By Torin Douglas
Media correspondent, BBC News
New light has been shed on the early career of the notorious spy Guy Burgess, with the publication of 24 previously unreleased documents from the BBC Archive.
Burgess worked for the BBC as a radio producer in two spells between 1936 and 1944 before joining the Foreign Office.
In one memo, he explained why he tried to break open his office door with a fire extinguisher, insisting that he had not been drunk.
In another, he described how Winston Churchill, then an opponent of the government, complained he was "always muzzled by the BBC".
The documents have been published on the BBC Archive website, in a section titled
Burgess at the BBC: The Early Career of a Notorious Spy.
Guy Burgess joined the BBC after Cambridge University, where he'd been recruited as a spy. He was helped by a reference from the renowned historian Sir George Trevelyan, who said: "He is a first-rate man. He has passed through the communist measles that so many of our clever young men go through and is well out of it."
In 1938 as a radio producer on The Week in Westminster, Burgess wrote a letter to his friend and fellow spy Anthony Blunt (whom he'd recruited at Cambridge), advising him what to do in case his radio talk was too short - "sit facing the clock and gag a bit at the end".
Burgess' expenses were questioned by his bosses in letters
As part of his job, Burgess wined and dined MPs. In the current climate, his BBC expenses might face particular scrutiny.
He said a lunch with Megan Lloyd George - the daughter of the former Prime Minister David Lloyd George - had been sanctioned in advance "to discuss a very difficult coal debate at only time available". It cost 17 shillings.
Other entertainment expenses were frowned upon by his superiors.
One memo says: "The entertainment to Captain Harrison at 6s. 6d is heavy for what amounted to 'a drink at 6.45'. MPs are expensive to entertain and doubtless Burgess likes the Corporation to give as full measure as the Press.
"It requires a very strong character to reduce this expenditure but the attempt should certainly be made."
When his travel expenditure was questioned - a first-class return train fare to Cambridge, costing 18 shillings - he replied: "I normally travel first class and see no reason why I should alter my practice when on BBC business, particularly when I'm in my best clothes."
This reasoning was disputed by the BBC in another memo.
In a 1943 memo, his supervisor complained about Burgess's taxi fares, saying: "(a) the Corporation is making every effort to cut down any avoidable expenditure and (b) the nation is being asked to save fuel."
In the same memo, he wrote of Burgess: "His office hours are very flexible - he is rarely here before 10.45am since he reads his papers and Hansards at home and spends most of the rest of the day out of the office making contacts."
Burgess left the BBC in 1944 at the request of the Foreign Office, which said he was needed for war work in its news department.
The BBC reluctantly conceded, saying he was a very good producer and would be a serious loss, although it said, "he has his failings".