Psychoanalysis Unit


Work in Progress Webinar — Donald Winnicott's Radio Broadcasts 1944–1962, Presented by Robert Ades

16 May 2024, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm

toshiba vacuum tube radio

A hybrid webinar: Located online via livestream, and at 1-19 Torrington Place, UCL

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Events Team


Torrington Place
1-19 Torrington Place


I will be discussing the development of Winnicott's style through the medium of the radio, and in particular the strong and influential working relationship he formed with his first two producers, Iza Benzie and Janet Quigley. Quigley and Benzie were two women in a man's world: the wartime BBC, where mothers were not considered 'ordinary people' according to one of their male managers. As a specialist in mothers and babies, Winnicott was a man in a woman's world. These pair of helpful ambiguities were further enriched by Winnicott's possession of an androgynous or even feminine voice. 
The broadcasts show that Winnicott's personable style was hard fought for, and underlines that the voice, and not the text, is the natural vehicle of psychoanalysis. Given that Winnicott's target audience were not intellectuals, it is notable that he was almost able to avoid the controversy of presenting psychoanalysis to the public that had sunk all other BBC attempts since Freud.
As part of the seminar I will be tracking the development from radio to print of his best known books, discussing broadcast material published for the first time in the Collected Works. All the material derives from research I undertook in 2015-2016 in the BBC archives, and from 2012-2016 as Assistant Editor of the Collected Works of Winnicott and Editor and Author of its final volume of concordances and indexes.

Register here


Robert Ades worked for 5 years on the Collected Works of Donald Winnicott, first as archivist, and finally Assistant Editor of the complete set, and the Editor and co-author of the final volume. Two of his essays were published in the set by OUP, and the collection won the American Board of Psychoanalysis Book of the Year on publication. He lectures occasionally on Winnicott, at Copenhagen University Hospital, the Danish Psychoanalytical Society, Essex University and the Wellcome Trust. He publishes reviews in The Spectator, most recently on Adam Phillips, and currently teaches Psychology at Highbury Fields School.      

Robert is writing on the many discoveries of alternative and edited texts of Winnicott’s work that he uncovered in the Winnicott archive, many of which were included in the Collected Works, and some of which were not. Work includes early drafts of his Transitional Objects paper, the book Human Nature, and some unpublished papers, letters and cases. Robert has also worked in the BBC archive and lectured on Winnicott’s extensive correspondence with his producers at the BBC, and the gradual creation of his ‘voice for radio’.


Registration is required to attend and is free of charge. Please register by 09.00 (BST) on Thursday 16 May 2024. The webinar will be held in-person in UCL, Seminar Room 544, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, and online over Zoom. Instructions to join the event will be circulated on the morning of the event. Please feel free to get in touch with the events team if you have any questions.

Image credit: 池田正樹 - Masaki Ikeda, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons