The archived
Happenings index
November 2000 – June 2012
is here...
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The Happenings pages contain details of recent updates and amendments to the Radio London website

Any items added to the site or updated within the past month will be flagged appropriately with an or flash.

In the news section all new, or currently active stories (apart from obituaries) are headed in orange, including stories that are liable to remain current for some weeks. Naturally, you may need to scroll down the page to see older items which may have been amended. The latest updates and amendments will always be found on this first page, while older news items will be saved on separate pages. Older obituaries are transferred to a separate archive page.

The News starts here.

Big L T-shirts and Sweat Shirts!
Exclusive Radio London clothing from our on-line store!

Click on Caroline's Steve Young to see our T-shirt Personality Picture Gallery!

Cousin Moosie's Moosetastic Store

Hi, I'm Cousin Moosie and I want to introduce you to my Cafepress Store where you can buy teeshirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and a variety of merchandise featuring the Big L 50th Anniversary logo on the left, designed by my friend Mary. She's busy running the Radio London website, so she's asked me to look after the store for her.

Our original Radio London embroidered teeshirts and sweatshirts are still available.

Every Sunday from 1100 to 1300 UK time, in conjunction with Radio London, Oldies Project broadcast the Big L Fab 40 from the same week 52 years ago and repeated the following Wednesday from 1800 UK time.

During the rest of the week, Oldies Project plays a great mix of music, with a couple of Fab 40 faves each hour, each preceded by a great original Big L jingle!

The Big L Fab 40 is one of the most popular sections of the Radio London website. Click left, for the complete Fab 40 index to an amazing and unique collection of Big L charts from 1965 to 1967, containing masses of fascinating features and artist information, all regularly updated.

(March 17)
To coincide with the Fab Forties on Oldies Project, the charts for March 1965 have been 'tweaked'
to include new information and remove any broken links.
In the week commencing 29th May 66,the Rugby Advertiser reported of war between the Musicians Union and the pirates.

New Chart added for 20/05/67

New Features
Radio London Exclusive: The Roman Archive. Mark Roman shares his personal Big L memorabilia
Part 3
Sixties Merchandise – did you buy a duff tape recorder? These ancient ads have sparked many memories and even prompted the purchase of a 1966 radio. This story could run and run!
The What's Happening Index covers archived news from November 2000 to June 2012. From July 2012, 'What's Happening' consists of a page of current stories linked at the bottom to archives of older news items. Obituaries have been transferred to separate archive pages.

And now, The News...

Russell Percival Tollerfield
1944 - 2017

Russell Tollerfield, the engineer who 50 years ago drew the short straw to switch off theRadio London transmitter, has died at the age of 72.

A full tribute page to Russ has been added.

Brian Matthew
1928 - 2017

Although it is impossible to include everything that Brian achieved in his long life, we must mention the start of his broadcasting career and some of the programmes for which he became famous.

Many people will have heard his mellow voice first on the then-Light Programme's Saturday Club, but Brian's earliest radio broadcasts were in 1948, with British Forces Network. After appearing in various stage productions, he took up a two-year post in 1952, with the foreign section of Dutch overseas radio in Hilversum. In 1955, he was offered a position at the BBC as a trainee announcer. Brian recalls in his 1991 autobiography, 'This is Where I Came In', that records were still almost exclusively of the 78 rpm variety which before tape recorders were widely-used, were the main medium for news reports and dramas. He relates the perils of attempting to organise smooth continuity between records, particularly when some of the recordings ended mid-sentence at the end of one 78 and resumed on the next! Brian's BBC training included both pronunciation and annunciation – a far cry from 20th century broadcasting.

Brian announced on comedy shows such as 'Hancock's Half Hour' until, in June 1957, he was approached by producer Jimmy Grant to front a programme unlike any heard previously on BBC radio. It was called 'Saturday Skiffle Club', even though Brian admitted that at the time, he had no notion as to the nature of 'skiffle' music! The show was an immediate success and in October 1958, it evolved into 'Saturday Club', the two-hour Saturday morning programme that became a vehicle for memorable live sessions by top bands and singers. Ten months later, the programme that the BBC had thought would never attract a listenership, had an audience of 5 million. Its success brought about Brian being asked to present 'Easy Beat', a prerecorded, one-hour live-audience show, transmitted on Sunday mornings. Brian fronted episodes 1 to 468 of 'Saturday Club' before being replaced by Keith Skues and then Tom Edwards.

Above: Presenting 'Saturday Club'

Although Brian resigned from the BBC after being caught committing the ultimate corporation sin of voicing a Murraymints commercial, he continued hosting his BBC programmes on a freelance basis. His resignation left him free to record regular Pye record company shows for Radio Luxembourg and to front ATV's 'Thank Your Lucky Stars', which he did for five years.

Despite initially being somewhat underwhelmed by the Light programme's replacement station Radio One, in 1973, Brian came up with the idea for 'My Top Twelve', which he saw as a more contemporary 'Desert Island Discs'.

Between 1978 and 1990 he hosted Radio Two's arts magazine, 'Round Midnight', a nightly live programme that mixed light entertainment, music and interviews aired between 2300 and 0200. Brian enjoyed the late hour, and with acting in his blood, he especially relished featuring interviewees hotfoot from the West End stage.

From 1990, until his recent retirement, Brian hosted Radio Two's 'Sounds of the Sixties', where he gained a massive audiences, members of which he nicknamed 'Avids'. Not a huge fan of the pirates, Brian nonetheless played a request for Radio London's 50th birthday, December 2014.

A petition to reinstate him as the programme's presenter was signed by over 12,000 listeners, but sadly, Brian became gravely ill and died on April 8th.

Radio Two tribute

April – another bumper bIrthday month!(04/17)
Birthdays this month for DJs from a variety of offshore stations. Two Australian Grahams, both born in 1936 – Graham Gill celebrates on the 15th, Graham Webb on the 19th. Admiral Robbie Dale blows out the candles on April 21st and Phil Martin of Radio England celebrates on the 30th.
Greetings, pop-pickers!

The Last 'Knees Monthly'(21/04/17)
Fifty years ago in April 1967, the last edition of the Knees Club magazine, 'Knees Monthly' appeared. in those pre-photocopier days, this double-sided foolscap publication was 'printed' on a local scout group's duplicating machine. Documents for mass production had to be typed onto a stencil that was fixed to a drum which then transferred the image onto sheets of paper as the operator turned the handle. If the stencil slipped, the image ended up skew-whiff and halfway down the paper, which I'm afraid was what happened to our doomed publication. At the time, it was the best quality I could have hoped for, especially as I was getting the typing and duplication done for free. It was a sad end to the Club magazine, the regular appearance of which was eagerly awaited by (at least some of) our members. We had hoped it would continue, but it was not to be.

The serialised story was 'The Knee from A.N.K.L.E. Meets Mothgirl (Part 5). Sadly, the outcome of this particular serial kneemains unwritten.

The Agoknee Column dealt with a worried 16-year-old whose knees kept going out to socialise on their own, leaving her in the lurch.

Meanwhile the Knees of the World investigated a scandal involving Fanny's Fish and Chip Shop. "The assistant picked up a two-way radio cleverly disguised as a piece of cod and a girl arrived to escort him to what she described as 'The Goldfish Pond'. It was a lurid vice den, not only showing degrading knee displays, but selling purple knees by the sackful."

The Knees Club was fun and so was Radio London, but in 1967 they both had to end.
Left and below, the true meaning of putting a slant on a story!

My British Invasion(21/04/17)
Co-founder of Rhino Records, Harold Bronson, is a huge fan of Oldies Project and in particular the Fab Forties and kindly gives links to both in 'Emperor Rosko and the Pirates of Radio', a chapter in his new book, 'My British Invasion'. Both Kindle and paperback versions are available.

"With chapters on Harold's immersion in London's rock scene in the early '70s and others on significant music makers from the '60s and '70s, 'My British Invasion' gives both large and small scopes of the scene that brought us Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Johnny Rotten, and Pirate Radio.
A must for all music fans of the British Invasion of the 1960s and 70s."

HUL-LO! It's 'Go Man Go'(04/17)
Congratulations to Stephen Chesney (aka ChesKNEE) who has just retired after 44 years with his law firm. Stephen spotted an interesting listing on the BBC Genome website.

