Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Jingles on 4

Jingles on Radio 4? Surely not. Well, yes. At least twice to my knowledge.

According to David Hendy's Life On Air in 1968 station controller Gerard Mansell oversaw the introduction of "musical jingles during some awkward gaps between programmes and during the run up to bulletins". I've no idea who composed them and I've never heard any recordings of these mystery jingles. Do any copies exist I wonder?

The next set were introduced in late 1977, and I know this for a fact as I recorded them. Arranged by Fritz Spiegl they were a series a short instrumental tracks plus a full two and a half minute theme inspired by Dances from Terpsichore composed by 17th century German composer Michael Praetorius. As far as I'm aware these 'jingles' were in use in late 1977 and most of 1978 and the full Praetorius Dance Tune was used to open up the network. This replaced the Spiegl arranged Skipping Tune, first used in 1973, and in turn was replaced in November 1978 by what would eventually be called the UK Theme.  This corrects the impression I gave in a 2011 blog post which suggested that the UK Theme replaced the Skipping Tune.

Here's a selection of those jingles plus the full theme used to start the day on Radio 4. They conjure up an image of a dance at the Elizabethan court. Welcome to Ye Olde Radio 4 perhaps.


Hendy goes on to mention that "a limited number of Radio 4 jingles are also introduced" in 1978 at the same time as the November wavelength changes, only to be dropped the following year. Now I've been racking my brain about this. Did they use variations on the UK Theme? If they did I don't think I recorded any. Can you offer any assistance here?  


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