The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist and critic, whose work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, outspoken support of democratic socialism. Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry and polemical journalism, he is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier, documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England, Homage to Catalonia, an account of his experiences on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, are acclaimed, as are his essays on politics, literature and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture and the term "Orwellian"—descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices—has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including "Big Brother", "Thought Police", "Hate week", "Room 101", "memory hole", "newspeak", "doublethink", "proles", "unperson" and "thoughtcrime".
Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 in Motihari, British India. His great-grandfather, Charles Blair, was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica, his grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman. Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not, his father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair, grew up in Moulmein, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older; when Eric was one year old, his mother his sisters to England. His birthplace and ancestral house in Motihari has been declared a protected monument of historical importance. In 1904 Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, apart from a brief visit in mid-1907, the family did not see their husband or father, Richard Blair, until 1912.
His mother's diary from 1905 describes a lively round of artistic interests. Before the First World War, the family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family their daughter Jacintha; when they first met, he was standing on his head in a field. On being asked why, he said, "You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up." Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry, dreamed of becoming famous writers. He said. During this period, he enjoyed shooting and birdwatching with Jacintha's brother and sister. Aged five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames, which Marjorie attended, it was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903. His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair's brother Charles Limouzin recommended St Cyprian's School, East Sussex.
Limouzin, a proficient golfer, knew of the school and its headmaster through the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904. The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win a scholarship, made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair's parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911, Eric arrived at St Cyprian's, he boarded at the school for the next five years. During this period, while working for the Ministry of Pensions, his mother lived at 23 Cromwell Crescent, Earls Court, he knew nothing of the reduced fees, although he "soon recognised that he was from a poorer home". Blair hated the school and many years wrote an essay "Such, Such Were the Joys", published posthumously, based on his time there. At St Cyprian's, Blair first met Cyril Connolly. Many years as the editor of Horizon, Connolly published several of Orwell's essays. While at St Cyprian's, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard.
He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize, had his work praised by the school's external examiner, earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton. But inclusion on the Eton scholarship roll did not guarantee a place, none was available for Blair, he chose to stay at St Cyprian's until December 1916. In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington. In May 1917 a place became available as a King's Scholar at Eton. At this time the family lived at Notting Hill Gate. Blair remained at Eton until December 1921, when he left midway between his 19th birthday. Wellington was "beastly", Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, but he said he was "interested and happy" at Eton, his principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow, Fellow of Trinity College, who gave him advice in his career. Blair was taught French by Aldous Huxley. Steven Runciman, at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley's linguistic flair. Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years
Nineteen Eighty-Four published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English writer George Orwell published in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. In the novel, Great Britain has become a province of a superstate named Oceania. Oceania is ruled by the "Party", who employ the "Thought Police" to persecute individualism and independent thinking; the Party's leader is Big Brother, who enjoys an intense cult of personality but may not exist. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a rank-and-file Party member. Smith is an outwardly diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. Smith rebels by entering a forbidden relationship with fellow employee Julia; as literary political fiction and dystopian science fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, thoughtcrime, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, memory hole, have entered into common usage since its publication in 1949.
Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which connotes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005, it was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editors' list, 6 on the readers' list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Orwell "encapsulate the thesis at the heart of his unforgiving novel" in 1944, the implications of dividing the world up into zones of influence, conjured by the Tehran Conference. Three years he wrote most of it on the Scottish island of Jura from 1947 to 1948 despite being ill with tuberculosis. On 4 December 1948, he sent the final manuscript to the publisher Secker and Warburg, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on 8 June 1949. By 1989, it had been translated into more than any other novel in English until then.
The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language and the author's surname are invoked against control and intrusion by the state, the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia, characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell's invented language, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: the Ministry of Love oversees torture and brainwashing, the Ministry of Plenty oversees shortage and rationing, the Ministry of Peace oversees war and atrocity and the Ministry of Truth oversees propaganda and historical revisionism; the Last Man in Europe was an early title for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between that title and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Warburg suggested choosing the main title to be a more commercial one. In his 1978 novel 1985, English author Anthony Burgess suggests that Orwell, disillusioned by the onset of the Cold War, intended to call the book 1948.
The introduction to the Penguin Books Modern Classics edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four reports that Orwell set the novel in 1980 but that he shifted the date to 1982 and to 1984. The introduction to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Animal Farm and 1984 reports that the title 1984 was chosen as an inversion of the year 1948, the year in which it was being completed, that the date was meant to give an immediacy and urgency to the menace of totalitarian rule. Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or challenged, as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like the dystopian novels We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, Kallocain by Karin Boye and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; some writers consider the Russian dystopian novel We by Zamyatin to have influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four, that the novel bears significant similarities in its plot and characters to Darkness at Noon, written years before by Koestler, a personal friend of Orwell.