"I happened to be browsing through some historic Light Programme listings reproduced from the Radio Times on the BBC Genome website, when for Friday 8th February 1963 I noticed with interest that the compere of 'Go Man Go' was Tony Withers! 

I then found that this was the third consecutive week that TW compered the programme, having taken over from fellow-Aussie Alan Freeman. He may have remained with the show longer, but strangely the listings for the following weeks name all the participants in the progr amme except the compere.

Alas, TW would not have been able to sign off, as he often did later,  by saying, "See you around - like a record" because, as you may recall, 'Go Man Go' was one of those awful live music with an audience lunchtime shows. The BBC, subject to 'needle time' restrictions, was naïve in believing that cover versions by house bands and vocalists of contemporary hits would appeal to young listeners.

Look Who's in the Sound Archive!(04/17)
Mike Barraclough has drawn our attention to 'Unlocking our Sound Heritage', a press release concerning the British Library project to:

"Save almost half a million rare and unique recordings that are threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats that can no longer be played. These recordings tell a rich story of the UK's diverse history through traditional, pop and world music, drama and literature readings, oral history, regional radio, dialect, and wildlife sounds from around the country. "

After a brief investigation of the archive, we discovered a rare recording released in 1968 by Radio London's Roman Emperor.

Some years ago, we asked Mark if there was a story behind his single. He said: No story. 'Cuddly Toy' (written by Harry Nilsson) was the 'B' side of 'Gonna Get Along Without You Now' ('cos I liked the Trini Lopez version) and 'Cuddly Toy' was on a Monkees album. I couldn't find written lyrics, so there is an error. The original line was 'the day after Santa came', but it was indistinct and I couldn't decipher it, so my version reads 'the day that the setter came', figuring that it might be about a dog! Apart from that, my performance is completely forgettable, not to say c**p (I said not to say c**p!!)."

Felixstowe Honours Caroline(04/17)
The East Anglian Daily Times reports a special event due to take place in Felixstowe in September, where a commemorative stone will be unveiled on the cliffs overlooking the sea from which the station broadcast in the Sixties. Click on the small photo to see a (somewhat cobbled together) .pdf of the story.

Brian Nichols posted on Felixstowe and Offshore Radio Facebook Page:
"Seemed like a normal day, until hearing that the EADT & Ipswich Star had published the news of the Radio Caroline commemorative stone in Felixstowe, quickly followed by a call from BBC Radio Suffolk, for Charles Wright & I to have an interview with Stephen Foster. Our interview can be heard about 1 hour 25 mins into the show." 

(Thanks to Pauline Miller for the scans and Jon Myer for the Facebook link)

The Galaxy's fourth life(04/17)
Alex Hoek has uploaded to Youtube a documentary from Swiss Television dated August 2003. which includes beautiful shots of Galaxy (Big L) in the harbour in Hamburg and an interview with Radio Northsea International founder, Edwin Bollier. Extracts from this programme have been on Youtube for some time.

Edwin Bollier is interviewed about the time that the mv Galaxy nearly housed his offshore station RNI. This would have given the battle-decorated WWII minesweeper USS Density a fourth life. After her war duty, she was first renamed Minoula before being kitted out in Miami by the likes of Ron Crider to be rechristened Galaxy and become the home of Radio London. After Big L's enforced closure on August 14th 1967, she sailed to Hamburg.

Housing RNI would have given the iconic ship a fourth life and reprieved her from a sad end, but the guys shown on board are only pretending to be broadcasting and lounging in the mess. This was merely a mock-up demonstration. RNI never broadcast from the Galaxy and plans to use her for other ventures also failed. Her third life very sadly ended in a watery grave in Kiel harbour in 1979. (Thanks to Martin van der Ven and Hans Knot, who provided the archive footage.)

Weeley: The Great British Woodstock (04/04)
Following the success of his Radio Caroline book, (right) Ray Clark has penned a book about The Great British Woodstock and how what started out as a village fete in the Essex village of Weeley, turned into a major music festival headed by Rod Stewart and attracting crowds of around 150,000.

The Daily Mail online has given the book extensive coverage, which will hopefully assist to boost sales.

One of the Weeley acts was Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, a band signed to John Peel's Dandelion label. An advertisement for the label from International Times has kindly been supplied by Hans Knot.


Ian Ross talks to the PRHoF(31/03/17)
Jon's update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame for April:
Radio Caroline was launched at Easter 1964 and, to coincide with Easter 2017, we hear from one of the station founders, Ian Ross. He discusses the early days of Caroline in a fascinating interview carried out by Ray Clark; Correspondent Kevin Tansey sheds some light on the background of Swinging Radio England 'Boss Jock', Tom Cooper;
and there is a rundown of forthcoming radio-related events.
Please note: The next update to The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame may be delayed. I am hoping to move house soon and, if it happens, won't be able to update the site until a new broadband connection has been installed.

Spotted recently in a TV Series(04/17)
In the ITV series 'Prime Suspect 1973' the villains are seen driving a van sporting a yellow Caroline sticker.

Well done Alan Hardy!(04/17)
Well done to Alan Hardy for correcting a glaring error in inewspaper online. The correction says:

"Red faces over Pink Floyd The Page 2 graphic in the 10 March edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd's debut single 'Arnold Layne' said that it was banned by BBC Radio London. As Alan Hardy pointed out: 'That was not possible because BBC Radio London did not start broadcasting until 1970.' The station that banned the song was Radio London, the offshore 'pirate' station.'" (Webmaster's comment: In other words, it was the genuine Radio London.)

A Radio Station Like No Other(04/17)
From Ian MacRae Down Under:
You may recall (or may not) a while ago I launched my first fiction book "The Wilton Bay Chronicles".

The story is based on two competing radio stations in an idyllic beachside town...a network station playing The Music of Your Life and the other is called The Seventh Wave. That fictional station is edgy and very contentious with some content very much in direct contravention of current broadcasting regulations. Now what if this virtual radio station produced a real fortnightly podcast featuring a compilation of the best bits of programming from the previous fortnight? That could be interesting (I thought). So I've gone ahead and done it.

Episode 5 of my fairly new podcast "A Radio Station Like No Other" has now been released into the wild.

In this episode we check out the latest live entertainment coming to Bonks Brasserie & Bar, and apparently it's someone who's been described as a lovely lady and her name is Ima. Ima Pigg. Stay listening for a sample of her work. The naughty boys at the Vinyl Lounge offer tips on how to manage your lottery winnings. And if you can't – they will. Australian children's author Mem Fox received a written apology from the United States after she was terrorised by Immigration officials at Los Angeles airport. Listen to hear what REALLY happened

NOTE: Some content in the podcast is "adult humour" and is flagged "Explicit"

To subscribe for free to the podcast on iTunes or to listen on your browser

If you like what you hear and you happen to be a broadcaster anywhere in the world, I encourage you to submit an occasional segment away from the frustrations of your usual programme genre, where you may be restricted by station formats or local government broadcast policies, and create something which you've always wanted to do, but were unable if you wanted to keep your job! You can use your real name or make one up. For more details on that, email me.

In the latest edition of Ian's newsletter, The Radio Wave,

Radio DJ and producer shot dead during a Facebook Live broadcast • Radio station in hot water after 'irresponsible' car stunt' • Radio journalist shot dead outside home in Northern Mexico.

To subscribe to the newsletter, email Ian and type the word "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Hans in his Radio England teeshirt, supplied by Rick Randall (see SRE reunion photo pages) and minus his beard

Visit to Ross Revenge and Communicator(05/04)
The April edition of Hans Knot's International Newsletter includes photos of a 1984 trip to the Ross Revenge and Communicator.

The previous edition includes an open letter from Tony Prince.

Hans says: "On our huge Flickr site 'The Offshore Radio Archive' (containing more than 16.500 photos) there's a special album called 'Antique Radios'. You will find more than 300 pictures of vintage transistor and valve radio sets, many of them with offshore radio stations like Veronica, Caroline, London, RTV Noordzee and even Atlanta and 390 on the dial. This unique collection is definitely worth a visit."

Busy Hans also produces a magazine, 'Freewave Nostalgie' which is free to download and produced 5 times per year.

