No Recordings Of Orwell's Voice?

According to this documentary - skip to 1 minute 25 seconds - there are no moving pictures or voice recordings of George Orwell.

No moving pictures I can accept; but I find it hard to believe that of the hundreds of hours of BBC broadcasts he did there isn’t a single hour that was recorded and/or survived.

So I ask; is it really true that no sample of Orwell’s voice exists today (or at least when the doc was made)?

A similar statement can be made about recordings of C. S. Lewis. Orwell died in 1950 and Lewis in 1963. Lewis recorded several programs for BBC radio. Only one survives:

It appears that no film or TV recordings were ever made of Lewis. Back in those days, it was standard to throw out radio and TV recordings (assuming that they were recorded at all, and many were just live and not recorded) and even a lot of film recordings. So it’s not surprising that someone who died in 1950, even though he was moderately successful as a writer.

On the other hand, even today copies sometimes turn up of radio and TV shows that were thought to have been lost (because they were broadcast live and/or no official recordings were kept). Somebody might have recorded a show as it was being broadcast and then stored the tapes in a box somewhere…

Edit: for example, Samuel Beckett’s voice was thought to have been lost forever but a recording was found in 2001.

It is true.

But apparently the reason is no mystery.

I wrote:

> So it’s not surprising that someone who died in 1950, even though he was
> moderately successful as a writer.

I meant:

> So it’s not surprising that someone who died in 1950, even though he was
> moderately successful as a writer, might have no remaining recordings.

Yes, it’s possible that somewhere there are recordings of Orwell that were thrown out but kept by someone in their basement or some such.

The Beeb destroyed a lot of recordings of the Doctor Who TV series years ago. There’s been much effort in finding these ‘lost’ recordings. Some have shown up in other countries such as Australia and places in Africa as copies were shipped there for local broadcast. Some are copies of copies and not very good. However, it’s possible that Orwell’s recordings are out there somewhere. If he had a large fan base, like Doctor Who, for such recordings, they may well turn up.

Thanks folks :slight_smile:

I hadn’t taken the neck wound into account at all.

[Orwell paraphrase]The doctor said I had been lucky. I couldn’t help but think how much luckier to not have been shot in the first place.[/Orwell paraphrase]

Still I find it incredible that nothing has survived given the vast number of broadcasts he made and the cumulative hours they represent.

But I guess the BBC has never been accused of hoarding :wink:

So Big Brother wasn’t really watching him that closely or care enough to keep their recordings. :smiley:

One surprising near absence is Hitler. While there are numerous recordings of him giving public speeches in his bombastic style, there’s only a single recording of him speaking in his normal voice.

Always wished I could hear Orwell sing “It Was Only a Hopeless Fancy”.

I knew about both and it is weird, though I think CS Lewis absence is even weirder. Did he really not give any recorded interview that was not wiped in his entire life?

Who else is surprising? Do we have much video and audio of Terrance Mallick?

CS Lewis
George Orwell

While I realize she died in the 1920s, I was very surprised to read that no known moving footage of Isadora Duncan exists, because none was, to anyone’s knowledge, ever taken.