Sunday, 22 November 2020

Not the A to Z of Radio Comedy: M is for Maggie's Ten-Year Turkey

Maggie's Ten-Year Turkey
was a Week Ending spin-off akin to those monthly programmes under the title Two Cheers for... broadcast on the BBC World Service throughout the eighties and into the nineties. This was a little different though: the timescale was considerably longer, taking in the decade of Thatcher's premiership and it was actually compiled as an audio cassette release called Ten Years with Maggie. That tape ran for over two hours but was trimmed down to just under half-an-hour for broadcast on the World Service in December 1989 and this Radio 4 broadcast the same week.

The tenth anniversary of Thatcher as PM fell in May 1989 but it was decided to hold off publication until later in the year as cash in on pre-Christmas orders. Producer Paul Spencer was disappointed as to what Week Ending material was available in the Sound Archives so two contract writers, Mark Brissenden and Simon Bullivant, went off to the Written Archives to dig out some old scripts. This meant re-recording all the sketches, though this would prove less expensive than paying fees to various performers had any archive material being used - and one reason why so few editions of Week Ending have ever been repeated. It also meant that Sally Grace could provide the voice of Margaret Thatcher throughout, Sheila Steafel had been doing this back in 1979.

With Sally were long-time regulars David Tate (the voice of Denis Thatcher in the new linking material), Bill Wallis, Jon Glover and Chris Emmett.       

The script included sketches written by Barry Atkins, Ian Brown, Mark Burton, David Cohen, James Hendrie, Guy Jenkin, Robert Linford, Ged Parsons, John O'Farrell, Nick Revell and Pete Sinclair with Mark and Simon writing the linking scenes. The BBC Radio Collection tape was reissued on CD in 2009. The radio version hasn't been heard for 31 years.    

The trimmed down for broadcast version, Maggie's Ten-Year Turkey, was broadcast on the BBC World Service on three dates in late December and Radio 4 on the 30th. In this recording announcer Peter Jefferson invites listeners to apply for tickets for Radio 1's The Mary Whitehouse Experience that was just about to start its third series.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

The End of the Ride

By any stretch of the imagination this blog post is niche. It concerns a drum ending that lasts just one second. Yes, zip up your radio anorak for this one.

As you'll no doubt know, back in the days when virtually every show had a theme tune, Radio 1's Junior Choice used a version of Morningtown Ride played by Stan Butcher's Birds 'n' Brass. That theme was first used on day one of Radio 1 when Junior Choice, the replacement to the Light Programme's Children's Favourites, was introduced by Leslie Crowther. Crowther was followed by Paddy Feeney and then, from February 1968, by Ed Stewart. Stewpot used the theme for the next 11 years. Here's Leslie Crowther introducing that first edition followed by the theme in full:   

A brief diversion here on Stan Butcher. Butcher, a pianist, composer and arranger, was born in London in 1920. His first job was for music publishers Boosey & Hawkes. He taught himself harmony and arranging and before he was twenty was providing orchestrations for the likes of Bert Ambrose and Harry Roy. During the war he served in the army and before the end of hostilities he'd been asked to form a dance band that included amongst its personnel trombonist Don Lusher and guitarist Jack Toogood. On demob he played and arranged for bands run by Joe Daniels and Freddy Randall before joining publishers Campbell Connelly & Co. He wrote and arranged for the likes of Ted Heath, Cyril Stapleton and Eric Winstone and with Syd Cordell composed the 1959 Eurovison song entry for Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, Sing, Little Birdie. In the late 1960s and early 70s he recorded a number of LPs. Some of these were credited to Stan Butcher's Birds 'n 'Brass. The 'birds' were singers Barbara Moore and Daphne Bonney. Barbara would herself carve out a successful musical career as a singer (she was for a time one of The Ladybirds), composer and arranger. It was she that provided the new arrangement of Fluff's Pick of the Pops theme At the Sign of the Swinging Cymbal and wrote Just Like That for Terry Wogan's Radio 1 afternoon show. Continuing the radio theme connection it was Barbara's husband Pete that arranged and recorded the version of I Love You Samantha that was used by David Jacobs. Stan Butcher continued recording in the 1970s and worked with Stan Reynolds and Barbara Thompson. He died in 1987.

Back to Morningtown Ride. This was a hugely popular tune when Radio 1 started, it had been the number two song at the start of 1967, just pipped to the top spot by the Green, Green Grass of Home. The lyrics telling of children on a night time ride safely delivered to the morning under the watchful eye of the Sandman had great family appeal. So when Stan Butcher and producer Monty Babson put together their 1967 album of covers from the recent 'Hit Parade' called Sayin' Somethin' Stupid and Other Things, they included Morningtown Ride. Other tracks included I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman, Mellow Yellow, This is My Song and Green, Green Grass of Home. Some extra tracks composed by Butcher were added such as Pearls for Patricia and, most importantly for this story, a jaunty little tune called Pig Latin. That track went like this:                  

When Junior Choice came along in September 1967 they ditched the old Children's Favourite theme of Puffing Billy in favour of something more contemporary, and that was Morningtown Ride. However, the  problem with this recording is that it faded rather than ended. Junior Choice was heard on both Radio 1 and Radio 2 so a definite end would give a neat junction for the two networks to split. On Saturday's the programme ended at 9.55 am with Crack the Clue following on Radio 1 and the religious slot Five to Ten on Radio 2. On Sunday mornings there was a split following at 10.00 am time signal.     

So someone at the BBC, perhaps producer Harry Walters, came up with the neat idea of borrowing the drum ending from Pig Latin, probably played by session drummer Barry Morgan (he was credited on Butcher's previous LP) and splicing it onto Morningtown Ride. Neat. Here it is in use by Stewpot in 1979 by which time the show was on Radio 1 only so there are no pips and it's just a handover to Tony Blackburn. I've added my own version of how the track was edited.

But the story doesn't end there as Pig Latin happens to have done double duty as a theme ending, this time for Alan Freeman.

In April 1972 Terry Wogan left his afternoon Radio 1 show to start his reign as Radio 2's breakfast supremo. That afternoon show was then given to Fluff alongside his existing Pick of the Pops chart rundown. Of course it also needed a theme tune and this time it was back to 1962 for a superb orchestral jazz piece from Quincy Jones, Soul Bossa Nova. Freeman's producer was Bryan Marriott who had been a regular producer of Jazz Club in the early sixties so it's likely he'd dug this one out. The track also had the pauses and changes of instrumentation that allowed Fluff to deliver his introductions and goodbyes in his distinctive staccato style.

