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DOI

10.7275/R5WS8R5X

Abstract

P: PORTUGUESE CULTURAL STUDIES 5 Spring 2013 ISSN: 1874 - 6969 70 NELSON RIBEIRO Universidade Católica Portuguesa ANTÓNIO PEDRO’S “MONDAY CHRONICLES”: THE VOICE OF DEMOCRACY ON THE BBC BROADCASTS TO PORTUGAL DURING WORLD WAR II Abstract: In the final phase of the Second World War, António Pedro became one of the most emblematic voices of the BBC’s Portuguese Section, mainly due to his “Monday Chronicles” in which he presented his views on British society along with comments on military and geopolitical developments occurring at that time. He achieved a high level of popularity among listeners in Portugal during the almost two years he was a regular on the microphones, i.e. between January 1944 and October 1945. His chronicles were considered the most important programme of a political nature in the broadcasts to Portugal. Part of this success was due to Pedro himself, his style of writing and way of talking at the microphone, but it is also important to remember that broadcasts from London in Portuguese, which had begun in June 1939, achieved great success right from the start of the Second World War because they were the main source of information on the developments in the conflict. The number of BBC listeners increased even more after the opening of the Eastern Front, which coincided with a tightening of censorship in Portugal and the consequent omission of news in the national media about Russian military advances. This obviously generated greater interest in listening to foreign broadcasts, especially the Voice of London, the station that had the greatest impact in Portugal during the war. António Pedro joining the BBC marked a change in the editorial line of the Portuguese Section, and he contributed decisively to familiarising Portuguese listeners with words like “democracy”. It is however undeniable that the success of the broadcasts he made from London can only be truly understood in the context of the role played by the BBC in Portugal during the Second World War. The present article relies on document research conducted in archives located in Portugal and the UK. Due to the absence of recordings from the BBC Portuguese Service, the quotes from Pedro’s “Monday Chronicles”, with the sole exception of the texts that were censored and that can be found at the BBC Written Archives, were taken from the manuscripts the author himself prepared for publication after the war and that are held at the Portuguese National Library.