The Brains Trust

The Brains Trust team 1941
Here in 1941,Quentin Reynolds, Dr. C.E.M. Joad and Julian Huxley face, across the table, Commander A.B. Campbell, Donald McCullough, the question-master and E.N. da C. Andrade

The Brains Trust which started as a simple programme in January 1941 designed to answer listener's queries under the title 'Any Questions?' and developed into one of the most popular informational programmes ever broadcast.

The first series of The Brains Trust started in September 1942 and continued for 84 weeks without a break and, after its promotion to peak time on Sunday afternoons, was regularly heard by 29% of the population, receiving between four and five thousand letters a week.

Apart from the original three members of the Brain Trust's team (C.E.M. Joad, philosopher and psychologist, Julian Huxley, biologist, and Commander A.B. Campbell, a retired naval officer and anecdotalist) with their chairman Donald McCullough, others made broadcasting reputations on the programme; Sir Malcolm Sargent, the conductor was one; Kenneth Clark, Hannen Swaffer, Anna Neagle, Commander R.T Gould, Barbara Ward and the young Michael Ayrton were others. Also the great British comedian, astronomer, film star and intellectual, Will Hay made several appearances.

The programme ended in May 1949 and was transferred to BBC Television in the 1950s with the soundtrack going out on the Home Service during the following week.

A Listeners' Brains Trust programme was broadcast on 4th. January 1943 in which the BBC put its Brains Trust into reverse. For one night only, the regular Brains Trust residents were invited to send in questions and six members of the public were invisted to give their spontaneous answers.
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The Anvil

The Anvil - Professor Victor Murray (centre)

A similar programme called 'The Anvil' was broadcast and was on the air for most of the Second World War. About 4000 questions were sent in during the first series of six programmes. Under a lay chairman, Prof. Victor Murray, a panel of four (two Angicans, one Roman Catholic and one from the Free Churches) tried 'to give honest Christian answers to listener's doubts, difficulties and enquiries'.

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