Hans & Martin have a blog on the net for readers who want info concerning tunes, music used for jingles and more, and have followed the ‘Zeezender Discography’ since 1994 on www.soundscapes.info

Check Martin van der Ven's website, the Offshore Radio Guide for current and back issues of the International Newsletters and see a very cute photo of Hans as a young lad! To sign up for a personal copy of the free emailed newsletter, contact Hans at hknot@home.nl. You can also read the newsletter on line, at
www.hansknot.com where Hans has made a huge compilation of programmes that could be heard on offshore radio, catalogued station-by-station, not to mention a very long list of the Radio London advertisers. "If you want to sell in England...."!

Hans looks great in his Radio London teeshirt. For a larger picture, see our photo gallery

August 14th 1967(03/17)
What are your memories of that momentous day? How did you feel when you heard Paul Kaye's closedown announcement and you knew that it was the end and Big L was never coming back? Where were you at the time? Were you at quayside to meet the returning DJs, or did you join the throng at Liverpool Street station? We'd love to include your stories in a special feature to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this sad occasion. Send us an email
Remember Big EA? (01/04/17)
Keith Milborrow points out that April 1st 2017 marked the50th anniversary of one of the shortest-lived radio stations ever.

Radio East Anglia ostensibly broadcast on '267 metres' for a few hours on the morning of 01/04/1967 almost totally obliterating Radio London’s powerful 266 transmission (which continued to be heard faintly in the background).
This was of course the famous April Fool’s Day hoax perpetrated by the guys on the Galaxy. I remember reading somewhere that this was not their first idea. There was talk at the time that the original scheme would have also involved the deejays on board the Mi Amigo, who pulled out at the last minute. One could surmise that for that morning 'Radio Caroline' might have been operating on 266 from the Galaxy and 'Radio London' on 259 from the Mi Amigo. It is no wonder that this never happened, as I can imagine management at Caroline House and 17 Curzon Street would have been none too impressed, to say the least! 

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame has a full length feature with clips, about the infamous April Fool that nearly got Stewpot and Cardboard Shoes the sack.

Twiggy's SOTS alternative(03/17)
Roger Twiggy Day is offering an alternative to SOTS. Writing on Facebook, he says: "08.00 - 1000 on Saturdays sees the next chapter in my broadcasting career. For those missing Brian Matthew, please listen to my Sixties Vinyl Countdown. It's on Caroline Flashback, Uncool Radio, Coast & County Radio in Yorks, and Seahaven FM in Sussex. More stations soon. It is very exciting! Please share this message." (Thanks to Jon Myer)

Dave Cash Corner(03/17)
A petition has been launched by Anne Bond on behalf of the late Dave's friends and listeners, to have a Kent roundabout renamed Dave Cash Corner. The location, at Junction 8 of the M20, was close to Dave and Sara's home and frequently mentioned on his programme. The current aim is to collect 500 signatures, at which time the petition will be presented to Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald.

'Montserrat' launches on Mayday(March 2017)
John Otway:
The New John Otway and The Big Band album 'Montserrat' has been delivered to the manufacturers - and there is not long to wait now.
My Kick-Starter campaign for the album was launched on May Day Morning 2016 at the traditional annual Oxford 0600 band gig at the Bear.
We thought it would be fun to have the official release of 'Montserrat' same time, same place, this year. For those who don't want to get up that early, there will be a big band 'Montserrat party' at the 100 Club on May 14th.
On May 1st the album will be available from Amazon and Itunes etc, but copies will be available from my website shop before then.
The last album to be recorded on the island of Montserrat before this one was the Stones' 'Steel Wheels' - and this one is a lot better than that :-)
We're now starting planning for this year's Southend convention, which not only celebrates the new album but also coincides with the 40th anniversary of my first Hit, 'Really Free'. Here's the link if you fancy joining in the fun Southend 2017.
There are quite a few gigs coming up, so I hope you can make one.
Cheers, John Otway

Michael of Sealand on Radio 4
Prince Michael of Sealand (left) has been interviewed by Vanessa Feltz (sitting in for Jeremy Vine) about the origins of his micro-principality, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in September. The interview is enhanced by a phone contribution from Sealand's Head of Homeland Security, Mike Barrington, whose novel solution for repelling boarders is to drop a car battery on them! (Interview 68mins into the programme) (Thanks to Jon Myer)

A Pirate's Tale with Richard and Twiggy(Feb 16 2017)
Nick Carter has asked us to publicise 'The Real Boats That Rocked', a charity event in Reading on Saturday, 29th April.
Richard Swainson recounts his role at the very start of British offshore radio with Project Atlanta, then onto his central role in the hugely successful Radio London – 'Big L'.
Roger 'Twiggy' Day presents his '50 Shades of Day' - a look back at his 50-year broadcasting career on Radio England, Radio Caroline, Independent and BBC local radio. Proceeds to Prostate Cancer UK.

Arnold Layne, don't play it again
It's not the oldest song on the list (incredibly, that goes to 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'), or by any means the most well-known incidence of a record being banned, but Big L's 1967 rejection of Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne somehow appears at #1 in a Banned Hit Song Top Ten.
No sign of the Laughing Gnome
The next Royal Mail issue of Music Giants Special Stamp series is a tribute to Fab Forty artist David Bowie, who died in January 2016. The Special issue, featuring the late star's album sleeves, will be released on 14 March 2017, but can be pre-ordered.

'I was Cuddly Ken's Producer' – Kate Adie
On January 23rd, the BBC TV News programme Inside Out West included a very enjoyable feature about Kenny Everett's return to the BBC on Radio Bristol in 1971. BBC Bristol's Manager David Waine needed a four-week holiday replacement for his star Saturday presenter, Don Moss and asked Kenny, who he regarded as a genius, to step in. Fortunately, David was unaware of the BBC file on Kenny following his 1970 sacking from Radio One, which included a stern memo (below). Issued from on high in Broadcasting House, it gave strict instructions regarding any future employment of Kenny Everett by any part of the Corporation.

The then Head of BBC Radio, Ian Trethowan, warned David that if things went wrong on the Everett front, his job was on the line. David was brave enough to go ahead with the broadcasts anyway and even organised a press launch (right). A young lady on the BBC Bristol staff whom David describes as 'a toughie' was Kate Adie and Kate was given the job of producing the controversial show. Asked what he thought about BBC Bristol, Kenny described it as "A cuddly little radio station that I'll be able to groove on." It was his then wife Lee who came up with the idea of syndicating the shows to other local radio stations.

(Thanks to Mike Barraclough and Paul Rowley)

News Links

Everyone wants to go and live on Sealand!
Prince Michael of Sealand plans to expand the tiny nation's territory after receiving 'thousands' of citizenship applications following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election. The Daily Mail unfortunately is still using the same location map for Sealand as the one they used when they reported the demise of Princess Joan, featuring a place called 'Fenton-on-Sea'. (See story 'Fenton on Sea?')

Cilla Black statue for Liverpool
A life-size bronze statue of Cilla Black has been unveiled outside Liverpool's Cavern Club as the venue celebrates its 60th anniversary. The city already had statues of the Beatles, Billy Fury and Ken Dodd.

Tony Prince recalls Top Rank Sheffield
Tony Prince has been recalling working at the Top Rank suite in Sheffield, meeting city music stars.
(You will be required to answer a few questions in order to read this feature.)

Who recalls the Radio London Beat Band Contest?

Kingsley Harris, Co-ordinator of the East Anglian Music Archive is doing research on East Anglian bands of the Sixties. The Chalfont Movement from Ipswich won the Radio London Beat Band Contest in July 1967 held at The Rhodes Centre, Bishops Stortford. They were presented with their prize by John Peel. (We hope to include a photo soon.)

So far, we have been unable to unearth any information about the Beat Band Contest, although Big L hosted regular Radio London nights at The Rhodes Centre from Feb 6th 1967. Nearly all of the DJs were hosts while ashore. Big L nights were also held at another Herts venue, The Hermit Club in Hitchin. In 1967, the DJs were kept incredibly busy with onshore events, as there was a number of regular RL gigs, including the Nautilus Club, Lowestoft and Billy Walker's Upper Cut Club. The latter was the venue for a 'Discoveries of Tomorrow' talent contest, but Radio London was not involved beyond heat 12, which was held on June 8th, 67.