The trouble with Soul Bossa Nova was, yes you've guessed it, it faded rather than having a definite end. So out comes Pig Latin again and hey presto they have an ending, though it has to be said its a rather more obvious edit. Here's Alan using the theme and  handing over to Rosko in 1973 followed by my own edit to show how they did it.

With thanks to Tony Worrall who first alerted me to this.

Album covers from    

Monday, 9 November 2020

Down Your Local - 50 Years of BBC WM

Local radio arrived in Birmingham on 9 November 1970 with the opening of BBC Radio Birmingham broadcasting from the newly opened broadcasting centre at Pebble Mill.

Radio services had first started from the city some 48 years earlier when station 5IT began transmitting. It became the base for the Midlands regional service (post-war the Midlands Home Service) in 1927 and moved into new studios at 282 Broad Street. In the mid-50s additional studios and offices were acquired at 52 Carpenter Road, Edgbaston. Pebble Mill housed the television studios, with the foyer famously used for Pebble Mill at One, and radio studios for Radio Birmingham and network programmes. The station also had a shop and information centre at 80 New Street

Radio Birmingham became BBC WM is November 1981 to better reflect its coverage area and in the summer of 2004 moved into city centre Mailbox development.    

When it launched the station was managed by Jack Johnston a  "fiercesome Glaswegian" who'd worked in the Broad Street newsroom, and his deputy, the programme organiser, Brian Harris. Jack was succeeded by John Pickles in 1981 (ex Radio Durham, Radio Oxford and Radio Scotland) and by Tony Inchley in 1987 (ex Radios Stoke, Manchester and Leicester).   

Like many of the new BBC local stations they employed a mix of experienced and inexperienced hands. But the voice chosen to look after the breakfast show had zero broadcasting experience. He was Peter Powell a 19-year old local club DJ who just happened to live next door the secretary of producer Michael Ford (already a music producer for Birmingham-based shows on the Light Programme he'd go on to produce the Early Show and Charlie Chester's show for Radio 2). To his astonishment Powell passed a couple of auditions and got the job. But by his own admission "I was, quite frankly, useless". He'd left by the following summer but it did lead to a try-out on Radio 1 with some Saturday afternoon shows in late 71/early 72 before Radio Luxembourg beckoned.

In fact Peter wasn't the first voice on air. That honour fell to new born Robert Clifford Joiner who had arrived into the world earlier that morning to proud parents Valerie and Bob. Young Robert would make an appearance each year on the anniversary date as the BBC Radio Birmingham baby.

The person who took over from Peter Powell on the breakfast show, titled On the Move, was Les Ross. He been with the station from the start co-presenting the Saturday morning Ross and Henry Show with John Henry (later Head of Music at Buzz FM). In 1965 Leslie Meakin had already successfully auditioned for a Mecca ballroom DJ gig, beating Johnnie Walker, but after leaving school he secured a day job at IBM on Hagley Road and then as a clerk at Witton Cemetery. He was on Radio Birmingham until the Spring of 1975 by which time he was still hosting the Saturday morning Leslie Ross Show and the weekday mid-morning show.

The launch of commercial rival BRMB in 1974 saw the opening of the transfer window between the two Birmingham stations. Les Ross unsuccessfully applied to BRMB in 1974 but would actually end up at Radio Tees when it started in June 1975. He was encouraged to move by Bob Hopton, a Birmingham-based network music producer, who was to be the first programme controller at Tees. Ross did get to BRMB in March 1976 where he stayed until 2002, including four years on sister station Xtra AM, and where for the majority of the time he presented the breakfast shows. After a spell at Saga he returned to the BBC (2005-2009), had a few months at Big City Radio and these days is on Wolverhampton's community station WCRFM.

In 2015 Les returned to BBC WM for two shows as part of their 45th anniversary Legends Weekend.

In these blog posts I normally include some early Radio Times programme schedules but in the case of Radio Birmingham the first one I have in my collection is for the week commencing 12 April 1975.

The station had an early start at 5 am (earlier indeed than national radio which at this time didn't wake-up until 6 am on Radio 2) with On the Move presented by David Hoare. David had gained his on-air experience aged just 15 with the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation before coming to the UK in 1974 and working at Radio Birmingham. He too moved to Radio Tees just a few weeks after this programme schedule was published. In 1978 he returned to Gibraltar where he continued to work in both radio and TV and was also ordained as a minister of the Church of England. He died in 2016.

The breakfast show was Heart of the Nation with former BFBS Malta presenter John McLeod. Looking after the Thursday edition is Pete Simpkin. Pete came into broadcasting as an engineer at Southern TV, ATV and the BBC in Southampton before joining Radio Birmingham as a station assistant in 1971.     

Les Ross was working out his contract on the mid-morning show. He was followed by the phone-in Morning Call with Chris Smith (Mon), Derek Dingle (Tues-Wed), Jo Abraham (Thurs) and Mike Gandon (Fri).

After joining Radio 4 for The World at One and The Archers (also coming from Pebble Mill of course) the afternoon schedule was a bit of a mixed bag. On Tuesday and Thursday there was 80 New Street which "discussed topics with local experts and passers-by". One of the presenters of the arts magazine Showtime (Friday) is Ken Dudeney. Ken was on the station for over 20 years having previously joined the BBC as a station manager in London.  He presented a country music show Sounds Country (Wed) which later became Town and Country and it was his voice that closed Radio Birmingham and opened BBC WM in 1981.  

The station's drivetime show was given the slightly offbeat title of Home James! All the presenters took a turn on this show, this week it was Pete Simpkin. In the 80s the programme was rebadged as the more prosaic Coming Home and Steve Woodhall was its regular presenter.   

Extract from 1977 BBC booklet Serving Neighbourhood and Nation

The large Asian population of the West Midlands had a dedicated programme East in West with Mohammed Ayyub. Born in Pakistan he moved to the city in 1961. He would co-found the Oriental Star Agencies record label and by the late 60s was volunteering for Birmingham Hospital radio. He worked for the BBC between 1971 and 1995 initially on Radio Birmingham and then for the Asian Network when both BBC WM and Radio Leicester hived off their MW transmitters for part of the time. He then founded the Asian station Radio XL.       

Radio Birmingham's transmission area covered Wolverhampton and there was a programme for that part of the world called Wulfrun Echo. Here it's presented by Chris Phipps. Chris was the full-time Wolverhampton reporter based at their offices in the Grand Theatre. He presented Wulfrun Echo for seven years and on BBC1 in the Midlands was one of the presenters of contemporary music show Look Hear! that was introduced by Toyah Willcox. He moved to Tyne-Tees TV and was one of the producers on The Tube.  

