An Actor Read Churchill’s Wartime Speeches Over the Wireless. This popular myth is completely wrong.
Washington, DC. 1943. Winston Churchill broadcasts the news of the third anniversary of the English Home Guard while visiting the White House.
Winston Churchill is such a towering figure in history that numerous myths about him have taken root over the decades. One of those myths is this: actors mimicked Churchill’s voice and broadcast his famous speeches on the BBC after he had given them in Parliament. (There was then no recording equipment in the House of Parliament). Winston Churchill’s speeches were uniquely his own.
an iconic photograph of Winston Churchill by Cecil Beaton at Number 10 Downing Street after he became Prime Minister
Churchill did not enjoy broadcasting since he couldn’t see the audience of listeners and was simply speaking into a microphone in a recording studio. Not the ideal venue for him.
Nonetheless, Churchill personally broadcast his speeches. Other times when he made brief comments on the BBC, he and only he broadcast those. No actor ever, not ever, presented himself to the BBC radio audience as Winston Churchill.
Churchill in his uniform as Honorary Air Commodore. He loved wearing uniforms but only wore ones he was entitled to wear. All the ribbons are decorations he had won as an army officer.
During his lifetime Churchill had been under enemy fire many times and was the first Prime Minister since the Duke of Wellington to have killed men in battle. As a young officer in the Empire, as a war correspondent, and as a Lt. Colonel commanding a battalion on the Western Front in World War One, Churchill was well acquainted with war and saw no glory in it.
“Ah, horrible war, amazing medley of the glorious and the squalid, the pitiful and the sublime, if modern men of light and leading saw your face closer, simple folk would see it hardly ever.” —Winston Churchill, 22 January 1900
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