If anyone has further information concerning the Radio London Beat Band Contest, the Rhodes Centre, or indeed East Anglian bands of the Sixties, please get in touch.

Rhodes Centre Radio London nights, hosts and bands. (Extracted from 'The London Sound' by Brian Long.)

Feb 6th First Radio London Night. No info re compere or band
Feb 13th Ed Stewart. No info re band
Feb 20th Mark Roman. Band: The Exception
Feb 27 John Edward. Band: The Style
March 6th Mike Lennox. Band: Pussyfoot
March 13th Tony Blackburn. Band: The Teapots
April 3rd Band: Yum Yum
April 10th Ed Stewart. Band: The Switch
April 17th Chuck Blair. Appearances by: David Essex, Mood Indigo
April 22 The King George and the Harlem Kiddles Tour
April 24th Pete Drummond. Band: Wages of Sin
May 1st Chuck Blair. Band: Pussyfoot
May 8th Ed Stewart
May 15th Tony Blackburn. Band: The Style
May 22 Mike Lennox. Bands: Episode Six, The Quadrant
June 5th Tony Blackburn. Band: Late Hours
June 12th Pete Drummond. Band: The Switch
June 19th John Edward. Band: The Step
June 26th Ed Stewart. Band: Craig King and the Midnight Train
July 3rd Pete Drummond. Band: The Mooch
July 10 John Peel
July 17th Keith Skues Band: The Mooch. (Admission 4/6d)
July 23rd Tony Brandon. Band: First Movement
31st July Band: The Unsolved
7th August Band: The Go Five

Reminder of the good old pirate days
Down Under corespondent John Preston writes:
"Lyn and I were in the car listening to 4KQ on DAB+ and the announcer played a song by none other than Keith Hampshire – The First Cut is the Deepest. I remarked to Lyn that he used to be a DJ on Radio Caroline. Got home and did the Google as you do, and sure enough one and the same! The guy on air said it was his only hit in Oz. I found a link to the chart for the entry date, at #39, 21/07/73. 'First Cut' subsequently, climbed to #27.
Funny how things keep reminding me of the good old pirate days :)"

(left) Keefers poses with fellow Canadian Cousin Moosie

'First Cut' was a massive hit in Keefers' adopted country, Canada, where he's a big star. However, if you want to embarrass him, just mention his least-successful recording. The awful 'Millions of Hearts', credited to Keefers' Kids, was released in the UK in 1967. It was played as a new release on Oldies Project's 'This Week in 1967', just before Christmas.

Keefers says: "I can't believe they ever released 'Millions Of Hearts' because there were never any contracts signed and I had left England long before it ever came out. My uncle in Epsom sent me a copy and I almost died of shame!"

We can well understand how he feels about that dreadful record, which seems to have escaped, rather than have been released and by all accounts would be best locked up again for ever!

Keefers on Radio Four
BBC Radio 4's 'Soul Music' is a series about individual songs and pieces of music and the artists who have recorded them. The edition about Cat Stevens' 'First Cut is the Deepest' features an interview with Keith Hampshire, whose version of the song was the first to reach Number 1, topping the RPM 100 Canadian national singles chart in May 1973. Keefer's recording also charted in the USA.

This edition of 'Soul Music' was broadcast in April/May of 2015, but is still available on iPlayer.

Frank assures fans he'll be fine
Hans Knot kindly forwarded a photo from Graham Webb, taken on New Year's Day at Hornsby Hospital. Sydney, where Frank Ifield had been rushed for treatment suffering from a respiratory infection. Webby and Frank have been pals since 1957, so Webby was delighted to report that Frank was kept in hospital for only a couple of days. He's responded well to treatment and he wants all his fans to know that he'll be fine.

Frank has been in showbusiness for 50 years, while Graham has worked in the broadcasting industry for 62!

The photo caused Hans to recall another of Frank's friends. "When hearing the name 'Frank Ifield' memories are coming to me from Radio London days and the Tony Windsor show opening with "Helloooo" and 'Waltzing Mathilda' sung by Frank."

Photo © Adam Quinn: Adam Quinn, Frank Ifield and Graham Webb.

Pictured left with Frank during a UK visit in 2004, is the late Pauline Halford, who co-wrote his autobiography, 'I Remember Me'. Radio London site visitors may recall Pauline's guest appearance to talk about the book on Keith Skues's show during the Big L 2001 broadcast from Clacton pier.

Vol 2 of Frank's autobiography, which I (Mary) was greatly looking forward to, as it contained new information concerning the origins of UK offshore radio, will never come out. Pauline, who had put a great deal of work into the venture, very sadly died in 2009, without completing it.

Frank's own website is here.

Photo taken at the Brewer's Tap in Abingdon, by Mary Payne

Former PIrate's advice to Maggie
Declassified documents have revealed that MP Sir Roger Gale offered Margaret Thatcher advice regarding the introduction of TV cameras to the House of Commons, although he did not personally approve of the scheme.

Request for Seapoodle recordings
Phillip Richards sent a request in 2013 for recordings of Terry Nicholls, aka Tom Collins, aka Seapoodle and has now asked me to repeat it. Phillip says:

I went to school with Terry here in Cornwall. We lost contact in the late 60s when he moved away and it wasn't until approximately 11 years ago that he 'phoned me when he had moved back to Cornwall and lived in Redruth.  Unfortunately I was unwell at the time and we didn't meet; sadly he died before we got back in contact. Since then I have been trying to locate any recordings that Terry made whilst on-air, without success. Might you have any recordings, or know where I can listen to them?

Did you know that Terry was the instigator of Radio Concorde - "The fastest thing in the air"? I have a copy of a pamphlet that Terry produced at the time and as I worked in a record shop I supplied a Top 40 listing that he used in the one-and-only transmission that the station made from the top of Carn Brea, near Redruth, Cornwall.

I think that I'm correct in saying that Terry used the name Seapoodle because his parents owned a poodle when they lived in Helston, Cornwall.

Mary: As far as I recall, Terry got the idea from Charlie Seawolf, but he decided to pick what he regarded as a more downmarket version of Seawolf. If anyone can help, we will pass on messages.

New Year Greetings
As 2017, the 50th Anniversary Year, dawns, we send New Year greetings from
(l to r) Jon Myer of the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame,
The Wombats – Ian and Janice Damon, Mary and Moosie, Fab Alan Field,
John Sales, Roving Kneeporter Keith Milborrow
and not forgetting Chris, who took the photo.
They gathered on Dec 23rd to commemorate Big Lil's 52nd birthday.

Grammy-nominated Beatles Film out on DVD

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years is out on Blu-Ray, DVD, 2-disc special edition and digital download.
The special edition features 100 mins of extras, including unseen interviews with Paul and Ringo, five rarely seen full-length
Beatles concerts and a 64-page booklet with rare photos.

'When Kenny Met the Fab Four' disappoints
As one of the greatest admirers of Kenny Everett's talents, Paul Gambaccini was an ideal presenter for Radio 2's 'When Kenny Met the Fab Four', a documentary telling the story of Ev's friendship with the Beatles. This began when he travelled with the Fabs on their 1966 US USA tour, sending daily reports back to Radio London. Much as the Beeb hates mentioning Big L, the station had no less than TWO plugs in the Radio Times! The programme features fellow-traveller Ron O'Quinn (labelled 'US disc jockey', although at the time he was 'Radio England Disc Jockey') and poignantly, contributions from the late Dave Cash.

Generally, the documentary was not well-received. Two listener comments:

"I thought a Radio London Kenny and Cash clip should have been included (and perhaps even a short clip of Caroline North to show his initial spur of enthusiasm for radio). I thought one of the best, poignant bits was Nicky Campbell's story at the end. An enjoyable doc, but not a great one."

"Too many James Hogg speculative comments, but I thought Nicky Horne's story was rather good and well told. About 6 out of 10 from me."

(Left) Gambo at the front door of Kenny Everett's last home, 91 Lexham Gardens, Kensington in September 2013, when Cleo Rocos unveiled a blue plaque on behalf of The British Comedy Society. Photo: Mary Payne

We Three Big L Kings
The Wombat, Ian Damon kindly sent "A picture of Mitch and I visiting Duncan at Brinsworth House in December. Lots of great Big L and Capital Radio natters and great memories were had by all."