The best known name here must be Jim Rosenthal, for decades a presenter and commentator for ITV Sport. Jim had joined the station in 1972 from the Oxford Mail. Initially a news reporter he was encouraged to cover the sport which for football fans included the Big Six: Birmingham City, Coventry City, Aston Villa, Wolves, West Brom and Walsall. Others on Birmingham's sports team included Roger Moody (later a manager for BBC Sport and then at Sky for 13 years) and Nick Owen (also initially taken on as a news reporter and later, of course, on ATV, TV-am and Good Morning with Anne and Nick). Jim moved to the Radio Sports Unit in 1976 working on Sport on 2 before heading off to ITV in 1980. Earlier this year he spoke to BBC WM's Adrian Goldberg, you can that conversation here.

Presenting Soccer Special is Norman Wheatley. Norman is better known for presenting folk music shows: Gentlefolk (1975-78) on Radio Birmingham, on Mercia Sound in 1980 with Mercia Folk and then a general music show on  BRMB (1981-85).  

Barry Lankester (photo from Paul R. Jackson's
Showreel website)

The most experienced broadcaster on the station  at this time was Barry Lankester. Barry had joined the BBC in the Midlands in 1955 as a studio manager. During the 1960s he was an announcer, presenter and newsreader presenting Midlands Today when it started in 1964, compereing Friday Night is Music Night in the days when they had regional editions and making the 'story so far' announcements at the beginning of The Archers. At Radio Birmingham it's his voice you hear on the opening announcements (with jingles recorded by the Midland Radio Orchestra). Barry would specialise in music programme production hence his involvement here in Music Room and the Birmingham Brass competition.      

The station's first news editor was print journalist Roger Clark but he left to join LBC and three years later on BBC Radio Oxford. Following Roger in the news editor post was Martin Henfield, though this year (1975) he was to make the move up to Manchester initially as deputy manager, becoming the manager for five years in 1988. On television he read the news on Look North and later North West Tonight.

Martin's brother Mike also briefly worked for Radio Birmingham in the Wolverhampton office. A journalist on the Birmingham Post he had a long career in commercial radio as deputy news editor at BRMB in 1974, news editor at Mercia Sound in 1980 and then management positions at Radio Wyvern, Red Rose, GWR and Jazz FM in Manchester.     

Others on the news team around this time included Bob Sinkinson who was the BBC's Midlands Correspondent for many years and Frances Coverdale who moved on to Midlands Today, was a BBC national news reader and then presenter of Radio 4's PM.

When there was nothing on the telly on Saturday mornings the kids could tune into Radio Brum Club  and even send off for their membership badge. The regular presenters were George Parry and Roger Thomas but they encouraged the local children to come into the studio and participate. Two kids that did join the Club were broadcaster Bill Buckley and composer David Lowe. David would end up freelancing at the station and formed the band Cool Fish with Samantha Meah who's had two stints on BBC WM, most recently returning in 2019.      

Like many of the BBC local stations radio Birmingham attempted to cater for all music tastes. Shows included Reggae Reggae with Barry Curtis (later at Beacon Radio), Jazz Club with Mike Johnson, Caribbean Corner presented by Dave Charlesworth and Philip Nanton (now an author and poet resident in Barbados), progressive music with Malcolm Jay in Heavy Pressure which would also feature specially recorded sessions made in Pebble Mill's Studio 2.    

Moving on from the mid-70s here are just a taste of some of the other names that have appeared on Birmingham/WM.

Ed Doolan: Birmingham became Ed's adopted home from 1974 when he joined BRMB, moving to Radio Birmingham six years later. I wrote about Ed following his death in January 2018.

Nicky Steele: another DJ that made the BRMB to BBC leap in the 1980s. Moved on to Xtra AM. Died in 2001 aged 53.

Peter York: a former pirate radio jock (Radio City) and club DJ who was on the station in the late 80s before moving to BBC Radio Oxford.

Malcolm Boyden: print journalist who started broadcasting at Beacon Radio before moving to WM in 1993. Has also worked at BBC CWR and Radio Oxford and can currently he heard on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

Tony Butler: a sports broadcaster who has ping-ponged between BBC and commercial radio in the Midlands for the past half century.

Alastair Yates: spent the greater part of his career as a newsreader on BBC TV, ITV and Sky News but had started in radio at Radio Derby before joining Radio Birmingham in 1978 for a mid-morning show.

Alan Dedicoat: was the breakfast show presenter when Radio Birmingham switched over to BBC WM. Alan had appeared on hospital radio in Birmingham before joining as a station assistant in 1979. In 1983 he went to Radio Devon and four years later was at Radio 2 as an announcer and where he stayed as presenter and newsreader for 28 years.  

Stuart Roper: an ex-press photographer before he moved into radio, initially helping out at Birmingham Hospital Radio and then joining the BBC in the 1970s as a TO. With Viv Ellis he co-presented the mid-morning The 206 Club in the early to mid-80s.   

Viv Ellis: former print journalist she worked at Radio Birmingham/WM on The 206 Club before moving into TV production and direction (e.g. Network East, Top Gear and Pebble Mill at One). From 1990 on working in a number of production roles for various companies.    

Gordon Astley: had two stints at BBC WM in the 90s. His radio career started at BBC Radio Stoke around 1971. Later at Mercia Sound,  Beacon and BBC Southern Counties.

Andrew Peach: was just a teenager when he got to Pebble Mill as often as he could (1987-92), helping out Ed Doolan, making trails etc. After joining Radio Oxford and then Radio Berkshire in 1994 he was back in Birmingham on BBC WM to host the breakfast show (2008-11). A Radio 2 newsreader from 1998, also on the World Service and Radio 4 continuity shifts he currently presents the breakfast show on Radio Berkshire.

Rev Michael Blood: was a religious affairs producer at Birmingham from 1970 and had a Sunday morning 'god slot' for many years called A Word in Advance. Also presented other shows, for example in 1981 he was one of the presenters of the lunchtime Good Company programme. He left the station in 2005.

Carl Chinn: on BBC WM with a weekday daily show from 1994 to 2013. He has written and lectured extensively on local history.

Paul Franks: joined the station in 1979 and in more recent years hosted the drivetime show.

