George Orwell - Censorship at the Seaside: The Postcards of Donald McGill TV - News TV - Postcards - Rude Britannia TV -
In the past the mood of the comic postcard could enter into the central stream of literature, and jokes barely different from McGill’s could casually be uttered between the murders in Shakespeare’s tragedies. That is no longer possible, and a whole category of humour, integral to our literature till 1800 or thereabouts, has dwindled down to these ill-drawn postcards, leading a barely legal existence in cheap stationers’ windows. The corner of the human heart that they speak for might easily manifest itself in worse forms, and I for one should be sorry to see them vanish. George Orwell, The Art of Donald McGill, essay vol II pp 194-5
This is Donald McGill, the king of the saucy seaside postcard. And here is Mr McGill fifty years ago in a Lincoln prison cell. He is quite possible wondering how a seventy-nine-year-old man with a wooden foot who sold more than two hundred million postcards and put a smile on the face of the nation is practically penniless and facing the rest of his life in jail. Censorship at the Seaside: The Postcards of Donald McGill, BBC 2010
It’s a scorcher, and the nation is off to the seaside ... After the war ... One industry in particular goes into overdrive: and that is the saucy seaside postcard industry ... In the summer of 1947 sixteen million saucy postcards are sent from the seaside. And rather remarkably almost all of them bear the name of just one man: Donald McGill. So just who is the one-man postcard-producing machine? ibid.
The nation’s shopkeepers are on his side. ibid.
For the first time ever the authorities decide to directly pursue the artist himself. The Director of Public Prosecutions believes that these twenty-one cards created, painted, sold and distributed by Mr McGill constitute no less than obscene libel – they have the power to corrupt. ibid.
Over 2,000 Postcards Seized By Weymouth Police. News headline cited ibid.
17,989 Postcards Seized and Destroyed In Brighton. News headline cited ibid.
Man carrying gigantic stick of rock on beach: A Stick of Rock, Cock? Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard
She’s a nice girl. Doesn’t drink or smoke, and only swears when it slips out! Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard
Nurse delivering baby to mother: What was the colour of the father’s hair?
Mother in bed: I don’t know. He kept his hat on. Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard
Devil: Do you know who I am?
Drunken man: Of course I do. I married your sister. Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard
Donald McGill: McGill took a most proper part of daily British life – the postcard – and turned it rude. Rude Britannia II: Presents Bawdy Songs & Lewd Photographs, BBC 2010
During a nationwide ‘back to basics’ campaign by the government of Winston Churchill [cf. maiden Parliament speech] McGill was investigated for obscenity. ibid.
The seventy-nine-year-old artist pleaded guilty to obscenity and was fined £50. Thousands of his cards were then ordered to be destroyed. ibid.