C.S. Lewis at the BBC

For each talk in his first series, the BBC paid C.S. Lewis a fee of ten guineas plus an allowance to cover the cost of the railway journey from Oxford to London and back. Lewis had no intention of keeping the money for himself, and told his producer, Eric Fenn, that he'd prefer to give the fee to someone else. Fenn promised Lewis to let him know if this was possible, and before too long the BBC Contracts Department wrote to Lewis accordingly: 'We understand from Mr Fenn that you would like us to make the fees for your talks   payable to some person other than yourself. Please let us know to whom you wish these fees be made payable, we will act in accordance with your instructions,'

Lewis's instructions are heeded: 'As you request, we have asked our accounts department to make the cheque for fifty guineas payable to Miss Whitty of 7 Chertsey Road, Bristol 6 and I enclose a copy of the letter sent to her today. The [train] fare will be sent direct to you.'  In the accompanying letter to Miss Whitty, the BBC's Contracts Department wrongly assumes that C.S. Lewis must be a clergyman to give a religious talk and simply states that 'the Rev. C.S. Lewis has recently broadcast five talks in our programmes and asked us to make the cheque for his fees payable to you'.

Lewis never kept the fees for himself but always gave them away.

Justin Phillips
C.S. Lewis at the BBC (Harper Collins)
Ch.9 What Christians Believe


Rebecca said...

Do we know who Ms Whitty was?

DEI-EX said...

I'm afraid I have no idea... BUT, perhaps the lady who handled all of Jack's giving/support?