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1965: Immigrants feel at home with BBC

VIDEO : Three Asian men in Smethwick give views on the plans

The British Broadcasting Corporation has announced plans to introduce a new service for Asian immigrants starting next week.

The programmes will go out every Sunday on radio on the BBC's Home Service and on television on BBC1.

Titled 'Making Yourself at Home', the programmes will offer informal language lessons in everyday English and music from Indian and Pakistani films.

David Gretton, organiser and producer of the series says the English lessons will provide an opportunity for people who have recently moved to Britain from India and Pakistan to cope with everyday situations.

He said: "They teach the words and phrases needed...and convey a reassurance that these situations are not too difficult to be faced".

Everyday chores

Guests on the programme will discuss carrying out essential domestic routines such as taking children to school or finding their way on the bus.

According to Mr Gretton the target audience is approximately 250,000 listeners and viewers, with emphasis placed on serving recently-arrived wives and school-age children joining their Asian fathers and husbands.

"Our task here is to answer questions, and to sweeten the jaw-breaking complexities of housing or nationality with a little traditional song and dance," Mr Gretton said.

Contributors will speak in a combination of Hindu, Urdu and English.

The radio programme will be broadcast at 0810 hours on Sunday mornings and last for half-an-hour. The television programme will be shown at 0900 and last 15 minutes. The TV version will be repeated on Wednesdays at 1225 hours.

In Context
The 'immigrant service' was introduced under the BBC governorship of Hugh Greene, who was responding to calls for broadcasters to consider serving a growing immigrant population.

Maurice Foley, a junior government minister with special responsibility for immigrants said in the first programme's introduction:

"I hope you will find them entertaining and useful...so that you can settle happily amongst us."

He went on: "In the world of today we all need to know a great deal more about each other. This is one small contribution towards showing you something of ourselves and the society in which you live."

In 1967 Rainbow City became the first drama series to give a leading role to a black actor.


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