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Iain Betson

Speaker Topics


Locations Covered​

- East Midlands


£75 - £150


Short Notice

Profile Bio

Apart from two years, when he built nuclear missiles at a secret research centre, (true story!) and being a signatory of the Official Secrets Act as a result, Iain Betson has worked all his professional life in the television and radio broadcasting industry, both in the UK and internationally.
A BBC trained radio engineer and training instructor, he trained many of the journalists you see and hear on UK radio and television news.

His talks both reflect his professional experience and interests, thus he is able to bring real-world knowledge to enhance their delivery.

Talk Description

The BBC & The Bomb: Cold War Broadcasting From The Bunkers

From the 1950s to the 1990s, if the Cold War had turned hot, the Government had well-laid plans for what to do in the event of a nuclear strike on Britain. Part of those plans was the implementation of the BBC-produced, but Government-directed, Wartime Broadcasting Service: A single national radio station that would have replaced ALL radio and TV services in the UK.

Originally conceived to provide both information and boost the morale of survivors whilst they waited for rescue, it morphed into a mouthpiece to tell the nation how they might survive after the H-Bomb was dropped and the "recovery" afterwards. But for many it could have been the last voice they heard...

Using a multi-media presentation of images, audio, video and declassified documents, Iain Betson tells the story of this little-known piece of Cold War history: Where it would been broadcast from, what would have been heard (you would be surprised!) and who, in the event of an attack, would have descended into the bunkers to broadcast it.

And, he asks, does such a service exist today?

Other Talks

The Tyrant, The Crooner & Tape: The Unlikely History of the Tape Recorder

The 1950s to the 1980s saw the recording of some of the most iconic music ever created, from Rock Around the Clock via Sgt Pepper to The Wall by Pink Floyd. And it was all made thanks to the invention of the reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Strangely the development of magnetic tape recording, starting in the 1930s, is marked by two milestones that made for unlikely bedfellows: the distribution of Nazi propaganda and the desire of a popular crooner, with a very keen sense of business, to control his own diary.

Iain Betson illustrates his talk on the development of magnetic tape recording with audio, images and anecdotes, from a serviceman who made history when deciding to turn left on his journey home, to chemical companies with a dark past, plus popular performers of their day.

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