If you want to know the man, you should dwell on the life of Dylan Thomas on BBC. Although he was known as a great poet and literary artist, his prominence started with his stint with BBC.
BBC at the time of Dylan Thomas
What was BBC like during the time of Dylan Thomas? First of all, this was right in the midst of World War II. This led to a lot of fundamental changes in the BBC programming and that paved the way for Thomas to make a career out of himself.
In truth, the time of war brought the radio to greater popularity. When people in the midst of the battle yearned for news, they turned to the radio. BBC focused on broadcasting to different languages to deliver news and entertainment to war-torn areas in the Europe.
It is this expansion that helped Thomas find his place in the airwaves. People began hearing Thomas on BBC and a lot of them did not just admire his talent in writing – but also came to appreciate the unique tone of his voice.
Dylan Thomas on BBC
The voice recording of Dylan Thomas paved the way for his success as a literary writer. BBC used this to make him one of the populist voices in the literary scene. He did not only recorded his voice, he also wrote scripts. It was not really a major source of income since the need for the scripts were not frequent.
In 1943, he wrote the script for “Reminiscences of Childhood” – a 15-minute talk for Welsh BBC. He also recorded the script that he wrote. In 1944, he also recorded “Quite Early One Morning” for Welsh BBC but it was not aired after it was offered to London BBC and then turned down. It was only in 1945 when this recording was broadcast. Between 1945 until 1948, there were more than a hundred recordings by Thomas on BBC.
Dylan Thomas did not just write and record his own scripts. He was also employed to join discussions and provide critiques. When his work on “Deaths and Entrances” was published in 1946, that served as a turning point for the Welsh poet. It was met with rave reviews and solidified his position as a poet.
In 1945, Thomas also read for the “Book of Verse” a regular BBC Radio programme that was broadcast on a weekly basis somewhere in the Far East. This gave Thomas a regular stream of income. Another break came when BBC started to transmit the “Third Programme”. This was a high-culture network that opened doors for Thomas. When he lent his sonorous voice to one of the characters in plays aired on the programme, he became a popular guest on various radio talk shows for BBC.
Unfortunately, there was never a concrete contract for Thomas on BBC mainly because of his lifestyle and drinking issues. However, his work with the company helped make him a radio voice celebrity in Britain during that period.