This chapter presents an introduction on the BBC's treatment of two national, integrative, ‘British’ institutions, the empire and the monarchy. It demonstrates the extent to which the BBC championed the British imperial ideal in its programmes, and constructed the monarchy as a guarantor of a peculiarly British individualism, freedom and pluralism. The BBC's focus on empire and monarchy to represent British national identity was neither innovative nor risky; the BBC did not try to change fundamental ideas of what it meant to be British, but it did help to refashion these traditional symbols of Britishness during a period of significant social and political change. Furthermore, this chapter turns to the work of the BBC in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and examines the tensions between the BBC's efforts to project a uniform Britishness and its commitment to local and regional broadcasting in these areas.
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