, Dennis Potter's greatest plays, Attenborough's revolutionary series Life on Earth, and Radio 1s most influential moment, as well as the role of women in the Corporation, programmes for children and a tense and complicated relationship with the government. The historian was given privileged access to BBC archives, but also gained privileged access to state papers. For the first time the Corporation's history is seen in the round. It has depended on several hundred interviews, and explores both the programme making decision that go into the making of an iconic Television series like John le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but also the high politics around the imposition of the broadcasting ban.