The BBC WM schedule for 
w/c 30 July 1994

Jenny Wilkes: joined from BRMB in 1982 initially presenting a youth-orientated show Fast Forward. Until earlier this year was presenting a Sunday afternoon soul show as well as working as an events manager for the BBC but has recently announced her retirement.

Phil Upton: another ex-BRMB DJ who joined BBC WM in 2006 as the weekday breakfast presenter. Now on BBC CWR.

Joanne Malin: joined from Central News in 2009 to present a mid-morning show. Moved back to TV in late 2012 to read the news for Midlands Today.   

Caroline Martin: joined in 2012. Her radio career started on the offshore Radio Caroline in 1986 and then at Contact 94 and a number of other stations including BRMB and Free.  

Graham Torrington: recently retired from radio, Graham presented his Late Night Graham Torrington show from 2012-2020. His start in radio came at BRMB and he's also appeared on Buzz FM, Kix 96, the GWR/GCap network and BBC Radio Bristol.

[At time of publishing I'm still adding to this list]

BBC WM don't have any special programmes planned to mark their 50 years but back in 2010 Janice Long (who was on the station in the late 2000s) did present this recap of the first 40 years.

With thanks to Tony Worrall

Saturday, 31 October 2020

The name's Connery. Sean Connery

This weekend we're mourning the death of Sean Connery. Of course the plaudits and obits have all focused on his career defining 007 role but as this is a radio blog I've been looking elsewhere.

Connery's radio appearances were few and far between but inevitably focused on his films as well as his other passions of golf and Scottish nationalism. To my knowledge he only made one starring role in a radio programme and that was in a BBC Radio 3 drama series written by Peter Barnes.  

Playwright and screenwriter Peter Barnes had adapted a number of plays for BBC radio by the time he wrote an original set of monologues that were broadcast in 1981. Barnes' People had a glitzy cast that included Alec Guinness, Leo McKern, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft. Barnes' People II, a series of duologues appeared in 1984. Barnes' People III with casts of three was heard in 1986 and the final series More Barnes' People followed in 1990. Sadly they've not been heard since.

For the first drama of Barnes' People III,  called After the Funeral, director Ian Cotterell gathered together Sean Connery, Donald Pleasence and John Hurt. Connery flew in from Spain for the recording, Pleasence jetted in from France while Hurt "trotted along from Chiswick."

The black comedy centres on a trio of pimps - "upmarket flesh meddlers" - who are lamenting the passing of Anna "the First lady of Brotheldom." At the end they honour her memory by clinking glasses and singing Unforgettable.

The Radio Times had this article about the series written by David Gillard. 

Here is that drama not heard since a 1987 repeat. (With apologies for the sound quality).  

Sean Connery 1930-2020

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Down Your Local - 50 Years of BBC Radio Oxford

Radio arrived in Oxford on Thursday 29 October 1970 with the opening of the BBC's latest local station. It served an area of about a 20 radius of  Oxford, transmitting on 95.0 MHz from the site east of the city at Beckley that had originally been built in 1963 to carry national VHF radio and a VHF television relay.     

The studios were at Barclay House on Banbury Road in Summertown. The medium wave service on 202m was added in late 1972. By the spring of 1989 the station had moved five minutes up the road to new premises at 269 Banbury Road. Between April 1996 and February 2000 it merged with Radio Berkshire to become BBC Thames Valley FM.    

The first station manager was Donald Norbrook, who'd moved down from Radio Merseyside where he was the programme organiser. He promised the usual mix of specialist shows that the early stations all tried to fulfil and, bearing in mind it was a major centre for learning, said that they would involve both university students and staff. "The students have taken a very responsible interest in local radio. They have visited the studios; they're anxious to play their part".

As to broadcasting hours Norbrook confirmed that there'd be an early 6 am start. "Oxford is an early rising city; the workers keep agricultural hours, so I suppose you could say our three programmes are: one for the workers, one for the clerkers and one for the shirkers." These were three hourly editions of Oxford AM at 6, 7 and 8 o'clock taking national news, rather unusually, from Radio 3. The title Oxford AM was used until the mid 90s.

The first edition of Oxford AM was heard on day two as the station went on air at 5 pm with a typical  civic welcome from the local mayor. One of the teatime shows was Oxford Circus (a title that was eventually dropped in the mid-80s) with Keith Salmon. Keith had joined the BBC in 1961 as a studio manager and was at BBC Radio Nottingham as a producer and presenter when it launched in 1968. In 1982 he became the manager at BBC Radio Norfolk staying at the station until his retirement in 1995.   

Following Oxford Circus (running at just half-an-hour) was another half-hour show of record requests called Home Choice. Presenters included David Bobin and Thomas Prag. David was a newspaper journalist when he joined Radio Oxford. He left the station in 1975 to work at Southern TV and later TVS as a news and sports reporter. Increasingly specialising in sports reporting and presenting he moved to Sky Sports in 1993. He died in 2017. Thomas Prag had a distinguished radio career having started at the BBC as a studio manager for the World Service and the domestic services before becoming a station assistant (later producer/presenter) at Radio Oxford. He moved to Scotland in 1976 to help launch the Radio Highland opt-out before being offered the role of MD at Moray Firth Radio when it launched in 1982. He left that role in 2000 and subsequently worked for the Radio Authority and OFCOM and is a co-director at iMedia Associates.    

The opening evening included a specially-written drama production The Balloon Goes Up telling the story of James Sadler, the Oxford-born pioneering balloonist, amateur chemist and pastry chef. This was produced by Humphrey Carpenter who'd joined the BBC in 1968 as a General Trainee. He went freelance in 1975 and wrote a number of biographies (including Tolkien, Auden and Britten), broadcast on Radio 4's Kaleidoscope and Radio 3's Night Waves and In Tune. Carpenter's The Envy of the World remains the definitive history of the Third Programme and Radio 3. He married fellow Radio Oxford presenter Mari Pritchard in 1973. He died in 2005 aged just 58.

Now best known for his stints on LBC, Talk Radio and talkSPORT it's Mike Dickin who got to try out the station's radio car in Parking Disc. "Mike Dickin parks the car, you choose the disc."

The longest-serving presenter on the station is Bill Rennells who was heard reading the news on day one. A newspaper journalist he'd joined the station from the Oxford Mail. He'd actually made his first broadcast a couple of months before this on attachment to Radio Nottingham but at Oxford he soon started to present general and music programmes. Bill became a staff announcer on Radio 2 in 1978 where he also presented You and the Night and the Music, Nightride, Easy Does It and String Sound. He continued to appear on Radio Oxford (Saturday Sounds) and also presented Test Match Special on Radio 3. He returned to Oxford in 1991, appeared on Saga Radio in 2004/5 and for the last 20 years has been presenting the Sunday night show Harmony Nights.     