Caroline AM Licence Application receives good publicity
Radio Caroline has applied for a full-time medium wave licence to serve Suffolk. The former pirate is currently broadcasting online and via a number of outlets including DAB and Manx Radio's AM transmitters, but this would be the first time Caroline would own and operate its own full-time community radio AM service, legally in the UK.

Although there is no timetable for Ofcom's decision, Peter Moore hopes that a positive response will be received in time to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the MOA

The application has received much publicity - including from the Beeb - although it does not appear to be generally appreciated by the media that the two original Caroline stations soldiered on beyond the MOA, till March 1968.

Radiotoday; Mirror.co.uk; EADT

Hans and Paul visit new museum
Hans Knot writes: I visited the new Radio 192 museum in Nijkerk together with good friend Paul de Haan. It's wonderful to visit and I made more than 80 photos.

We also heard from Hans that Graeme Gill has not been well recently and send our best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

DJ influenced by Ron inducted into Georgia Hall of Fame
Radio veteran Ben Sandifer, who was mentored in his first job by Radio England's Ron O'Quinn, has been inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

Starman in the Square
A 40-day Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to erect a statue of Fab Forty artist David Bowie in Aylesbury's Market Square, has raised well over its £100,000 target.

The Radio London Eatwell Guide
We were contacted by Geoff Margetts in Frankfurt, who has been seeking a Radlon publication from 1966.

"Whilst slogging my way through the internet jungle I came upon your Radio London website, which brought back many happy memories. I can (still!) remember the feeling of excitement that appeared to pour out of our transistor radios back then, as we listened to what seemed a new radio world.
For me, this emotion was admirably captured in the opening sequence of 'The Boat That Rocked' - tuning the radio in the hope of finding something that wasn't the epitome of dreariness, and suddenly getting blasted by 'All Day and all of the Night'! Glorious! Something that, in my opinion, has never been equalled for excitement.
I have a question about a Radio London publication, the searching for which periodically drives me crackers.
In 1966, Radio London (or Radlon) produced a paperback restaurant guide, entitled 'The Radio London Guide To Eating Out', and in it were listed the fashionable bistros and restaurants in London at that time. Both cover and inside illustrations were black and white, and, each restaurant had a drawing as a heading, then the restaurant name, followed by a revue. Reading the guide had the same effect on me as listening to "Big L" - excitement!
I was 20 (born 1946), and this book enabled me to impress the socks off various young ladies, showing them that I was a debonair man-about-town, who knew his way around! I visited 'Buzzy's Bistro' (#11, Kings Road); 'Chompers' (Kensington); 'Bistro M' (Bayswater) – the list went on and on!
I've often tried to find a copy of this book but no-one else except me seems to have heard of it. Have you ever come across it?
Keep up the work on your wonderful website, and yes, I have book-marked it!

 'Wonderful, Radio London!  Whoopeeeeee!' "

Radlon Sales Manager Geoff Pearson
I do remember this 'Guide to Eating Out'. It was a black and white publication, with some pen & ink illustrations, mostly about London. I cannot remember how many were printed or sold. As far as I can remember, Mike Stone was involved in this and other Radlon projects.

There were other weird and wonderful ideas, although how many ever saw the light of day, I cannot say. You will remember the metal car-badge as one of these. I think I had the only Mini that ever sported one! There was one promotion where some company tried to get the station to buy pure nylon shirts. I remember that I had two of them and they were great drip-dry shirts. I don't think we ever promoted them on air, as I think the company stopped making them soon afterwards.

We did produce some car stickers, some of which promoted the Radio London Racing Team, but it was mostly just Big L stuff.

Geoff Margetts
Geoff has nailed the description - the book was black and white, including the cover. The pen-and-ink drawing at the top of each restaurant description was of a couple sitting opposite each other but each holding one of those "theatre-mask-on-a-stick" and looking somewhere else.

At least I now know that I'm not delusional. Well, not much.

Fab Forty compiler Fab Alan Field
Fab didn't recall anything about the guide, but has been doing some sleuthing.
"I have found a reference in Brian Long's The London Sound, which reads: '1st August 1966 - Advertisements are heard for the "Radio London Eatwell Guide'. 'The Eatwell Guide' is also mentioned as an advertiser on Radio London in Chris Elliot's 'The Wonderful Radio London Story'. Maybe 'The Radio London Guide to Eating Out" was a subtitle?

The ever-diligent Fab eventually came unearthed a Kenny Everett promo for the book in an aircheck dated 1/8/66.

Mark Roman
Mark didn't recall the promo or the guide, but responded
"I have to say that the ad was not one of Kenny's best or indeed the longest. But well done to Alan and twenty million 'A' pluses for coming up with it.

Geoff Margetts
Absolutely amazing! Definitely one of the promos that made me buy the book.
7 shillings and 6 pence  - definitely the best 7/6d that I ever invested!
Mary, very many thanks to you and the guys for all your efforts in tracking my memory down. Whenever I'm in the UK I always look in secondhand bookshops and charity shops in the hope of finding a copy but, 50 years later, the odds don't look good. However, should a miracle happen, then I promise you that you will definitely be the first to know!

Terry Davis Update
It's some years since we heard from him, but Terry Davis, an old seadog and friend of the RL website, has very kindly come up with a couple of terrific adverts for the Eatwell Guide.

Terry says:
"I frequently refer to your pages and still listen to Radio London all the time - with all this modern technology now I have my own version of Big L which plays at the flick of a switch. Because of that I can help you out with chapter and verse on the Eatwell Guide. The first ad has the launch date and is surprising detailed and the other was the regularly-scheduled longer ad. There's at least one other variation with Paul Kaye as a disgruntled customer at a restaurant, but I'll stop at two ads.

Keep the flag flying. I can't believe that I haven't been a pirate for 42 years and that Big L ended 50 years ago next year. I'm still a fan! As my wife tells it, "He spends a lot of his time living in the past!" If anybody wants me I'll be in 1966! All the best, Terry Davis

The two commercials reveal that the 96-page Eatwell Guide (price 7/6) was published on April 1st 1966 by the Eatwell Organisation in conjunction with Radio London and Heathside Music Ltd. Edited by Julian Aston and illustrated by Niky, it could be purchased from bookshops, or direct from Heathside Music Ltd at 120 Marylebone Lane, W1.

Terry tells us the cartoonist Niky's work used to appear in the New Statesman in the early Sixties.
"I believe the Eatwell Guide illustrator was him, but I have no evidence. There was a writer and editor called JOHN ASTON who subsequently became BBC producer of schools programs in the Sixties. Again I have no proof that is the guide's editor, but it's possible it's the right person."

The British Cartoon Archive has a listing for Niky, which unfortunately does not reveal his (or her?) real name and there is no photograph. The entry reads:

"'Niky' was a cartoonist best known for a wordless series - usually three unframed panels - which appeared at the bottom of the last page of the New Statesman from 1960 to 1962, succeeding a similar strip by "GASK". By the end of the run 'Niky' was also providing cartoons for Queen magazine, and alternating at the New Statesman with Donald Parker, who took over altogether on 13 April 1962."

No information has been found regarding Niky's identity or subsequent career, nor any examples of the cartoonist's work.

Hans Knot update (12/16)
Hans has identified the music used to back the commercial as 'Besame Mucho' by The Dutch Swing College Band.

Webmaster's note: Fifty years after Big L offered its eating-out guide, HM Government issued an Eatwell Guide, in March 2016! The current guide concerns healthy eating, but how ironic that the title should be the same!

Radio 390 back in the dock after 49 years!
Fab Alan Field says:
"You might be interested to know that the case that ultimately brought down Radio 390 was cited in the High Court yesterday in the legal challenge to Brexit!
Briefly, it's one of many cases said to support the Government's proposition that legal rights and even criminal liability under existing statute law can be varied by Royal Prerogative (in practice read "Prime Minister") without an Act of Parliament.
Apparently, Radio 390 was only brought within the territorial scope the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act by a purely administrative measure taken later (an Order in Council adopting changes to an international Treaty) redrawing the then 3 mile limit.
Stand by for fresh appeals from the 390 DJs if the Government loses the point!

Onboard the Ross Revenge
John Sales (below, right, in the studio) recently took a trip out from West Mersea in Essex to visit the last Radio Caroline ship.

