Monday, 23 February 2009

BBC publishes something nice about Mrs Thatcher


Weird, isn't it? like some kind of alternative reality...

'She does not look like a career woman'

Margaret Thatcher with her children Carol and Mark in 1959

The Magazine delves into the archives

Thirty years after Margaret Thatcher entered Number 10, the BBC Archive has released documents and broadcasts offering glimpses into its early dealings with the future leader, and through them an insight into her path towards Downing Street.

Her main charm to me was that she does not look like a 'career woman'
The BBC's Joanne Symons notes her impression of Mrs Thatcher in 1957

The collection includes memos and production notes not intended for publication relating to Lady Thatcher's early appearances on radio and television.

The earliest known reference to Margaret Thatcher in the archive is from 1957, pre-dating her election as a member of parliament in 1959, and is a typed memo (see below) written by Joanne Symons, detailing a meeting between herself and Mrs Thatcher.

Sent to Joyce Pullen in the women's programme department it recommends the then barrister as someone suitable for broadcast.

Ragout of Joanne Symons memo

"Mrs Thatcher is 30 ish I suspect tho' she could pass for much younger, very pretty and dresses most attractively. Very 'feminine'!" Symons reports.

She compliments the future prime minister's clear thinking and offers a conclusion that would be unthinkable to many now: "Her main charm to me was that she does not look like a 'career woman'!"

Symons' comments were evidently listened to, as some weeks after the memo, Mrs Thatcher appeared on Your Own Time, which the Radio Times billed as a "light-hearted programme for younger women".

She spoke in her capacity as a barrister in a discussion entitled It's a Woman's World.

Unfortunately this programme was not kept by the BBC, but visitors to the archive can explore clips of other key television and radio appearances which have survived.

The earliest is an edition of Any Questions? broadcast in 1960 in which Mrs Thatcher made a witty appearance as a panellist in her first year as an MP.

The broadcast took place long before the voice coaches went to work to lower the tone of her speaking voice.

Iron lady

"Excellent feminine voice. First class broadcasting manner," remarked a producer in production notes two years later in 1962 following another appearance by Mrs Thatcher.

Over the series of video, audio clips and documents, readers can follow her transformation into the "Iron Lady" who would eventually enter number 10.

Yet speaking in 1972, on the radio programme Women in Politics, she felt that was one door a female politician was many years away from breaking down. She said the prospect of a woman becoming prime minister was something she would never see in her lifetime.



Sue said...

She's my hero. I have her biography WITH HER AUTOGRAPH!!!

North Northwester said...

Beyond Kyewl..

Reverse_Vampyr said...

It's about time great leaders like Thatcher are given their due. She espoused a kind of individual responsibility that is now in short supply.

North Northwester said...

Welcome Reverse Vampire, and thank for your comment. Yes, indeed, it is long overdue that she should come out from under the monsoon of hatred that the whole Left [including some so-called Conservatives] throw at her.

But the problem is, I fear, that though she won those elections her enemies and ours won control of the institutions - including the BBC.

That's what made this article so remarkable - only one possibly hurtful thing - the 'Iron Lady' soubriquet -which she and I loved at the time.

Still, we fight on, don't we?

DJ said...

Well, y'know, the effective conservative is always the one the liberals are calling a lunatic/retard/nasty/weird....

Just as long as Lady T was a goofy variety act the BBC was fine with her. It was only when they realised she actually meant all that stuff that they let their inner thug out.

Anonymous said...

Remember that episode of The Goodies wherein they time-travelled to the future, to find that Mrs Thatcher had replaced the Queen on the 1 pound note!


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