Probably His best known stories, translated onto images and sounds. The first one, Animal Farm, an animated cartoon film and the second, the paradigmatic novel was produced and aired by the BBC in 1954.
George Orwell’s anti-totalitarian novella, Animal Farm, almost never saw the light of day. The manuscript barely survived the Nazi bombing of London during World War II, and then T.S. Eliot (an important editor at Faber & Faber) and other publishers rejected the book, partly for political reasons. Eventually Animal Farm came out in print in 1945 (download it via our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections) and the now-famous text became an animated film in 1954.
Produced by Halas and Batchelor (and funded by the CIA, although the animators didn’t know it), Animal Farm was the first British animated feature released worldwide, and the animation style — dubbed “Disney-turned-serious” — received critical praise.
Orwell’s 1984 hardly needs an introduction. Originally published in 1949, the novel came to television in 1954, courtesy of the BBC. The live production, featuring scenes considered “horrific” and “subversive” at the time, shocked viewers across England. One viewer reportedly collapsed and died while watching the program. A wave of controversy followed, and, amidst it all, the BBC decided to air a second live performance and record it to 35mm film. Years later, the British Film Institute ranked the production 73rd on its list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century.