Dr C.E.M. Joad and The [Daily Express] Brains Trust – 1944 – Producer Howard Thomas

The [Daily Express] Brains Trust with Dr. C.E.M. Joad – 1944
“The arrangement with the Daily Express was to set up a touring Brains Trust visiting cities and towns in Britain…one offshoot of the [BBC] Brains Trust programme (officially called ‘Any Questions’ – Ed) had been the proliferation of Forces Brains Trust and community Brains Trusts all over the country, because the formula had originated a new form of public discussion. It was on this pattern that I planned the Daily Express Brains Trust, with celebrities (including some of the original members) sharing the platform with men in the street, answering questions sent in by readers, plus a participating audience. For the first Express session I had Michael Foot as a (somewhat opinionated) Question Master and the answerers included Mrs Mavis Tate MP, Commander Campbell, a business man, a housewife and a medical student. One of our finds was a business executive, Stephen McAdden, who rose rapidly to prominence, and became an outstanding Conservative Member of Parliament.

“One ‘circus’ moved on to Croydon, with C.E.M. Joad as the star, and we experimented with the dramatic critic James Agate as Question Master, because he was an Express writer. Agate was as unsuccessful as chairman as he had been on the Brains Trust; he returned to the written word and we brought back Michael Foot. As might have been expected Joad was an immense success. A few days later we were at Guildford and Julian Huxley was on the platform receiving a remarkable ovation…”

[Source: “With An Independent Air” by Howard Thomas – Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1977 – Page 127 & 128]


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