"I had wanted to visit the Ross once again for a long time and since they have now obtained suitable Comprehensive Insurance, they have started running trips which allow people to go on board. We went out with Albert Hood and Bill Rollins, plus the skipper of Razorbill 3, Stuart Belbin. Both Albert and Georgina Hood have dedicated their lives to helping Radio Caroline on both the Mi Amigo and Ross Revenge; they are amazing! 
This was the first time I'd been on board the Ross since their Tilbury RSL in 2004; there was no public access when the ship was moved into the Tilbury Docks shortly afterwards, due to security issues. The trip was great; thoroughly enjoyable and recommended! 
More details can be found here."

All photos courtesy of John

You Say You Want a Revolution? Not among the Big L bingo players!
The V&A's You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 features 200 records from John Peel's personal collection, many of them from Fab Forty artists, and illustrates why the output of 1966-70 will music will never be surpassed.

Jon Myer and his partner Ursula thought the exhibition was fantastic, the music accompanied by fashion, politics, protest – all from the late sixties. Jon says:

"There is so much to look at that it isn't possible to take it all in. There are headphones to wear and, as you wander round the exhibition, a relevant soundtrack is provided. Offshore radio gets a (very small) mention. There is a "ding ding" with a short bit of Caroline audio plus a Radio London jingle and a clip of Paul Kaye being a bit hesitant on air in the early days of Big L. Later in the exhibition there is some of John Peel's fan mail. There are loads of album sleeves – some on display but others in the sort of browsing box you used to get in record shops. While looking through the sleeves, I spotted a copy of the Radio London Top Rank bingo album. A strange concept - it isn't really in keeping with Big L and, judging by the photos of the bingo fans featured on the sleeve, I can't see there would have been too much of a crossover between Top Rank regulars and Radio London listeners!"

Webmaster's note: Thanks to Jon and Ursula for the report. How weird that the V & A should have unearthed this Bingle oddity (scroll down the page) and included it in the exhibition!

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 runs till Sunday, February 26th 2017.

Pop-Pickers & Music Vendors
Both the Radio London webmasters and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame webmaster contributed to a new book by John van der Kiste about 'Pop Pickers and Music Vendors: David Jacobs, Alan Freeman, John Peel, Tommy Vance and Roger Scott'
"David Jacobs, Alan Freeman, John Peel, Tommy Vance and Roger Scott were in their different ways five of the greatest pioneering British disc jockeys of the last sixty years. All were accomplished media personalities in their own right, and all were passionate and well-informed about the music they presented on radio and sometimes television. Jacobs, a much-respected broadcaster for over sixty years, was the face of 'Juke Box Jury' and the maestro of easy listening and songs from the shows; 'Fluff' Freeman the pop-picker, who introduced the Top 20 rundown, later championing heavy and progressive rock, followed by opera and the classics; Peel revelled in the alternative music scene generally shunned by most daytime presenters; Vance, 'the Music Vendor' the friend and lover of hard rock and New Wave of British Heavy Metal; and Scott an eclectic mix of genres in a career which sadly proved all too short. This book examines the lives and careers of each."

Otway in Montserrat feeling Ot Ot Ot!
John Otway has posted some video clips from his recording session in Montserrat on his Facebook Page.

(Right) The band setting up in the studio as taken by their drummer Adam Batterbee

The Autumn Gig List and info about the Southend Convention is on his website.

Jimmy Webb: the Glen Campbell Years
The Stables, Milton Keynes, 21st September 2016

The whole evening was a tribute to Glen Campbell, who now is very sadly in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. Jimmy visits Glen regularly and reported that he is no longer able to sing or play his guitar. A terribly poignant ending to an illustrious musical career.

Seated at his piano, Jimmy illustrated the progression of his songwriting career and his 50-year relationship with Glen, using a montage of photos and video clips. Several times, he duetted with Glen, using footage that he'd shot during one of Glen's last performances in 2012.

An amusing highlight was the story of 50,000-watt Oklahoma radio station KOMA, whose Powers-That-Be suddenly decided that 'Up, Up and Away' was about drugs and stopped playing it. As Jimmy said, while most of the other records in the Hot Hundred at the time did concern getting high without the aid of transport, balloon or otherwise, ''Up, Up and Away' strictly concerned canopies filled with hot air. Jimmy's father, a Baptist preacher of renown, went down to the station "with his Bible and his '45" and whatever he said to the PD, the record was reinstated to the station playlist faster than you can say '5th Dimension'. This is not a story that can be found in the station history!

A number of references in the show rang Radio London bells with me, because Big L pioneered records by artists such as Johnny Rivers and the Association, major US artists who were not well-known here.

Right: Jimmy is thrilled to have his photo taken with Mary and Cousin Moosie, Superstar

Glen Campbell, as a member of the renowned Wrecking Crew session musicians, played on the Association's 'Along Comes Mary' – a song that I adopted as my signature tune and I had long been disappointed to discover did reference drugs. The record was #7 in the Hot Hundred, #7 on the Fab Forty and #27 on the Caroline Countdown, but it saw no chart action in the UK Nationals.

Jimmy could not fail to speak of his 'association' with Johnny Rivers and in particular, he mentioned Johnny's huge US hit, 'Poor Side of Town'. The song is of course well-remembered as a Big L turntable hit. Although picked as Tony Blackburn's climber and on the station playlist for several weeks, it never charted.

Afterwards, I asked Jimmy if he still performed 'Love Years Coming', his first recording under the name of Strawberry Children, produced by Johnny Rivers. He said no, but thanked me for remembering the song. Radio London fans will, of course, always remember it, as the #7 in the final Fab Forty and I told Jimmy it was a favourite of mine. I would be surprised if anyone in the audience apart from Chris, Moosie and I had ever heard of it.

Mary Payne

Harwich's Maritime Heritage
Roving Kneeporter Keith Milborrow:
"I have just returned from a long weekend in Harwich for purposes unconnected with Watery Wireless, but could not escape the town's past connections with marine broadcasting. Although there were no broadcasts emanating from the lightship, there were plenty of other things to interest me in and around the town.

It was Heritage Open Day at many sites in the Harwich area and when I visited the Lifeboat Museum I encountered someone who had been part of the Lifeboat crew involved in rescues from the Mebo 2 in 1970 and the Mi Amigo in 1979.

I decided to walk down to Dovercourt to see what could be seen of Sealand/Roughs Tower from the shore. From this location it was clearly visible as a "blob" on the horizon although I obtained a much better view on visiting Felixstowe, across the river estuary in Suffolk. From here, near the Pier, the two stumps and platform on top were quite discernible.

Whilst still in Felixstowe I called in at the Landguard Fort tearoom where there was a small display entitled "When Caroline Came to Felixstowe" which included many photographs of Radio Caroline and also, surprisingly, Radio London!

On arriving back in Essex, I went on board the LV18 and was introduced to someone who had manned the light on Roughs Tower before it was abandoned by the Navy and Roy Bates took possession."

Russ and Gary's 'The Best Years of Music'
Russ Strathdee (left of photo) and Gary Copeland are friends in Ontario who work hard to produce a music blog.

Gary says: "My Blog partner Russ and I spend literally thousands of hours creating the Blog. (We know the feeling - Mary and Chris) People have asked me, WHY? Well in Russell's case, it just keeps him off the street, and for me it's who I am. Really, we both do this because we are NOT in love with the music of today and we do not want people to forget about the incredible era that we grew up in."

This is their page about the much-recorded song, 'Louie Louie'.

Beatles Film Premiere
New Beatles film Eight Days a Week - the touring years premiered at cinemas across the UK on September 15th, prefaced by live coverage of VIP arrivals at the Leicester Square Odeon.

Webmasters Mary and Chris watched the premiere in Aylesbury:

I'm sure that Chris and I aren't the only people who felt the main premiere should have been held in Liverpool, rather than London and Paul and Ringo should have insisted upon it.

