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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 section.
The News starts here.
Cousin Moosie's Moosetastic Store
Cousin Moosie's Cafepress Store is where you can buy teeshirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and a variety of merchandise featuring the Big L 50th Anniversary logo.
We still have teeshirts and mugs bearing the Offshore 50 logo (above) and our original Radio London embroidered teeshirts and sweatshirts are still available.
Many happy returns to all.
From our satisfied customers
Ed Ryba in Los Angeles wrote: "On Wednesday, 30 August, 2017, my Offshore 50 shirt arrived! The silkscreen looks GREAT and WOW – it's just beautiful! The red lettering just POPS out at you!! The design looks even better than it did online. Altogether, a beautiful job! It's one of the best silkscreened shirts I've seen in some time."
We can't resist adding a recently-rediscovered teeshirt commercial by Kenny Everett, although we have to point out that our shirts are not available from 17 Curzon Street, they do not cost 12/6d and regrettably, we can't accept payment by Postal Order! (Thanks to Alan Field)
Nick's Visit to Chuck Blair(02/18)
As you rightly recall on your website, Chuck Blair did indeed give his address out on his last Breakfast Show and as a resident of Harpenden I decided with two other friends to see if we could visit him. We sent him a letter and he left a message via phone with my mother that we could visit. His flat was easy to find as he had a Big L 266 sticker on the front door! He was very charming and I think was with a couple of friends, one we presumed was his girlfriend. We really didn't have a lot to say other than we were very sorry that the station had closed and that we had enjoyed listening to his programmes. He was, I learned later, quite involved with one of the local youth clubs. Indeed his 'CV" confirms this. Apart from getting his signature that was the last we saw of him.
I have always been impressed that he went to the bother of replying to my letter and inviting us to his home. Although clearly a complex individual as your website describes my memories of our few minutes with him were very positive.
Thanks again for the happy memories that I am always reminded of when visiting your website. I have 'We Love the Pirates - Charting the Big L Fab 40' Sanctuary CD from 2005 which includes jingles and 47 Fab 40 Hits – a further happy reminder of my early teenage years."
'We Love the Pirates - Charting the Big L Fab 40' CD is still available.
Fab Forty Tracks include:
Braving the surf Dunkerque in November over fifteen years ago and perhaps slightly warmer seas in Barcelona – although most of the specatators seem to have coats on!
Only the swimwear changes – Otway's latest exploits(02/18)
On the subject of anniversaries an interesting one is coming up soon, the first two gigs on the list are titled "Poor Deadly he's 43" – roadies have two birthdays so they can suffer longer."
Otway (current gig list here) is appearing at the Friars Aylesbury Bowie Benefit Gig – see story 'Bowie Statue Benefit' lower down the page.
Raoul delighted by unexpected find of 1967 photo
Jon added a 242 photo taken aboard the Comet, that featured Raoul Verolleman during his visit to the ship in 1967.
"You can imagine how thrilled I am to see myself there on the bridge of the Comet with Tony Allan and Jimmy, fifty-and-a-half years after the picture was taken," says Raoul. "I didn't even remember it being taken, so I'm out of words for telling everyone how deeply moved I am!"
Bowie Statue Benefit(02/18)
Otway is playing a benefit concert in March (alongside many other artists) at Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre, for funding the town's new Bowie statue, which is being unveiled that afternoon. The Friars Aylesbury Newsletter says:
"The statue unveiling is a free event which will take place at 2pm on Sunday 25 March in Aylesbury's Market Square. From 12noon there will be a stage with live music and also a screen showing Bowie videos.
Hans in his Radio England teeshirt, supplied by Rick Randall (see SRE reunion photo pages) and minus his beard
The February edition includes the intricate tale of the jamming of RNI and former RNI jock Keith Rogers quits Phoenix FM.
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."
Hans looks great in his Radio London teeshirt. For a larger picture, see our photo gallery
Thanks and very well done to Hans, Martin and Henk, who solved the mystery.
