The endpapers of this book show two photos of Broadcasting House, seen from Portland Place. In the first, taken in 1932, the building resembles a sleek white liner; in the second, from 1945, the blackened building looks more like a battle cruiser after a hard run to Malta or Murmansk. The BBC played an integral part in the Second World War, unifying at home, beaconing hope abroad. It should be a great story to tell, but Edward Stourton’s attitude to the BBC is oddly conflicted.
Although he regularly presents programmes on Radio 4 (and read this book aloud on the network), Stourton is a member of the family who wishes to recoil from its embarrassing embrace. This explains his dreadful title, Auntie’s War, and the use of ‘Auntie’ as a nickname for the