Sunday, March 14, 2021

Dunsany Himself on Film

The photograph of Dunsany reproduced at right comes from a magazine from 1950.  Dunsany looks, at age 72, a bit scruffier than in most other contemporary photos, with a longer and less-artfully trimmed beard.  But what is especially interesting to me is the caption, with the information that Dunsany is reading one of his Jorkens stories before the BBC television cameras. I know of audio recordings of Dunsany's voice (he occasionally read stories over the radio in the 1930s), and I wrote about one here. But the possibility that he was filmed reading a story is new to me. If anyone knows any further details about such things, please let us know via the comments. 

The only time (currently) that I know of when Dunsany was filmed was for a ten-minute segment of the long-running  BBC Television show "Speaking Personally," which ran from November 1936 through April 1964. Dunsany's segment was broadcast at 9 pm, on Tuesday, 7 June 1938. Likewise, I do not know whether it, or any filmed footage of Dunsany, still survives.


  1. There's a listing at the BBC Genome site, for a "Saturday-Night Story", told by Lord Dunsany, on 17th April 1948. Not much more detail than that, sadly, even in the scan of the listings magazine:

  2. Thanks, Murray. I think I nixed that when I looked because I thought it was a listing for a radio appearance, but looking closer now I see you are correct and that it was for television. It must have been a fairly short story, as Dunsany's appearance was scheduled for only fifteen minutes.

  3. In 1950 television and film were different things. Early on there was a short-lived process using an intermediate film stage, and later of course came videotape. But then BBC television was not filmed. Similarly for radio, little was pre-recorded and of that nothing was officially saved except for a tiny amount chosen by selectors with mainly short-sighted criteria.