NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ759762
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0266-0830
The Fifty-One Society: A Case Study of BBC Radio and the Education of Adults
Coles, Janet; Smith, David
Studies in the Education of Adults, v38 n2 p210-224 Aut 2006
This article discusses the relationship between sound broadcasting and adult education, looking at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) during the period of postwar reconstruction and austerity of the 1950s. It considers in particular one of the Corporation's most innovative educative programmes of the period, "The Fifty-One Society". This was produced in Manchester by the Talks Department of the BBC North Region and first broadcast on 1 November 1951. The format was a discussion, along the lines of the old literary and debating societies, and featured a small group of northern academics drawn from the Universities of Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, many of whom had personal experience as adult education tutors. Each week a topic was introduced by a guest speaker and then discussed by the "resident experts" in the studio. The discussion was then edited and broadcast. The Fifty-One Society aimed to bring to listening audiences ideas, informed views and argument on a wide range of topics relating to science, the arts, industry, education, literature, government, politics, religion, war and peace. The paper examines the programme's underlying philosophy: "the belief of the liberal imagination" and attempts to evaluate its success and its educative impact. (Contains 8 notes.)
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain)