Download the Skolay app
Skolay / 1:1 Audio Conversations / 
David Hendy
David Hendy
Historian and broadcaster, author of 'The BBC: A Century on Air' and 'Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening'
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Book a 1:1 with David

one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty, twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty, thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty,

forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty, fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty, sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy, seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty,

eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety, ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred

Talk soon,


On my mind

On my mind: I love creating narrative history by recovering the stories of men and women who have sometimes been forgotten but who nevertheless did extraordinary things in their lifetimes. There’s a clue to my approach in the subtitles of my last two books: 'The BBC: A People’s History' and 'Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening'. A writer once said the task of the historian was “to enter imaginatively into the life of a society remote in time and place, and produce a plausible explanation of why its inhabitants thought and behaved as they did.” If we can do that with colour and with compassion, then bingo! At the moment I’m grappling with the tangled – and rather secretive - story of a generation of talented propagandists who spent the Second World War trying to undermine Nazi morale. Was this best done by telling the truth or creating elaborate lies? They struggled to agree. But who was right in the end? I'm not sure I know yet!

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

Writing can be lonely. And there’s nothing more refreshing – and nothing more motivating - for me than exploring with my readers what works and what doesn’t. I'm a reader, too! And anyone with an interest in history – and an interest in the different ways we write history – would be welcome to get in touch.

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
Questions about my writing
Writing in general
Questions about your writing
Getting to know you
Loading...Book a 1:1 with DavidBook a 1:1 with David
🔔 Don't see a time that works?
Notify me when this writer has new availability.
Thank you! You'll be the first to know when this writer has new availability! 
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
📚 Bring me to your Book Club!
I love talking with book clubs, and would be delighted to meet with yours! Once you submit your request, Skolay will reach back out to you to confirm the details.
Cancel RequestStart Request
Book Club Request 
$50 / Session
Specify a date & time
Propose up to 3 options
Add option
Option 2
Add option
Option 3
Option 2
Add option
Enter contact info
Send a note
Please share any details about your group that would be helpful: e.g., what you're reading, how many members, etc.
Thank you! Your submission has been received. We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
My latest
My Substack
David Hendy
Where I've written


A People's History

In 1922, three men - only one of whom had previously heard of 'broadcasting' - founded the BBC. In doing so, Arthur Burrows, Cecil Lewis, and John Reith set out to accomplish something utterly bold: using what had been a weapon of war - Marconi's wireless - to remake culture for the good of humanity.

In The BBC: A People's History, professor and historian David Hendy traces the BBC from its maverick beginnings through war, the creation of television, changing public taste, austerity and massive cultural change. The BBC has constantly evolved, developing from one radio station, to television, then multiple channels and now the competition with the internet and streaming services.

This is a history of a now global institution that defines Britain and created modern broadcasting; it is also a reflection of 100 years of British history.

‘Gripping … a fascinating and informative account of the BBC’s first 100 years’

Sunday Telegraph

See more
See less


A Human History of Sound and Listening

What if history had a sound track? What would it tell us about ourselves? Based on a thirty-part BBC Radio series and podcast, Noise explores the human dramas that have revolved around sound at various points in the last 100,000 years, allowing us to think in fresh ways about the meaning of our collective past.

Breaking up the history of sound into prehistoric noise, the age of oratory, the sounds of religion, the sounds of power and revolt, the rise of machines, and what he calls our "amplified age," Hendy teases out continuities and breaches in our long relationship with sound in order to bring new meaning to the human story.

‘Brilliant and thought-provoking’

Nigel Warburton

See more
See less

Life On Air

A History of Radio Four

In this first major behind-the-scenes account of the station's history, David Hendy--a former producer for Radio Four--draws on privileged access to the BBC's own archives and new interviews with key personnel to illuminate the arguments and controversies behind the creation of some of its most popular programmes. He reveals the station's struggle to justify itself in a television age, favouring clear branding and tightly-targeted audiences, with bitter disputes between the BBC and its fiercely loyal listeners. The story of these struggles is about more than the survival of one radio network: Radio Four has been a lightning rod for all sorts of wider social anxieties over the past forty years. A kaleidoscopic view of the changing nature of the BBC, this book provides a gripping insight into the very nature of British life and culture in the last decades of the twentieth century.

‘Eminently readable, utterly reliable, on occasions painfully frank, it is a joy to read and a masterly lesson in how to translate bare fact into compelling narrative’

Daily Telegraph

See more
See less
What to know in advance of your conversation
All calls on Skolay are audio-only.
Where and how calls happen
All calls are hosted directly on the Skolay app. A window to join the call will open five minutes before, and the call will connect at the scheduled start time.
Skolay offers free cancellations when done more than 24 hours in advance of a call. However, calls cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled start time will incur a fee of 25% of the total price out of respect for the writer’s time.
Late to a call
You have five minutes to join the call after the scheduled start time. After that point the call window will close and you will be charged the full price of the conversation.