Formal Attire

When I joined the BBC in 1961, working in the Control Room at Bush House, a certain formality of dress was still expected. If you look at pre-war films of the BBC even engineers were wearing suits ; by 1961 this was no longer expected but even in Control Room (where we had no contact with the public or contributors) we were expected to wear jackets and ties. Indeed a memo came round every summer about not wearing open-necked shirts, couched in terms that made me want to take my tie off immediately.

When I became a Studio Manager in 1968 the general rule was that you should dress neatly, if not formally; though it was suggested that men should have a tie available in case they were asked to handle a programme including a visiting dignitary such as a foreign Prime Minister. Ladies were expected to wear skirts - trousers were allowed only on night shift.

As the years went on things were relaxed; nowadays people are simply expected to be reasonably tidy. Even Engineering Department became more relaxed. However some years back, when some formality was still demanded, one member of the Maintenance staff was told off for not dressing smartly enough. The next day he turned up in a kilt - he was Scots and the kilt bore the tartan of his Clan which he had a right to wear, and which was to him the correct formal dress. He wore this for some weeks: his bosses didn't like it, but there wasn't a thing they could do about it.

Posted: Tue - October 6, 2009 at 09:51 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM