Mabel Constanduros was one of the first British radio comediennes and a beloved star of the early BBC, best known as the creator and performer of the comic Cockney family, the Bugginses. In this, the first significant biography of Constanduros, Jennifer J Purcell explores Constanduros's career and influence on the shaping of popular British entertainment alongside the history of the nascent BBC. Mother of the BBC provides new insights into programming decisions and content on the early BBC, deepening our understanding of the history and evolution of situation comedy and soap opera. Further, Constanduros's biography considers class in the representation of the British people on BBC radio, the gendered experience and performance of radio celebrity, and the intersections between BBC entertainment and other forms of popular media prior to the advent of television.
Constanduros's emphasis on the everyday and the family had far-reaching impacts on the shape of sitcom and soap opera in Britain, two popular lenses through which the nation sees itself at home. Her role in developing entertainment on the BBC and the ways in which she cultivated her career make her the Mother of the BBC, but in constructing a popular image of family life she might also be considered the Mother of the Nation.