Seeing it Through
by Neil Brand

Neil Brand - Seeing It Through

BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3

Broadcast: Sunday 4th November 2007 @ 8:00 p.m.

Imagine if Alastair Campbell had recruited Tom Stoppard, JK Rowling, Ian McEwan and Jeanette Winterson to write patriotic literature supporting the war in Iraq. In 1914, Charles Masterman used the literary and artistic elite to unite the nation.

"Seeing It Through" is Wellington House, the covert British propaganda outfit from World War One (also known as the War Propaganda Bureau), which under Charles Masterman conducted a would-be civilised campaign of information management, using willing well-known authors (Wells, Bennett, Doyle, Chesterton) to argue Britain's rightfulness in fighting such a war, and employing other media, including film. There is a passing mention of Charles Urban, who produced the documentary feature "Britain Prepared" (1915) for Masterman, and a reference at the end to "The Battle of the Somme" (1916), made by the British Topical Committee for War Films, with somewhat anachronistic comment on its use of some inauthentic footage. A thoughtful, skillful piece from the prodigious Mr Brand.

With Michael Maloney [Charles Masterman], Clare Corbett [Jean], Robert Pugh [Lloyd George], Sam Dale [H. G. Wells], Honeysuckle Weeks [Frances Stevenson], Sam Pamphilon [Frank], Ben Crowe [Dwyer], John Dougall [Robert Donald], Simon Treves [Arnold Bennett], and Peter Marinker [Thomas Hardy].

Directed by David Hunter.

90 min.


    The play was favourably reviewed by Elisabeth Mahoney of 'The Guardian'. I've summarised part of her piece below:


    Monday 5th November 2007

    ........."Seeing It Through" (Radio 3, Sunday), considered the relationship between art, politics and war.

    Set in 1914, the play looked at the career of Liberal politician Charles Masterman (1873-1927) from the time of his appointment to the British War Propaganda Bureau. Michael Maloney, as Masterman, came across as a fair and well-meaning man though with a shrinking reputation, increasingly dependent on drink as his influence waned.

    It was a thought-provoking play.

Click on the link for the Neil Brand page....

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