We watched the film at theAylesbury Odeon and would have liked to have had the opportunity to have seen the special clip referenced in the Liverpool Echo, that included some of the people we'd met there like Beryl Marsden (right). Why Eddie Izzard featured in the main film and they didn't, is a complete mystery. It seems nobody can make a documentary without wheeling in a 'celebrity' to offer their opinion. Luckily, it wasn't done a lot in the film, but why do it at all? No matter how valid someone elses's opinon of what happened, the people who were actually there are the ones who are interesting. I don't know where those 'Liverpool locals' interviews for the 'special clip' were conducted, but I was absolutely amazed when Ron Howard said he had never been to the city! I would have expected him to have made a point of paying a visit before he embarked on the film, to immerse himself in the Beatle culture and visit the National Trust childhood homes of Lennon (bottom right) and McCartney. Something that he would have appreciated from doing so would be to see that Beatlemania definitely continues to exist. Visitors to Aunt Mimi's house are known to be overcome with emotion and some even faint on entering John's former bedroom.

Chris and I enjoyed the film and the restored footage of the concert in Shea Stadium that was shown at the end was fantastic. The footage illustrates clearly the evolution of the band from their early days as enthusiastic youngsters experiencing dizzy stardom. As encapsulated by the 'Eight Days a Week' title, it depicts how gruelling touring schedules and lack of privacy left them exhausted and cynical musicians who longed to come off the road, revert to being individuals and explore new music.

Sadly there was not a terrific amount about the 1966 US Tour, so there were none of the glimpses we had hoped for of Kenny Everett, Ron O'Quinn and Jerry Leighton, who had been given the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany the Beatles on tour as representatives of their respective offshore stations.

John and Lyn Preston in Brisbane wrote:
We both thought the film was fantastic :)  Lyn's has never been a Beatles fan, Monkees was more her time and scene! But she really enjoyed it, and rather like the pirate radio movie, she now more understands my Beatle thing! It was a bit USA centric but then that's where the last concert was.
We really enjoyed the Shea Stadium concert after. It reminded you what Beatlemania really was like, and it was amazing. When you combine it with pirate radio, we really were very lucky to have been around then.

Watch trailer.

Pirate Radio: An Illustrated History
BBC Radio Tees, Wednesday, August 24th, during his afternoon show, John Foster interviewed Keith Skues, who talked about life on board Caroline and London and 'Pirate Radio an Illustrated History', his book showcasing Dave Kindred's photos, published in 2014. (Thanks to Alan Field)

John Foster - interview from 1400 onwards.

Official press release by Amberley publishers:

Written by former Radio Caroline DJ and current BBC Radio host, Keith Skues, and with photographs by David Kindred, Pirate Radio: An Illustrated History is a unique and beautifully appointed account of the age when the pirates ruled the airwaves. Through more than 100 crisp, black-and-white photographs, the book brings to life the 'golden years' of pirate radio. Featuring pictures of the crew – including famous DJ Tony Blackburn and founder Ronan O'Rahilly – the boats and the fans, this book takes the reader on a journey from the formative years of Radio Caroline, through its political persecution and beyond.

Roman Emperor 'reduced to tears'
On August 16th 2016, Mark Roman wrote to us and said:

48 years ago today I was setting foot on Australian soil, and a new chapter of my radio career was beginning, so I thought it a good idea to recall where it all began. You and Chris have achieved something so astonishing that poking around the site brought a tear to the eye and some great memories. Thanks guys.

Cartoon Emperor by Antony Standfield, (Slightly modified by Mary Payne)

August 14th 1967
This iconic photo, originally published in the Daily Express, shows the Radio London DJs coming ashore from the mv Galaxy on the tender Ocean Cock, after the station closedown at 1500, August 14th 1967.

Photo by Terry Disney/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. (Uncredited corrected caption by Radio London Ltd)

This picture still appears occasionally in various media, mis-captioned as 'Radio Caroline DJs', although Mary supplied Getty Images with the correct caption and description for it back in 2009.

It may have happened 49 years ago, but for those who were involved, whether as Big L personnel or emotionally, as listeners, it remains a vivid memory. However, after running the Radio London site for over 17 years, we have yet to encounter the ladies who are seen helping the jocks ashore, or even many of the 1000 people who were at Liverpool Street station to greet the returning heroes. We do, of course have great memories of the day shared by David Skeates and the late Geoff Killick, but there must be so many others who have stories to share. You can tell us your memories by clicking here –>Rest assured your email address won't be passed on anywhere else.

During his Caroline Flashback show 1000 to noon on Sunday August 14th, Ron Brown interviewed someone who always has stories to share – The Wombat, Ian Damon. Ron has kindly given permission for us to upload a recording of the interview for our site visitors.

Kind words from two listeners: "3pm on August 14th has always been a time and date I remember with both sadness at the closure of Big L, and the best memories of amazing radio broadcasting, albeit for such a brief time, and indeed, 'We've never heard the like of it again'. Thankfully, the dedication of both Mary and Chris has kept these memories alive for longer than anyone could have expected, so I also remember them both on this day." Best wishes, Francis Pullen, Cambridge

Regarding the Final Fab Forty, Michael Richardson writes: "Please pass on my regards to the producers of the show. Not a dry eye since it started!"

Caroline Munro – still swashbuckling!
Caroline Munro has a number of nautical connections, and not merely because of her Christian name. Caroline was renowned as the beautiful woman in 'Lamb's Navy Rum' adverts. In 1973, she portrayed the slave girl, Margiana, in the Ray Harryhausen film, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Now, appropriately, she is involved in a radio production of 'Sinbad and the Pirate Princess'.

The actress and model's recording career included 'Tar and Cement'. Verdelle Smith's version had been a #1 smash in Australia, a US chart entry and in August '66, a minor success in both the Fab Forty and Caroline Countdown. Although Caroline recorded the song with the assistance of Fab Forty artists Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Steve Howe with 'Teenage Opera"'s Mark Wirtz producing, it was not a hit when released in May '67. She did have a beautiful song written about her, though. 'Caroline Goodbye' was penned by Colin Blunstone as a sad farewell when their relationship ended.

Caroline was a visitor to the Big L '97 broadcast, during the summer of 1997.

Sinbad and the Pirate Princess clip

Kenny's local radio work
Reel-to-reel tapes of programmes recorded by Kenny Everett in the Seventies for Portsmouth commercial station Radio Victory, have been sold at auction for £720.

These tapes do sound remarkably like a collection that were offered to Radio London back in 2002, which included:

1x10" NAB@ 7.5 ips Kenny Dec 1975
1x10" NAB@ 7.5 ips Kenny Xmas 1975
1x10" NAB @7.5ips Kenny
2x10" NAB @7.5ips Kenny parts one and two, two hour

These and maybe other recordings were offered to us, but sadly, when we arranged to meet the person who had contacted us, he gave us a bizarre run around, so we never obtained them even though he initially seemed keen for us to have them.

Meanwhile, the BBC has made a two-hour documentary, Kenny On The Solent, which is billed as 'A celebration of comedy legend Kenny Everett who once worked at BBC Radio Solent. Including exclusive rediscovered material.' Chortle has information on when the documentary will be broadcast, Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, as well as more background information and Radio Solent has confirmed the time as noon till 1400. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)

Features Roundup
A feature on Chas Chandler, former Animals bassist and manager of Jimi Hendrix.

Has streaming broken the UK singles charts?

'A turning point for radio in New Zealand' – Radio Hauraki builds up to 50th birthday

Caroline's floating legacy

Billy Walker's Uppercut Club
Chris Morris writes:

I have lived in Forest Gate for thirty years and have been working on a social history project with three local friends about the Uppercut Club for the past year. We realise that time is now of the essence as many of the people involved with the Uppercut have gone or won't be around much longer, so valuable memories of an amazing time in local history will disappear. We have unearthed a lot of excellent information and have been interviewing many local people who went regularly to the Uppercut and The Lotus Club opposite (run by Kenny Johnson). We have also carried out extensive archive research mainly from the local papers and music press of the time.

Radio London has been assisting Chris in contacting people who may have worked or performed at the Uppercut. Resident DJ Roger Day and manager Gordon Sheppard have already responded and John Edward recalls introducing Stevie Wonder at the club, while wearing a hired, blue suit! If any of our site visitors is able to contribute personal memories, please contact Mary, who will pass on all mail to Chris. It would be particularly good to hear from those who participated in the 'Big L Discoveries of Tomorrow' talent contest, run on Sunday evenings from January '67.