Introducing Musicmakers is Michael Henderson. Michael had been working for the BBC immediately after the war as a studio manager for the BBC's Overseas Services before transferring to the television OB unit at Ally Pally. He left broadcasting in the 1960s to become a childcare officer in Oxfordshire but returned in 1970 for the launch of Radio Oxford. He retired after six years and went on to manage the sport and arts centre in Abingdon. He was also instrumental is forming the Alexandra Palace Television Society. He died in 2001.

Oxfordshire's kids could join in the fun on Saturday morning's The VHF Set with Johnnie Chuckles, the stage name of children's entertainer John Davis. Other presenters there at the start included Gordon Kitchen, Andy Wright and John Simpson (not to be confused with the BBC's news correspondent).  

Throughout the 1980s one of Oxford's best-known voices was that of Mark Kasprowicz. A former BBC assistant film sound engineer he switched to Radio Oxford from 1975 where he hosted Oxford AM and the mid-morning phone-in Open Air. He left in 1991 and is now MD of Arcwind Ltd. 

Libby Purves had been studying English at Oxford university when she started to volunteer at the station on About the University and later a 5-minute local guide called Tourist Trap before taking up a staff post. She joined Radio 4's Today programme in 1976 as a reporter and became a presenter alongside John Timpson and Brian Redhead between 1978 and 1981. Libby appeared on Midweek with Henry Kelly in 1983 and was the main presenter of the programme from 1984 to 2017.  

Programme Organiser Owen Bentley looks ahead to some programmes
when the station launched in October 1970. (For some reason the Radio Times
calls him Owen Beatty)

Tony Adamson had got the broadcasting bug as far back as 1960 when, as part of his national service, he volunteered for the British Forces Network in Libya. At Radio Oxford he presented the sports coverage as well as taking his turn on Oxford AM. He left for the Sports and OB department in London in 1977 to work on Sport on 2 eventually becoming the radio tennis correspondent and then golf correspondent on Radio 5 and Radio 5 live.

Fellow sports broadcaster Garry Richardson's first BBC job was actually as a clerk at the Written Archives at Caversham. He started to help out at Radio Oxford before becoming a full-time station assistant in 1978. He moved to London, initially on an attachment, in late 1980. By the mid-80s he was one of the sports correspondents taking turns on the Today sports desk, a gig he still retains to this day. Between October 1999 and September 2019 he presented Sports Week on 5 live.  

Mary Small was on Radio Oxford in the first half of the 90s, at one point presenting the drivetime show. She was also continuity announcer on BBCTV and, in 1995, on Radio 4. For many years a World Service presenter and newsreader.

Phil Rapps was at Oxford from the late 70s to mid 90s and for a while in 1982 worked as a continuity announcer on Radio 2. 

Jazz FM's David Freeman was on Radio Oxford between 1978 and 1991, from the mid-80s hosting the lunchtime show. His broadcasting career began in 1969 for BBC schools, later presenting Pebble Mill at One. Programme controller for Jazz FM 1996-98 and he rejoined the station in 2008. 

Timmy Mallett's radio career started at the student-run station University Radio Warwick (now named RAW 1251AM it also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year). Leaving uni he joined Radio Oxford in late 1978 immediately developing a devoted audience for his lively weekday afternoon show which became the Timmy on the Tranny Club billed as "the programme for cosmic zapheads, loony lurkers; the show that does for homework what squeezing does to spots." Timmy left the station in 1981 to work on the short-lived Centre Radio and then onto Piccadilly with a weekday evening reincarnation of Timmy on the Tranny where one of his on-air assistants was Chris Evans. A tv career that included Wacaday followed.  

Voice of Siri and The Weakest Link Jon Briggs had two spells at the station. Initially from 1984 and 1989 on the Saturday morning show Ten to One On and then Oxford AM and Saturday AM. He was the Radio 5 co-host of Morning Edition (1990-92), Radio 4 announcer (1992-93) and Radio 2 announcer (1992-97). Later on LBC and Radio 5 Live. Announcer on Channel 4, Sky Movies. Back on Radio Oxford throughout 2012 with the Saturday breakfast show.

Radio Oxford schedule for w/c 12 April 1986

Andrew Peach was another Oxford student turned broadcaster, at first reading out the travel bulletins. On Radio Oxford from 1994 to 2004 with shows such as Peach for Lunch and a regular Saturday mid-morning programme. Also worked for Radio Solent, Radio WM and newsreader on Radio 2 (1998-2015). Currently heard on Radio Berkshire's breakfast show, announcing and newsreading on Radio 4 and on the World Service's Newshour.     

Jean Judge was a production secretary and then researcher at BBC Scotland where she worked on the daily radio soap Kilbreck. Moving to Oxford in 1982 she presented The New Sunday Supplement, Where There's Folk and later had a daily mid-afternoon show. Left to go the States in 1989. 

Mike Carson had two spells at Radio Oxford, in the early 70s after some initial experience on hospital radio and again in the mid-90s (including a turn on Oxford AM). Heard on LBC 1973-91 and later Melody Radio, continuity announcer on LWT and BFBS TV and he's the voice of JML on those in-store promotions.

Stewart Cameron got his radio break when, as a young athlete, he was interviewed by Bill Rennells who then encouraged him to make reports for the Saturday afternoon sports coverage. In time he would regularly report on football and rugby. By 1981 he was presenting 202 Country. He left for Fox FM in 1989 where he presented both country music shows and sports programmes. Later on QCMR (CMR Nashville), Radio Scotland, Radio Borders and talkSPORT.

Author Jonathan Hancock also studied English at Oxford before joining the station. First on air in  1994 presenting Sunday Requests and Saturday Morning Fever and from 2000 to 2004 the weekday and Saturday breakfast shows. Has since written a number of books on memory and learning.   

US-born broadcaster Bill Heine was a much-loved broadcaster on the station between 1983 and 2016. Famous for his shark house Bill presented the weekday mid-morning show for many years and had a Sunday talk show until his departure in 2016. He died in 2019.

Extract from 1977 BBC booklet Serving Neighbourhood and Nation

Others who have appeared on BBC Radio Oxford include:

Bob Harris: presented the afternoon show 1981-84

Phil Mercer-Kelly: on since 2004. Previously at AA Roadwatch and Premier Radio.   

