Mrs Dale's Diary

Dec 25, 2011, 03:37 PM

Mrs Dale's Diary was the first proper BBC radio serial. It was first broadcast in 1948 on the BBC Light Programme, later carried on Radio 2.

The programme, transmitted each weekday afternoon with a repeat next morning, revolved around a doctor's wife called Mary Dale and her husband Jim. Mrs Dale, over a cascading harp began each edition with a monologue, as if writing a new page in the diary of her life. That device made for both speedy story progression; and ample ammunition for satire.

By 1962, as worries grew about it becoming a little dated, the serial was renamed simply 'The Dales'. It did touch increasingly on more controversial subjects. Long before Eastenders on TV - this was said to be the first mainstream drama where a gay character was portrayed sympathetically.

It ran overall for over 5,000 episodes; then ending in April 1969.

Mrs Dale's Diary was mentioned in the Goon Show and in Round the Horne as 'Mrs Dire's Dreary'. It was satirised in Private Eye and in 'The Glums'. #radio