Two Uppercut advertisements have been added to the Fab Forties for 150167 and 050367

LV18 back on TV
Britain's Lost Waterlands: escape to Swallows and Amazons country. BBC 4, Thursdays. The episode that aired on July 5th (available on BBC iPlayer) features a tour of the LV18, around 52 minutes in.

'Legal Pop' and the Common Market
A clipping from 'Time and Tide' magazine for 6th to 12th July 1967 concerns the subject of the 'legal pop' the country was to receive in September, in the form of Radio One. It discusses the fight for free radio and possible consequences of the UK gaining entry to the Common Market.

We have no idea what the lady on the right is doing, but we very much doubt if she is jumping for joy at the prospect of hearing 'palm court doiley' music and 'live mini-bands' on 247 mediumwave.

(Thanks to Hans Knot for the clipping)

Fifty Shades of Day
On May 3rd, 1966, twin stations Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio launched from the ship Olga Patricia, rechristened Laissez-Faire. This means that their two raw recruits in 1966, Roger Twiggy Day and Johnnie Walker, are celebrating 50 years in radio.

Roger arranged a big event to mark his half-century milestone – 'Fifty Shades of Day', on Saturday 7th May. He staged it at the refurbished Dreamland, in Margate, where he began his DJ career in 1965, playing 'Hits of the Day' every Wednesday in the Rendezvous Club.

Fifty Shades of Day was an evening of music and tales of the ships that rocked, and it's no surprise that Beach Boys mega-fan Roger booked The UK Beach Boys tribute band to appear alongside him.

Chris Mould, who attended the Dreamland celebration, has very kindly allowed us to reproduce some of the photos of the special occasion, taken by himself and Steve Szmidt. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough for putting us in touch.)

There are many more photos of 'Fifty Shades of Day' at the following links



Pictures taken by John Garghan.

Video of Roger's celebration has new been posted on Youtube. Part 1; Part 2 (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)

Below, a group photo in the Dreamland ballroom

LV18 stars in 'Holiday in Harwich'
Isabella Roy (with Corinne Willson and Lucy-Jane Quinlan) sings 'Holiday In Harwich', one of 21 original songs from the original cast CD from the new musical 'Guardian Angels'. First performance at The New Wolsey Studio Theatre, Ipswich June 16th to 19th 2016. Three musical theatre actresses get 'cut' auditioning for 'The End of The Pier Show, Harwich' and, stranded in Harwich for the night, decide to write their own musical.

Proposed offshore radio museum for the Netherlands
Hans Knot writes that various interested parties in the Netherlands joined together in January with the intention of launching a museum devoted to offshore radio. The owner of 192 TV, Bert van Breda, Foundation Norderney (Ad Bouman and Juul Geleick) and Museum Rock Art (Jaap Schut) have all been working hard since then to bring their ideas to reality. The plan is to open the museum in a part of the building used by 192TV in Nijkerk.
Lex Harding is one of the driving forces behind the project. Together with Bert van Breda and the museum RockArt in Hoek van Holland, Lex is responsible for the ultimate realisation. The aim is to open the museum in Nijkerk on August 31st.

Read Han's full report on the project here

Photo (Hans Knot): Willem van Kooten and Bull Verweij (both involved in Veronica in the past) opening a 1994 exhibition

Essex Anniversary Broadcast
John Sales discovered a YouTube video (in 2 parts) of Ray Clark Broadcasting from The Marconi Exhibition in Chelmsford, the birthplace of wireless, to mark the BBC Essex 30th Anniversary.
The programme resembled a Pirate BBC Essex reunion, as it was produced by Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt and engineered by Chris Woodward, all of whom participated in BBC Essex's pirate radio recreations with Ray.
Towards the end of the video Ray interviewed local resident and former Radio Caroline engineer Carl Thomson who worked on both the North and South stations.

Let's make Aylesbury a major music venue again
David Stopps, who was the brains behind Aylesbury's famous Friars Club, has grand plans for to get the town back to being as renowned for its music scene as it was in the 1970s and 80s. Friars brought the likes of David Bowie, Genesis, The Ramones and The Clash into the limelight and Bowie debuted classic albums Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust at the club. Full story: Bucks Herald

(Right) John Otway: Aylesbury's Two-hit Microstar was a frequent performer at Friars (Photo: Mary Payne)

Cardboard Shoes and LV18 represent Harwich in 1966
'Pop, Pirates and Postmen,' presented by Steve Lamacq, is one of 11 regional BBC TV programmes on the theme of Living in 1966. In the East Anglia segment, 'Pop, Pirates and Postmen', Keith Skues is interviewed aboard the LV18 about the role played by the port of Harwich in the offshore radio revolution. John Sales says: "I loved the film they used, shot from the Viking Saga; you could clearly see the MV Galaxy behind the MV Mi Amigo." John also received an e-mail from Chris Brisland, explaining his small role in the BBC East programme:
"I actually played a small part in this, as a friend and I helped set out the mock-up studio that you see behind Keith Skues. And yes, getting that old Mixer desk in situ was a Class A nightmare!"
John points out that the two chaps shown in the documentary who set up Radio Walthamstow were using an old ex-government No 19 set for their transmitter. "Radio Kaleidoscope also used one of these – you could buy them very cheaply at the time from army surplus shops."

In 'Moving with the Times', DJ Annie Nightingale "takes a tour of what and who was getting people moving in 1966 in the south". Other episodes include, 'Suits, Boots and Northern Roots' and 'Newcastle a Gogo'.

The programmes were first broadcast on June 1st and are available via iPlayer for 28 days. They have also been posted on Youtube. (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)

Model Galaxy makes the news
David Ciesielski was kind enough to send the photo on the left, of the model of the mv Galaxy, which he proudly completed on behalf of his late father, Paul.

David says: "I finished that boat and delivered it to Paul Scripps, a Radio London fan, at Clacton-on-Sea."

Keith Skues forwarded a link to the Eastern Daily Press, which carried a 2-page feature about the model. The online version of the story is here, including a Cardboard quote comparing Radio London with Caroline.

Mike Barraclough sent a link to four photos of another model of the Galaxy by Hans Hettelder which was shown at the Belgian Radio Day on May 28th.

We felt it would be nice to compare the Ciesielski's Galaxy model with one of the ship in her previous life when she was the minesweeper USS Density, made by WWII crew member, the late Frank Gazafy.

The Pier reopens
The Pier, Harwich's landmark hotel, reopened on May 23rd. Before the extensive refurbishment of 2016, the building had changed very little since its appearance at the end of 'Dateline Diamonds' in 1966. We are pleased to report that the spoof shipping forecast can still be heard in the loos! (thanks to Jan Butler, John Sales and Keith Milborrow)

1966 and all that
1966: The Year the Decade Exploded by Jon Savage is a hardback book priced £13.60 (Kindle £10.44).

"Jon Savage's 1966 is a monument to the year that shaped the pop future of the balance of the century. After 1966 nothing in the pop world would ever be the same. The 7 inch single outsold the long-player for the final time. It was the year in which the everlasting and transient pop moment would burst forth in its most articulate, instinctive and radical way."

Guardian review


Susan releases part 2 of Calvert trilogy ebooks
Reg Calvert's daughter Susan writes: "After years of hard work, writing, researching and talking to lots of different people about their memories -  I have just published Book Two of Trilogy, 'CLIFTON HALL - SCHOOL OF ROCK 'N' ROLL' by S.K. Moore
It has been produced twice as a stage play - and now Books One and Two are out. Third - should be in 2017.

The story follows the life of Reg and Dorothy Calvert from the time they move from Southampton in 1961 with their daughters to Clifton Hall near Rugby. With them come an entourage of young musicians and singers. It did not take long for the inhabitants of Clifton-upon-Dunsmore to realise there were strange 'goings on' at the Hall. Rumour and gossip were rife. Who were these bohemian young men appearing in their village?"
(Thanks to Guy Hamilton)

'Sunny Afternoon' The Kinks Story
Alan Hardy went to see the show on January 19th 2016. "Very good, well staged and performed in a 'cozy' theatre (Harold Pinter). Even though Ray Davies is behind it, there were the inevitable 'artistic license' issues, but great fun and great musicians/cast".

The Daily Express agreed: "FAULTLESS musicianship and brilliant songs elevate this superior jukebox musical into a moving portrayal of The Kinks' success and the strained relationship at its core."

Older stories here; obituary page here