Godfrey Baseley

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Godfrey Baseley (2 October 1904 – 2 February 1997), was a radio executive, who is most famous as being the creator of the soap opera The Archers.


Cyril Godfrey Baseley was born at Alvechurch[1] near Bromsgrove[2] in Worcestershire, England. He was educated at Bootham School,[3][4] York.


Before creating The Archers, he had previous experience in making over radio programmes about farming, mainly for the Midland region. However, after being inspired by the idea of another radio programme at the time Dick Barton - Special Agent, he decided to create a farming show with a narrative. This idea came from a suggestion made to him by a farmer he had interviewed, Henry Burtt of Dowsby Hall near Rippingale in Lincolnshire. and Baseley seems to have modelled the characters on Dan and Phil Archer on Burtt and his son Stephen. [5]

Baseley had tried to write a story, but later threw it away. The story was however saved by his secretary. He then threw it away again, and later engaged for the series two Dick Barton writers, Ted Mason and Geoffrey Webb. After telling him some detailed biographies of the characters, Mason and Webb wrote the first Archers script. The pilot programme was broadcast to the English Midlands on Whit Monday, 1950, and was first broadcast across the UK on the BBC Home Service network on 1 January 1951.


In the late 1960s Baseley took part in The Archers himself as an actor, playing the part of Brigadier Winstanley, although billed in the Radio Times under a pseudonym.


"The Archers has completely lost its way. Luckily I'm nearly completely deaf and can't listen to it any more."

Godfrey Baseley (1996)[1]

Baseley was replaced as script editor for The Archers in 1972.[1] His successor, Malcolm Lynch, had previously worked as a script writer for the television drama series, Coronation Street.[1] Baseley was not uncritical of some of his successors.[1]

Godfrey Baseley died at Bromsgrove on 2 February 1997


  1. ^ a b c d e Leonard Miall (4 February 1997). "Obituary: Godfrey Baseley". The Independent, London. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ Woodland, Jenny (2011). Bootham School Register. York, England: BOSA. 
  5. ^ Lincolnshire Echo [1].

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