Oona Chaplin hosts podcast on how grandfather was on Hollywood blacklist

A new BBC World Service and CBC podcast tells how Charlie Chaplin was embroiled in an FBI campaign aimed at rooting out communism from Hollywood.

Hollywood Exiles, hosted by Charlie’s granddaughter Oona Chaplin, describes the events that led to the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and the era of the infamous “Hollywood blacklist.”

The extent and impact of the FBI’s investigation into Charlie Chaplin and others in the film industry, is revealed in the podcast. Some were barred from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, others from the Oscars – all had their reputations, careers or families torn apart.

Interviews with others affected by these events are also featured, including the daughter of Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo, who wrote under a pseudonym, as well as descendants of other exiled writers and actors whose careers were shattered.

Jon Manel, BBC World Service Podcast Commissioning Editor says: “We are extremely excited to be launching the latest show in our partnership with CBC Podcasts.

“Oona Chaplin takes us on what, for her and her family, is a personal journey. She tells a story that combines the world of Hollywood, global politics and the FBI.

“With its beautiful music, rich sound design and storytelling, it’s one of those podcasts for which, if you can, you need to close your eyes and prepare to be immersed.”

Arif Noorani, Director, CBC Podcasts adds: “Our first collaboration with the BBC World Service, Love Janessa, was a tremendous success and we are thrilled to partner with them once again to bring this gripping story of glamour and political intrigue to audiences around the world.

“Oona Chaplin is the ideal host and guide for Hollywood Exiles. Her connection to the story about what happened to her grandfather brings an authentic, unique perspective to this complex chapter of Hollywood’s history.”

Hollywood Exiles will be released on 22 January 2024, with new episodes available weekly. The 10-part podcast series will be available on BBC Sounds, CBC Listen, and most global podcast platforms. It will also be broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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