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The BBC emerged from the Second World War as the critical adjunct to the religious culture of Britain, and this the churches sought to defend with ferocity through the power of the Central Religious Advisory Committee (CRAC). This formed a close alliance with the employees of the Religious Broadcasting Department. Down to the mid-1960s, CRAC effectively forced the management of the BBC to allow broadcasters to perform evangelising functions, and to keep Humanists and atheists from using the mic to disseminate their life stances or to attack religion. A group of influential religious employees, including the senior administrator Harman Grisewood, imposed a discrete but firm anti-secular policy upon the corporation until the 1960s. This became firmer, not weaker, as the period progressed, so that the few broadcasts on atheism were concentrated in the late 1940s rather than the 1960s.
Post-war British culture was initially dominated by religious-led sexual austerity and, from the sixties, by secular liberalism. Using five case studies of local licensing and a sixth on the BBC, conservative Christians are exposed here as the nation's censors, fighting effectively for purity on stage, screen and in public places. The Anglican-led Public Morality Council was astonishingly successful in restraining sex in London's media in the fifties, but a brazen sexualised culture thrived amongst the millions of tourists to Blackpool, whilst Glasgow and the Isle of Lewis were gripped by conservatism. But come the late 1960s, tourists took Blackpool's sexual liberalism home, whilst progressive Humanism burrowed into Parliament and the BBC to secularise moral reform and the national narrative. Using extensive archival research, Callum G. Brown adopts a secular gaze to show how conservative Christians lost the battle for the nation's moral culture.