My first broadcast and an offer to join the BBC

 It as in 1945 that I toured Britain on behalf of the Institute of Handicraft Teachers. The 'film chap' from Burnley was filling large lecture halls. My colleagues were delighted to see films, in beautiful clear colour and smooth transition from distant 'shots' to close-ups, giving an 'on-the-spot' impression of the most detailed nature. The processes were easy to follow and my fellow craft-teachers recognised that a colleague, as well as a photographer, had produced the film. 

It was reported in the press that my work was putting Burnley on the educational map. Some of my early films went to Egypt and America. As more and more people got to know about me, I started to receive invitations from associations outside the world of education. 

One such invitation came from the Royal Photographic Society. I was among several distinguished people at Princes Gate in London. The chairman, Stanley Scholfield FRPS, in his opening remarks, told the story of a pioneer in photography. I listened with great interest and hoped that, after the meeting, I would have the opportunity to exchange a few ideas with my fellow guest. 

What followed came as a bit of a shock. As Mr Scholfield ended his opening remarks, he said - "...that pioneer is Sam Hanna, he will now give a paper on the 'Use of Film in Education'." 

I had never given a paper in all my life and I certainly had not brought one with me. To a loud applause I rose to my feet and stood in front of a table. I felt sick inside, the perspiration was running freely, the audience looked like one great blur be fore me. I could not focus my eyes, if a hole had opened up in the floor and swallowed me up, it would have been an answer to prayer. But there was no escape. I had to say something. 

I paused, cleared my throat and told them that I had never given a paper and did not know what I was going to say. I told them that I was not a photographer but a teacher looking for a medium better than 'chalk and talk'. The audience clapped again. I then relaxed a little and talked to them about my thoughts on the use of film in the classroom. I projected my films and gave my usual commentary. 

Later I was awarded an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society for my contribution to education through photography. 

When the audience left the hall, my evening had not finished; two men came to speak to me. They invited me to join them for a drink and a chat. I told them that I neither drank nor smoked but would be willing to talk with them. They introduced themselves as members of the BBC. 

They invited me to repeat my talk, the following day, on the BBC's Radio Pacific Service. I astounded them with the fact that I did not have my talk written down , and in no way could I remember what I had said. However, all was not lost, a minuting-secretary, for the Royal Photographic Society a Journal, offered his short hand notes. They were typed out that evening and I presented myself at the BBC the following morning. 

The studio was underground in Oxford Street. This as to be my first radio broadcast; I can still remember it. The producer was Miss Ann Shead, an Australian. I was handed the typed notes of my talk; I read through them and told the producer that I was ready. It was a strange feeling speaking to people across the world. I glanced at my notes and just talked. It seemed to go well and I do not think that I fluffed any of my talk. 

Later I was invited to the BBC in Manchester. Here I met Philip Robinson and Roy Harris. After viewing a few of my films, I was asked if I would like to join the BBC, but I declined, as I was happy in my profession as a teacher.