Lance Sieveking (19 March 1896 – 6 January 1972) was an English writer and pioneer BBC radio and television producer.
He made his name with the BBC, starting out as assistant to the Director of Education, before "he went on to introduce the first running commentaries and adapt numerous classics for radio drama... it has been argued that the production of the first television play springs from his ingenuity". He was drama script editor for ten years (1940-50) before retiring "six years later in 1956".
He wrote The Stuff of Radio (1934), and his radio dramatisation of C. S. Lewis' first (chronologically) Chronicles of Narnia title The Magician's Nephew was approved by Lewis personally. In 1927, he designed "an eight-squared drawing meant to assist BBC radio's football commentators," (as well as listeners at home, who could get a copy of the same chart in the Radio Times. According to one BBC commentator, the chart is considered a possible origin of the phrase "back to square one". (although the OED credits the origin to the children's game of hopscotch)
Another early BBC radio drama producer, Val Gielgud, said of the "not altogether fortunate" Sieveking:
"He was perhaps over much influenced during his most impressionable years by G. K. Chesterton, and by the theory of that master of paradox that because some things were better looked at inside out or upside down such a viewpoint should invariably be adopted. Talented and imaginative beyond the ordinary, his eyes gazing towards distant horizons, he was liable to neglect what lay immediately before his feet."
Harry Heuser interprets Gielgud's words in the following way:
"Sieveking was an audio-visionary, a trier of radiogenic techniques at whom actors and colleagues would "gaze with a certain dumb bewilderment" as he "exhorted them to play 'in a deep-green mood,' or spoke with fluent enthusiasm of 'playing the dramatic-control panel, as one plays an organ." There was not much use for such a one in radio. As Gielgud put it, even British radio broadcasting, "provided him with no laboratory in which experiments could be carried out." "