Danny Cox: at  Oxford (2004-09) having worked at Radio Leicester, Trent FM, SGR Colchester and Fox FM. Moved to Mix96 as programme controller (2009-11) and for the last 8 years works for the BBC World Service as a studio manager and presenter of The Newsroom. Back on Radio Oxford since 2015.  

Martin Stanford on the station c. 1979-81 then Radio Northampton, Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC South (Radio Solent and South Today), BSB News, Sky News (1999-2016) and currently on LBC News. 

Jonathan Staples: at Oxford 1985-87 then Radio Cambridgeshire, 6-month stint at Radio 4 in 1988/89 as an announcer followed by BFBS Radio, LBC, News Direct 97.3 and Radio Northampton. Now runs a video production company.

David Clargo: on air in 1993-97. First radio job at GWR in Bristol. Later assistant editor at Radio Oxford, acting manager at Radio Leicester, manager at Radio Northampton and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. Now a trainer for the BBC Academy.  

Peter York: a former pirate radio jock (Radio City) and club DJ who also worked at BBC Radio Birmingham.

Allan Roberts: on-air 1977-79. Previously at Voice of Peace. After Oxford onto Swansea Sound, Severn Sound, GWR then producer at Radio 2 and World Service.

Jill Egglesbury: on the station in the late 70s, previously at Radio Stoke.

Sally Bourdillon: mainly weekend presenter in the early 80s.

Rev Michael Doe: presented Sounds for Sunday then Spirit Level during the 1980s.

Rev Hedley Feast: presented the Sunday morning religious slot throughout the 90s when it was originally called Spirit Level.

Fiona Foster: one-time ITV newscaster was on the station in 1985-86. 

Jeremy Dry: at Oxford 1998-2004. Previously at Radio Lancashire, BBC H&W and LBC.

Jan Edwards: on the station 1999-2004. Previously at Fox FM. Moved to live in Mallorca and has broadcast on Mallorca Sunshine Radio.

Jo Theones: on-air 2007-2012. Previously at Capital FM in Nairobi and Fox FM in Oxfordshire. Now on BFBS at Brize Norton.

Phil Kennedy: at Oxford 2006-12. Previous stations include Radio Jackie, Top Shop, Radio 1, Key 103, The Superstation, GLR, Virgin and Heart. Currently on Radio Berkshire.

Phil Gayle: at Oxford 2011-15. Previous stations included BRMB, Signal, Rock FM, LBC, Radio Newcastle and Radio Berkshire. Currently presents the international news for Deutsche Welle.

Anne Diamond: hosted the breakfast show 2004-06.

Charles Nove: weekend breakfast and then weekday breakfast shows 2011-18

Will Gompertz: the BBC's arts editor was on the station 2014-17

David Prever: on Radio Oxford since April 2013. 

Further listening:

Archive Clips from the 1970s to the 2010s

Radio Conversations: Libby Purves

Radio Conversations: Thomas Prag

Timmy on the Tranny (1981)

Tribute to Bill Heine

With thanks to David Ballard.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Down Your Local - 50 Years of BBC Radio London

The capital had to wait until 6 October 1970 to get its own radio station. The station was based in Harewood House in Hanover Square, a building rented by the BBC and just a 10-minute walk from Broadcasting House. That proximity was important as many of Radio London's broadcasters would make the trip up Regent Street when they joined the national networks. Later the station moved to the old Radio Times offices at 35A Marylebone High Street and in 2009 to the redeveloped New Broadcasting House.

Radio London's transmission area was defined as that covered by the Greater London Council, then just five years old, and the largest of any of the BBC local stations. Initially just on 95.3MHz VHF from the transmitter at Wrotham in Kent it added 206m MW from Brooksman Park in September 1972 and moved to 94.9 MHz from the same site in March 1973. Stereo broadcasts started in February 1981 from the transmitter at Crystal Palace.  

The first station manager was Peter Redhouse who'd come from a news and current affairs background as part of the editorial team on Radio 4's Today. This was reflected in Radio London's schedule which offered three key news magazines each day: Rush Hour, Capital City and Home Run. Peter moved on in 1976 (replaced by Allen Holden) to become general manger of the local radio unit until his retirement in 1987. He then worked with his son to help set-up the communications agency Redhouse Lane Communications Ltd becoming the company secretary. Peter died in 2012.

Here's the opening day schedule for the station:

Fortunately a couple of recordings from that opening day have been kept.

This is Radio London presented by David Simmons provides a guide to some of the voices and programmes on the new station.

The opening show, after a short introduction from Peter Redhouse, is Rush Hour with a rather nervy Tom Vernon. Radio London retained the Rush Hour title for its morning show until it closed in 1988 to become Greater London Radio. As with most of the BBC local stations they called upon the services of the Radiophonic Workshop for their jingles, in this case composed by John Baker. The programme's opening theme is Burt Bacharach's Bond Street from the soundtrack of Casino Royale. Soundtracks remained an important part of the musical output - we hear a tracks from West Side Story and Darling Lili later in the show - as they weren't included in the virtually non-existent needletime allocation. 

This was Tom's first regular radio work. He'd previously had a career in teaching and PR and had dabbled in song-writing which led to occasional appearances on the Today programme where overnight he’d write a song about a current news story for broadcast the next day. Indeed he's written a song for the opening of the station heard at about 35 minutes.

Tom presented other programmes such as A Better Place to Live, Weekly Echo and Look, Stop, Listen and produced the classical music show In Concert which was hosted by Michael Oliver (later a presenter of Radio 4's arts magazine Kaleidoscope and Radio 3's Music Weekly). Tom continued to appear on Radio London for the rest of the decade but had spells on Radio 4 as a producer on Kaleidoscope and reviewing the weekly news magazines on News Stand. In 1979 Tom became the first presenter of Radio 4's Feedback and later that year undertook the first of his cycling adventures in Fat Man on a Bicycle. This series was produced by Joy Hatwood who had herself worked at Radio London as a the arts presenter/producer.

Providing some of the news reports in this first edition of Rush Hour were Charles Thompson, Gaynor Jones (who had her own programme That Jones Girl) and Stephen Ladd (who was also heard on Radio Northsea International under his real name Stephen Oliver). Others on the news team included Michael Vestey (joined from the Sunday Express and from 1973 was a BBC national news reporter and presented The World Tonight) and Laurie Mayer (who'd joined from the Press Bureau at New Scotland Yard and would go onto Radio 1's Newsbeat and then on BBC TV and Sky News).  

