Monday, April 4, 2016

Roll up

Which will arrive first at Broadcasting House - a nice new Charter or a statue of George Orwell ?

The George Orwell Memorial Trust has campaigned since 2011 to be allowed to erect a bronze, paid for by subscription, of former BBC employee Eric Blair, who worked for the Corporation from 1941 to 1943. Joan Bakewell said she asked former DG Mark Thompson for his backing in 2012, and he turned it down 'flat' because he felt Orwell would be too left-wing for the BBC to honour. Since then, Lords Hall and Patten have relented, and apparently the BBC Trust is okay about it, too.

So now a detailed planning submission has been lodged, for the statue by Martin Jennings. His previous works include The Queen Mother in St Paul's, Philip Larkin at Hull Station, John Betjeman at St Pancras, and Ronnie Barker outside the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury.

From the photo-montages that go with the application, you can see a euphony between the statue and its positioning. Orwell, fag in hand, stands at the "back door" of the BBC, where
nicotiners gather to reflect on tricky editorial issues. Huge selfie opportunities.

The inscription reads "If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear", taken from a preface written by Orwell for Animal Farm. Animal Farm was published in 1945, but the preface didn't emerge till 1972.

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