‘More fair than black’: Othellos on British radio

Smith, Andrea ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6700-8280 (2022) ‘More fair than black’: Othellos on British radio. Shakespeare Survey, 75. pp. 49-59. ISSN 0080-9152

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Abstract

In 1933, as the BBC prepared to air its latest radio production of Othello, the critic and playwright Herbert Farjeon wrote an article for the Radio Times headlined: ‘Othello was a black man.’ In it, he states that, ‘in most present-day stage versions of the play, this all-important point is blunted. The broadcast version will enable us, if not to see, at least to imagine Othello the colour Shakespeare first painted him.’1 However, for almost another seven decades, imagining was all that audiences could do, as a succession of white actors continued to play the role. Examining the part of Othello as played on BBC radio charts the changing attitudes as to who could, and should, play him. This article will look at some of the key productions over the BBC’s 100-year history, reaction to them, and the changing attitudes to a character referred to in the text as ‘more fair than black’ (Othello, 1.3.290)

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 15:30
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2023 15:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/88058
DOI: 10.1017/9781009245845.004

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