Radio Camelot: Arthurian Legends on the BBC, 1922-2005 (Arthurian Studies) by Roger Simpson

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`The writer argues persuasively that the treatment of Arthurian themes on radio was a significant contribution to the development of the "Matter of Britain" in the twentieth century... impressively comprehensive, covering music, readings, features, and drama.... He unearths a great deal of information that will be of interest not only to Arthurian scholars, but also to students of radio and the history of broadcasting... An extremely valuable and entertaining record of twentieth-century Arthurian work'. NIGEL BRYANT 

Radio has been an important medium for the recreation of the Arthurian legend, reshaping the Matter of Britain in response to changing social and cultural contexts through adapting the traditional material and developing new genres. This pioneering study, drawing on unpublished sources in the BBC Written Archives, uncovers a wealth of material that greatly expands the Arthurian canon. It is both a lively but authoritative record, and critical evaluation, of broadcast music, drama, literature (from medieval to modern), and documentary feature programmes.In particular, the author provides a full account of the growth of Arthurian radio drama, which evolved from D. G. Bridson's patriotic pre-war King Arthur, via fascinations with the Holy Grail and the Lady of Shalott, to its flowering in the 1990s with Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur's Knight. Along the way he traces Tolkien's and T. H. White's involvement with the BBC, and reveals radio's role in widening access to the Arthurian operas of Purcell and Wagner. The text is complemented by contemporary illustrations from the Radio Times.

ROGER SIMPSON, who previously taught English and British Studies at the University of East Anglia, is the author of Camelot Regained and numerous articles about the Arthurian Revival.





Date published



Hardback with dust jacket