The novel is in the public domain in Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Oman. It will be in the public domain in the United Kingdom, the EU, Brazil in 2020, in the United States in 2044. Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental superstates that divided the world after a global war. Smith's memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom became involved in a war during the early 1950s in which nuclear weapons destroyed hundreds of cities in Europe, western Russia and North America. Colchester was destroyed and London suffered widespread aerial raids, leading Winston's family to take refuge in a London Underground station. Britain fell into civil war, with street fighting in London, before the English Socialist Party, abbreviated as Ingsoc, emerged victorious and formed a totalitarian government in Britain; the British Commonwealth and Latin America were absorbed by the United States, resulting in the superstate of Oceania.
Ingsoc became the sole government party in this new nation. The Soviet Union conquered continental Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia, under a Ne
The Normans are an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans, Norse Viking settlers. The settlements followed a series of raids on the French coast from Denmark and Iceland, they gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia; the distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged in the first half of the 10th century, it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries. The Norman dynasty had a major political and military impact on medieval Europe and the Near East; the Normans were famed for their martial spirit and for their Catholic piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy of the Romance community into which they assimilated. They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language, still spoken today in parts of Normandy and the nearby Channel Islands.
The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers played a role in founding the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy and Malta from the Saracens and Byzantines, during an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, which led to the Norman conquest of England at the historic Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the ninth century, the Normans captured Seville in Southern Spain, Norman and Anglo-Norman forces contributed to the Iberian Reconquista from the early eleventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to Ireland, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.
The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional languages and dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories. The English name "Normans" comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant, modern French normand, itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman" or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized variously as Nortmannus, Normannus, or Nordmannus to mean "Norseman, Viking"; the 11th century Benedictine monk and historian, Goffredo Malaterra, characterised the Normans thus: Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, uniting, as they did, these two opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report, they were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held down by the yoke of justice.
They were enduring of toil and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, of all the weapons and garb of war. In the course of the 10th century, the destructive incursions of Norse war bands going upstream into the rivers of France penetrated further into interior Europe, evolved into more permanent encampments that included local French women and personal property; the Duchy of Normandy, which began in 911 as a fiefdom, was established by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the famed Viking ruler Rollo known as Gaange Rolf, from Scandinavia, was situated in the former Frankish kingdom of Neustria. The treaty offered Rollo and his men the French coastal lands along the English Channel between the river Epte and the Atlantic Ocean coast in exchange for their protection against further Viking incursions; as well as granting to protect the area of Rouen from Viking invasion, Rollo had to swear not to invade further Frankish lands himself, accept baptism and conversion to the Roman Catholic faith of Christianity becoming Christian and swear fealty to King Charles III.
He became the first Duke of Count of Rouen. The area corresponded to the northern part of present-day Upper Normandy down to the river Seine, but the Duchy would extend west beyond the Seine; the territory was equivalent to the old province of Rouen, reproduced the old Roman Empire's administrative structure of Gallia Lugdunensis II. Before Rollo's arrival, Normandy's populations did not differ from Picardy or the Île-de-France, which were considered "Frankish". Earlier Viking settlers had begun arriving in the 880s, but were divided between colonies in the east around the low Seine valley and in the west in the Cotentin Peninsula, were separated by traditional pagii, where the population remained about the same with no foreign settlers. Rollo's contingents from Scandinavia who raided and settled Normandy and parts of the European Atlantic coast included Danes, Norse–Gaels, Orkney Vikings, p
BBC One is the first and principal television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution, it was renamed BBC TV in 1960, using this name until the launch of the second BBC channel BBC2 in 1964, whereupon the BBC TV channel became known as BBC1, with the current spelling adopted in 1997. The channel's annual budget for 2012–13 was £1.14 billion. The channel is funded by the television licence fee together with the BBC's other domestic television stations, shows uninterrupted programming without commercial advertising, it is the most watched television channel in the United Kingdom, ahead of its traditional rival for ratings leadership, ITV. As of June 2013 the channel controller for BBC One was Charlotte Moore, who succeeded Danny Cohen as an Acting Controller from May 2013; the BBC began its own regular television programming from the basement of Broadcasting House, London, on 22 August 1932.
The BBC Television Service began regular broadcasts on 2 November 1936 from a converted wing of the Alexandra Palace in London. On 1 September 1939, two days before Britain declared war on Germany, the station was taken off air with little warning, with one of the last programmes to be shown before the suspension of the service being a Mickey Mouse cartoon. BBC Television returned on 7 June 1946 at 15:00. Jasmine Bligh, one of the original announcers, made the first announcement, saying, "Good afternoon everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh?". The Mickey Mouse cartoon of 1939 was repeated twenty minutes later; the BBC held a statutory monopoly on television broadcasting in the United Kingdom until the first Independent Television station began to broadcast on 22 September 1955, when ITV started broadcasting. The competition forced the channel to change its identity and priorities following a large reduction in its audience; the 1962 Pilkington Report on the future of broadcasting noticed this, that ITV lacked any serious programming.