Radio London's mid-morning offering was aimed at housewives with a "lively and interesting topics linked by music". Woman in Town ran until early 1975 initially presented by Hilary Osborn who'd started at the BBC as a secretary then studio manager before joining the station. She went on to work as a television continuity announcer (LWT, TVS and Meridian) and announcer on Radio 4 (1984) and Radio 2 (1986-90). Hilary was succeeded by Chris Mohr who in turn appeared on Radio 4's Woman's Hour and became a BBC tv producer (Did You See? and Video Nation). 

Post-lunch musical entertainment was hosted by Canadian David Carter in his Lunch a La Carter show. David had been a music producer on the Light Programme and Radio 1 (Late Night Extra) as well as Thames TV. When Lunch a La Carter ended in 1972 David continued to present (Pop Shop) and also produce a number of music shows.

An early influential music show was Breakthrough presented by Steve Bradshaw. It offered a mix of live sessions, demos, poetry and live and recorded interviews. John Peel was a fan claiming that "that Steve and Breakthrough are doing is almost exactly the kind of thing I wish I were doing for Radio 1". Steve left the show in 1973 but it continued for another 15 years under the guidance of Mike Sparrow. Steve went on to report for Newsbeat, Radio 4's current affairs magazine File on 4 and for Panorama.

Here's a selection of Radio London jingles from John Baker, Paddy Kingsland and their first full package from EMISON.

These programme clips date from June 1971 and August 1972 and include the voices of David Carter, Hilary Osborn, Steve Barnard, Robbie Vincent, Steve Bradshaw, Laurie Mayer, Frank Dawes, Mike Sparrow, Bob Trevor and Susie Barnes.  (Audio has been edited from recordings uploaded by Things Found on Old Reels blogspot).

Moving on to the week commencing 27 March 1971 one of the most familiar names is that of Robbie Vincent here presenting Saturday's Messages and Music and on Sunday sticking his mic under the noses of hospital patients in Bedside Microphone. A year or so later started his long-running Saturday show imaginatively titled It's Saturday (later just The Robbie Vincent Show) which started as a general dedications show but morphed into a soul and funk show running until 1984 (after which Jeff Young presented a similar music show). In 1974 he gained a daily late show Late Night London and from 1977 a replacement to the existing daily phone-in show Call In known as the Robbie Vincent Telephone Programme "the lunchtime show that gets London talking. " He stayed with Radio London until it became GLR in 1988, though by then the daily phone-in was hosted by the Fred (former taxi driving Mastermind champion) Housego.  During his time at Radio London Robbie also worked for Radio 1 with a soul and disco show (1977-78), a youth-orientated talk show Talkabout (1982) and a soul, funk and fusion show ("if it moves, funk it!) between 1983 and 1989. he then joined LBC and later appeared on Kiss and Jazz FM.  

Looking after Home Run this week (and also the Wednesday night Sounds Good "for hi-fi enthusiasts" plus the daily show for under-sevens Listen Children) was David Simmons who was with the station at its launch having previously worked at pirate station Radio 390 and in West Africa and Switzerland. David would present Call In when it started in 1972 and the same year took over the Saturday evening from Mike Raven on Radio 1 playing r'n'b, soul and reggae. (There are a couple of airchecks on YouTube). David stayed with the station until the end of the decade taking over Late Night London and a number of soul shows (Soul 77, Soul 78 and, yes you've guessed it, Soul 79).    

Another member of the launch team was Susie Barnes (billed here on Sunday's Friends and Neighbours as Susan Barnes) who stayed with the station until it's 1988 rebrand, and indeed co-presented the final show with Mike Sparrow. Susie presented a number of programmes on the station including Rush Hour, the mid-morning London Live, a late-night 10 to midnight show and, by the mid-80s an afternoon show.

Starting a couple of months after this Radio Times listing was You Don't Have to Be Jewish with Michael Freedland which ran until 1988. The title came from a US poster advertising bread that read "You Don't Have To Be Jewish to enjoy Levy's Rye." The programme covered a variety of topics from religion and politics to comedy and music  and included phone-ins and documentary style reports. It continued on LBC until 1994. A newspaper journalist by trade Michael had started broadcasting in the mid-60s reporting for Woman's Hour and Home for the Day. On BBC Radio 2 over a period of four decades he wrote and narrated dozens of shows about American singers and songwriters and Hollywood stars. 

Radio London took its music programmes seriously as this schedule for the week beginning 29 September 1973 shows, just a couple of weeks before the launch of Capital Radio.

Sunday afternoons offered rock journalist Charlie Gillett's Honky Tonk which he presented between 1972 and 1978. This was followed by Steve Barnard's Reggae Time. Steve is credited with being the first black DJ to play reggae music on British radio. It was "required listening for fans of the music ... as there was no one else airing the music". He would later broadcast on London pirate station JFM. When Steve left in 1977 the show became Reggae Rockers (later Rockers FM) with Tony Williams and, for a year or so, the legendary DJ David Rodigan.

Sunday at 3pm it was London Country with Bob Powel. Bob became the editor of the  Country Music People magazine and ran a record shop in Saint Paul's Cray for a number of years. He presented London Country between 1971 and 1988.

"Progressive and contemporary pop music" show Fresh Garbage aired at 5 pm. Taking its title from a track on the debut LP by US rock group Spirit it was presented by Andy Finney from 1971 to 1973, indeed this billing is the final show. Andy recalls that Judy Collins was his live interview guest on that show which also featured a regular Obscurity slot with music journalist John Tobler. Initially Andy split his time between Radio Stoke in the week and Radio London at weekend. At London he was the voice of some of the test transmission announcements, he worked on the Saturday afternoon sports coverage, presented a number of editions of Breakthrough between 1973 and 1979 as well as Single File, the station's answer to Rosko's Round Table. In the 1980s Andy moved to work for BBC Television where he was one of the first people in the Corporation to research and develop interactive media, as part of the Interactive Television Unit and co-founder of the BBC's Domesday project.

Meanwhile for jazz fans there was All that Jazz with jazz writer Brian Priestley. Other specialist music shows that came along later include Stuart Colman's Echoes, Eastern Ear with Geetha Bala and Vernon Corea (previously on Radio Ceylon and later the BBC's Ethic Minorities Advisor), Mad on Jazz with Gilles Peterson, The Great Composers with Adrian Edwards and various funk and soul shows with Dave Pearce.

