Jonathan Dimbleby caused a stir last week when he gave an interview telling RadioTimes.com that the BBC must be defended against “powerful, vested interests”. And he’s not done yet.
Following his excellent BBC2 series The BBC at War about Auntie’s rebirth during the WWII, he’s got something else up his sleeve.
Dimbleby’s next project is another focusing on Second World War history, this time about the Battle of the Atlantic and the Allies’ fight against the U-Boat threat.
He’s written a 200,000-word book on the subject – and there’s a good chance of a TV series, we understand.
The book, The Battle of the Atlantic, tells the story of the longest campaign of the Second World War, including the moves and manoeuvres that led to victory.
Dimbleby said: “It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a long battle that was fought with relentless ferocity at sea and in the corridors of power in Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States. It was a human and political drama of great intensity that shaped the outcome of the Second World War. I hope that my account of this seismic struggle will engross my readers as it has absorbed me.” The book will be published by Viking this autumn.
Dimbleby presents Any Questions? for BBC Radio 4 and is the author of other publications including Destiny in the Desert: the Road to El Alamein and Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and Its People, both of which had spin-off TV programmes.
His recent series, the BBC at War, examined the Corporation’s struggles to report the news truthfully and fairly during the Second World War and emerge as an international broadcaster of high repute and independence.
The documentary was timely too, lodging the story of one of Auntie’s finest hours in the minds of the politicians who will decide its fate in a year when its Royal Charter is up for renewal.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Dimbleby said that “the nation would lose massively if the BBC were to face any kind of demise”.
In a wide-ranging interview to promote his new series, the author and presenter also noted that the freezing of the licence fee – which is capped at its 2010 sum of £145.50 until 31st March 2017 – is already damaging it.
“I believe that while there are powerful vested interests who would like to see the BBC denied a licence fee [and] without a licence fee, the BBC could not do what it does,” he said. “It’s stressed at the moment.”
Jonathan Dimbleby: the BBC must be defended against “powerful, vested interests”
Jonathan Dimbleby on The Road to El Alamein: Churchill’s Desert Campaign