It therefore decided that Britain's third television station should be awarded to the BBC. The station, renamed BBC TV in 1960, became BBC1 when BBC2 was launched on 20 April 1964 transmitting an incompatible 625-line image on UHF; the only way to receive all channels was to use a complex "dual-standard" 405- and 625-line, VHF and UHF, with both a VHF and a UHF aerial. Old 405-line-only sets became obsolete in 1985, when transmission in the standard ended, although standards converters have become available for enthusiasts who collect and restore such TVs. BBC1 was based at the purpose-built BBC Television Centre at White City, London between 1960 and 2013. Television News continued to use Alexandra Palace as its base—by early 1968 it had converted one of its studios to colour—before moving to new purpose-built facilities at Television Centre on 20 September 1969. In the weeks leading up to 15 November 1969, BBC1 unofficially transmitted the occasional programme in its new colour system, to test it.
At midnight on 15 November with ITV and two years after BBC2, BBC1 began 625-line PAL colour programming on UHF with a broadcast of a concert by Petula Clark. Colour transmissions could be received on monochrome 625-line sets until the end of analogue broadcasting. In terms of audience share, the most successful period for BBC1 was under Bryan Cowgill between 1973 and 1977, when the channel achieved an average audience share of 45%; this period is still regarded by many as a golden age of the BBC's output, with the BBC achieving a high standard across its entire range of series, plays, light entertainment and documentaries. On 30 December 1980, the BBC announced their intention to introduce a new breakfast television service to compete with TV-am; the BBC stated it would start broadcasting before TV-am, but made clear their hands were tied until November 1981 when the new licence fee income became available, to help finance extending broadcast hours, with the hope of starting in 1982. On 17 January 1983, the first edition of Breakfast Time was shown on BBC1, becoming the first UK wide breakfast television service and continued to lead in the ratings until 1984.
In 1984, Bill Cotton become managing director of Television at the BBC, set about overhauling BBC1, slated for poor home grown shows, its heavy reliance on US imports, with Dallas and The Thorn Birds being BBC1's highest rated programmes and ratings being over 20% behind ITV. Cotton recruited Michael Grade to become Controller of BBC1, the first time the Corporation had recruited someone outside of the BBC, replacing Alan Hart, criticised for his lack of knowledge in general entertainment, as he was head of BBC Sport prior to 1981; the first major overhaul was to axe the unpopular Sixty Minutes current affairs programme: this was a replacement for the news and magazine show Nationwide. Its replacement was the BBC Six O'Clock News, a straight new programme in a bid to shore up its failing early evening slot, it was believed the BBC were planning to cut short the evening news and move more light entertainment programming in from the 18:20 slot, but this was dismissed. The Miss Great Britain contest was dropped, being described as verging on the too offensive after the January 1985 contest, with Worlds Strongest Man and International Superstar being axed.
BBC1 was relaunched on 18 February 1985 with a new look, new programming including Wogan, EastEnders and a revised schedule to help streamline and maintain viewers thr
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, it employs over 20,950 staff in total. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time and fixed-contract staff are included; the BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, charged to all British households and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up; the fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has funded the BBC World Service, which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, online services in Arabic and Persian.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Studios Ltd, which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. From its inception, through the Second World War, to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture, it is known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both. Britain's first live public broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford took place in June 1920, it was sponsored by the Daily Mail's Lord Northcliffe and featured the famous Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba broadcast caught the people's imagination and marked a turning point in the British public's attitude to radio. However, this public enthusiasm was not shared in official circles where such broadcasts were held to interfere with important military and civil communications. By late 1920, pressure from these quarters and uneasiness among the staff of the licensing authority, the General Post Office, was sufficient to lead to a ban on further Chelmsford broadcasts.
But by 1922, the GPO had received nearly 100 broadcast licence requests and moved to rescind its ban in the wake of a petition by 63 wireless societies with over 3,000 members. Anxious to avoid the same chaotic expansion experienced in the United States, the GPO proposed that it would issue a single broadcasting licence to a company jointly owned by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufactures, to be known as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. John Reith, a Scottish Calvinist, was appointed its General Manager in December 1922 a few weeks after the company made its first official broadcast; the company was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved domestic manufacturers. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform and entertain"; the financial arrangements soon proved inadequate. Set sales were disappointing as amateurs made their own receivers and listeners bought rival unlicensed sets. By mid-1923, discussions between the GPO and the BBC had become deadlocked and the Postmaster-General commissioned a review of broadcasting by the Sykes Committee.
The Committee recommended a short term reorganisation of licence fees with improved enforcement in order to address the BBC's immediate financial distress, an increased share of the licence revenue split between it and the GPO. This was to be followed by a simple 10 shillings licence fee with no royalty once the wireless manufactures protection expired; the BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising. The BBC was banned from presenting news bulletins before 19.00 and was required to source all news from external wire services. Mid-1925 found the future of broadcasting under further consideration, this time by the Crawford committee. By now, the BBC, under Reith's leadership, had forged a consensus favouring a continuation of the unified broadcasting service, but more money was still required to finance rapid expansion. Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise.
The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 general strike broke out in May. The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production, with restrictions on news bulletins waived, the BBC became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis; the crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently; the Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives in a manner of its own choosing; the resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment