Dance Music Policy Committee

In the 1930s, the BBC established the Dance Music Policy Committee to determine what was allowable on public airwaves, establishing general guidelines and censoring certain songs and musicians. This group took seriously its role of safeguarding traditional British values from corrosive influences.

One rule, issued in 1942, read:

We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating and not at all in keeping with what we feel to be the need of the public in this country in the fourth year of war.

I am not for censorship — especially during times of war when expressing alternative viewpoints and catharses should be encouraged— and think bans succeed only in making the ideas, words or behaviors they prohibit more attractive.

Still, there is something to be said for this early attempt to curtail the saccharine messages so common in mass media.


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