The Envy Of The World

Three documentaries charting the history of the Third Programme and Radio 3.


01No Fixed Points19970805

Humphrey Carpenter investigates the origins of the Third in the aftermath of World War II.

In an interview from the BBC's own archives, Director General William Haley outlines his vision of a network with no regular programmes, no news bulletins and no fixed points.

Listeners including Peter Maxwell Davies and Harold Pinter remember how the Third changed their lives, Michael Tippett recalls programmes he presented, and former Controller Harman Grisewood reflects on an early complaint.

02Rudely Truncated19970806

Humphrey Carpenter investigates how the Third captured the intellectual high-ground with talks by the likes of Isaiah Berlin and Bertrand Russell.

The `Hilda Tablet' plays of Henry Reed offered a lighter touch, and the Third broadcast one of the most famous programmes ever - `Under Milk Wood'.

In 1957, cuts to the Third provoked a high-profile protest campaign.

Today's programme includes the first broadcast ever of a speech by T S Eliot as part of the protest.

03 LASTCulture's Not For Us?19970807

Humphrey Carpenter investigates the impact of the 1969 announcement that the Third Programme would be abolished, and examines the changing sound of the programmes.

Some of the Third's most famous voices reflect on changing styles behind the microphone.

And former controllers including Harman Grisewood, Stephen Hearst, Ian McIntyre and John Drummond consider two questions which have provoked much debate over the past 50 years: what is the role of a cultural radio network, and who are its listeners?