Archive for September, 2011

48 years on from a significant moment for the OU

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Speech in Glasgow 8 September 1963 by the Leader of HM Opposition, Harold Wilson.

Today I want to outline new proposals on which we are working, a dynamic programme providing facilities for home study to university and higher technical standards, on the basis of a University of the Air and of nationally organized correspondence college courses.

These will be intended to cater for a wide variety of potential students. There are technicians and technologists who perhaps left school at sixteen or seventeen and who, after two or three years in industry, feel that they could qualify as graduate scientists or technologists. There are many others, perhaps in clerical occupations, who would like to acquire new skills and new qualifications. There are many in all levels of industry who would desire to become qualified in their own or other fields, including those who had no facilities for taking GEC at 0 or A level, or other required qualifications; or housewives who might like to secure qualifications in English Literature, Geography or History.

Drama from The Open University

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Television programmes featuring versions of these plays were made for A307 in the BBC’s Studio A at Alexandra Palace in 1977.

1. Sophocles, Oedipus the King

2. Shakespeare, Macbeth

3. The York Crucifixion and The Brome Abraham and Isaac

4. Carlo Goldoni, The Venetian Twins

5. William Congreve, The Way of the World

6. Alfred Jarry, Ubu Roi

7. Georg Büchner, Woyzeck

8. Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt

9. Henrik Ibsen, The Wild Duck

10. Anton Chekhov, Three Sisters

11. August Stindberg, The Ghost Sonata

12. Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author

13. Bertolt Brecht, The Exception and the Rule

14. Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

15. Jean Genet, The Balcony

16. Athol Fugard, Sizwe Bansi is Dead

Although it was involved in the production process the BBC refused to screen Jean Genet’s play, Le Balcon (The Balcony) which was set in a brothel. The 1971 Agreement between the OU and the BBC gave the latter the right to ‘refuse to transmit any programme or part of a programme which in the opinion of the Corporation contains anything defamatory or likely to bring the Corporation into disrepute’ (Agreement 16 December 1971, Broadcasting File 2, OU Archives, Clause 4, p. 3. Copy in Broadcasting File 2, OU Archives). Despite the right to broadcast, or not, resting with the BBC, the Corporation was rebuked by the OU’s Chancellor at the Alexandra Palace degree ceremony (See Open House, 24 May 1977, Open House, 5 July 1977).  For more about the drama made for A307 see Brian Stone and Pat Scorer, Sophocles to Fugard, BBC, London 1977. Brian Stone (1919-95) was the Course Team Chair of A307 and one of the first people to be appointed to the OU. A former actor and director he was made a Reader in English Literature in 1969. Pat Scorer was an OU collague who married Stone in 1985.

Women viewers sought

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Are you female? Do you have memories of watching OU programmes? If so then Warwick and the OU would like to hear from you. Please send us your recollections, and pass then onto Warwick as well. Rachel Moseley of the University of Warwick is working on a project on the history of television for women in Britain. Others involved are Dr Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick), Dr Helen Wood (De Montfort University, Leicester); Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Dr. Mary Irwin (University of Warwick; Doctoral Researcher: Ms. Hazel Collie (De Montfort University). The project brings together archival and audience research methods in order to map this untold history and explore women viewers’ memories of the television that has been addressed to them. On the project see here.