Extract from 1977 BBC booklet Serving Neighbourhood and Nation

A couple of other names to pick up on this 1973 schedule are Jeanine McMullen with Read All About It. Jeanine was one of the first presenters of Radio 4's You and Yours. Looking after weekday afternoons was Richard Vaughan. Richard was with the station for 8 years. He also had a brief stint on Radio 2's Early Show in 1978, reported for Radio 4's holiday show Breakaway, worked for LBC and BFBS and has commentated for numerous sporting events on a range of TV channels.

On Sunday morning at 10.02 am is Exposure, a magazine show about photography which can't have been easy on radio! One of the presenters is photographer Roger Clark who continued to broadcast on the station into the 1980s on Corridors of Power, Inside London and Hold the Front Page. You can see more of Roger's photos on his website.    

Presenting Rush Hour this week was John Toogood (who was also heard occasionally on Radio 2 in the '80s). Other presenters of Rush Hour over the years included Tony Fish (later in the BBC Training Unit, Programme Organiser at Radio York, Station Manager for Radio Newcastle and Managing Editor at Radio Shropshire), Susie Barnes, David Simmonds, Nick Lucy, Astley Jones (for many years a Radio 4 newsreader), John Waite (Radio 4's You and Yours and Face the Facts), Piers Bishop (TV announcer and on Radio Brighton and Radio Sussex), Anne-Marie Grey (who'd been filling in on Black Londoners and would later present Radio 5's Caribbean Magazine), Brenda Ellison (ex-Radio Hallam and later LBC News) and David Edwards.  

With the Saturday afternoon mix of music and football results The Other Programme is Paul Owens. Paul's main show from 1975 to 1979 was the weekday afternoon show 206 Showcase. He left to set up commercial station Devonair and was later on County Sound, Pirate FM, Fox FM, Star FM, The Eagle, The Quay and Time 106.

Jumping ahead to April 1986 many of the original names are still on the station but by now a very famous name was occupying the mid-morning show. Tony Blackburn had joined Radio London in 1981 to host an afternoon show whilst still appearing at the weekend on Radio 1. He left Radio 1 in 1984 by which time he'd already moved to the morning slot where he was getting saucy with London's housewives and whipping out a 12-incher to play; it was as well that the rest of the UK were spared this.

On Saturday's Jeff Young was getting all soulful and funky. Jeff was also on Radio 1 at this time where his Big Beat dance show was a Friday night regular in the last half of the '80s. He was later on Jazz FM, Kiss FM, Capital and XFM.  

Malcolm Laycock, here presenting Those Swinging Years, also moved over to national radio when he took over the Dance Band Days and Big Band Era shows following the death of Alan Dell. Malcolm had been with Radio London since 1974 initially producing a number of their education programmes (Getaway, In the News, What Now? and Know What I Mean?) and also co-producing Black Londoners which initially was also came under education programming . He eventually started to present show such as Track Record and was part of the team on London Live, a weekday afternoon show that " takes a look at people, events and ideas in London." In between leaving Radio London and joining Radio 2 Malcolm helped establish Jazz FM and formed an independent production company Encore Radio.

The two what's on guides London  Weekend and London This Week were presented by David Bartley and Guy Hornsby. Guy had been presenting a similar Saturday morning  guide Weekend What's On since 1979. He was also a reporter on the arts magazine Look, Stop, Listen (presented by Mike Sparrow) and would go on to produce Tony Blackburn's shows for the station and an award-winning documentary series for the World Service called Sweet Soul Music. Later he launched Ocean Sound in 1986 and was programme controller for the Southern Radio Group and MD then CEO for Faze FM Radio (with Programme Controller Mike Gray who had also co -presented with Guy on Radio London) which ran the Kiss stations in Manchester and Leeds.

Another reporter on Look, Stop, Listen was Sarah Dunant, a producer on Radio 4's arts magazine Kaleidoscope and later one of team presenting BBC2's The Late Show but now a successful novelist. 

By 1986 the arts programme was called Big City. The arts editor was Nick St George who'd started his radio career at the World Service before moving to Radio Birmingham and then  Radio London. Moving to tv he worked on the Channel 4 Daily, was joint MD for the production company Heavy Entertainment before returning to radio for Testbed Productions and a producer for Radio 4 Extra. His Big City co-presenter was Anthony Denselow, freelance at the time but joining the BBC as a full-time arts producer mainly on Kaleidoscope and Radio 3's Night Waves.  

Finally Black Londoners, a groundbreaking radio show that had started in November 1974, initially monthly then weekly from September 1976 and then every weekday from May 1978 for the remainder of its run to October 1988, thus becoming the first black daily radio show on UK radio. Keith Yeomans and Barry Clayton (brought over from Capital Radio) were asked to produce it and they found Alex Pascall, (pictured above) a Grenadian-born musician to present it.     

Black Londoners mixed news, discussion, interviews, reports, music and comedy. It proved so popular that one survey found that 59% of black Londoners listened to it. In time Pascall would help organise the Notting Hill Carnival and in 1982 he co-founded The Voice, Britain's first weekly Afro-Caribbean newspaper. By the time of this programme schedule Pascall was sharing presenting duties with Sonia Fraser and Hilton Fyle, best known for Network Africa on the BBC's African service. Reporters on the show included Vince Herbert and former Hackney Gazette journalist Juliet Alexander , both of whom worked on BBC2's Ebony.

Other broadcasters heard on BBC Radio London between 1970 and 1988 include Jill Evans, Louis Marriott, Jenny Thompson, Diana Rice, Michael Meech, Norman de Mesquita, Mike Field, Nick Handel, Nick Worrall, Roger Hurrell, David Kremer, Simon Reed, Tony Grant, Tony Freeman, Frank Dawes, Colin Maitland, Harold Bohla, Steve Walsh, Andy Peebles and Gary Crowley. 

The first incarnation of Radio London came to end at 7 pm on Friday 7 October 1988. After 17 days of test transmissions it re-launched as Greater London Radio (GLR). Matthew Bannister and Trevor Dann dropped virtually all the Radio London on-air team with the exception of Dave Pearce, Sonia Fraser, Andy Peebles and Gary Crowley. "This is a new station so we want to avoid any comparisons with Radio London", said Bannister.

The final show We're Just Stepping Outside, We May Be Gone Some Time was hosted by Susie Barnes and Mike Sparrow.

In time GLR relaunched as BBC London Live 94.9 in March 2000, became BBC London 94.9 in October 2001 and went back to its original name of BBC Radio London in October 2015.

In October 2010 marked its 40th anniversary with this special show presented by Tony Blackburn, though it does rather concentrate on the GLR era. 

With thanks to David Ballard for his help in locating Radio Times back issues.

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