Life and Death of a Pirate(02/18)
"Intertwined in the extraordinary tapestry of their lives are the stories of musicians, the Beatles, Pinkerton's Assorted Colours, the Fortunes, disc jockeys and radio engineers they employed etc.
This edition contains Book 2: Clifton Hall - School of Rock 'n' Roll and Book 3: Shivering Sands - 1960s Pirate Radio."
A more humorous look at the subject of pirate radio comes in the form of Shug Hanlan's Ship-reX,
In the mid-Sixties, Radio Reefer broadcasts its swinging sounds from the good ship North Star Grassman to the Scots fishing community of Chungymouth. Rivalry and musical differences arise amongst the DJs, who include a 'Peel-like late night DJ, Seaslater Syd'. When a typical offshore disaster causes the ship to wash up ashore, the occupants receive a 'warm welcome' from the village's quartet of local miscreants.
No resemblance to any non-fictional pirates, then!
Couple win a baby on radio show(02/18)
The latest edition of The Radio Wave from Ian MacRae includes: Couple win a baby on radio show • Mexico to premiere nation's first all-female radio station • Canada decides the F-word is OK for radio listeners' ears • Radio star volunteers to take pay cut
To subscribe to the newsletter, email Ian and type the word "Subscribe" in the subject line.
Off the Wall?
Trevor Randall writes:
"This question may be "off the wall", but there was a Radio London commercial something like the Weetabix adverts, that involved a competition. The question I remember was, "If it takes a week to walk a fortnight how many apples to fill a mail bag"! It sounds even more silly now I have written it down, but if you have time please ask around."
So far, we have drawn a blank. Fab Alan Field doesn't remember ever hearing this unusual competition clue, but says:
"Weetabix commercials were fairly straightforward affairs, but they did do a couple of competitions on Radio London.
One was brain-box stuff in December '66 - how many words can you come up with ending in the letter 'x'. That was won by a Cambridge graduate with a tally of over 2000! (It must have been won by a THREE-Weetabix person – Webmaster) I don't think the clue above would have helped, though.
And Weetabix co-sponsored the Swinging Sound of Silver in '67, where listeners had to guess the value of coins dropped into a jar. They might have given nonsense clues for that, but I don't remember any.
As daft as the question in the advert sounds, it seems to be a common riddle that goes back years. See three examples found on the net 1; 2; 3
John Sales didn't hear the strange competition either, but said, "However, I do recall the 'Words ending in X' competition on Radio London, mainly because I can still remember our English teacher at school talking about it in class one day!"
Any ideas, anyone? Please get in touch! We'd also like to know what prize was on offer!
Fifty years on: Remembering Otis Redding
Otis died in a plane crash fifty years ago on December 10th.
John's 60-year celebration
(left) The band were presented with their prize by John Peel. (Click on photo to see a legible version of the cutting)
We have been unable to unearth any information about the Beat Band Contest, although Big L did host regular Radio London nights at The Rhodes Centre from Feb 6th 1967. Nearly all of the DJs appeared there while ashore. Big L nights were also held at another Herts venue, The Hermit Club in Hitchin.
During 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 in London. The latter was the venue for a 'Discoveries of Tomorrow' talent contest, but Radio London was not involved in it beyond Heat 12, which was held on June 8th, 67.
Rhodes Centre Radio London nights, host and band list follows. (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 (How approprate that the Teapots should appear with 'Teacosy' Blackburn – Webmaster)
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
Several of the bands who played The Rhodes Centre were represented by the Philip Birch Agency run by Radlon's MD. Some had appeared in the Fab Forty.
Managed by Tony Prior, also of Ipswich, the members of the Chalfont Movement were John Brennan (Lead Vocals), John Butters (drums), Pete Conway (Bass), Dave (Buzz) Dewhurst (organ) and Keith Robinson (Guitar).
John Peel is listed as the host at the Rhodes Centre only once and this was when the Chalfont Movement was voted top out of 40 groups competing from all over the eastern region and London area. The newspaper relates that the band had performed at several other shows on behalf of Radio London; Pete Conway supplied Kingsley with a more comprehensive gig list. The clipping refers to the band as having been together for approximately four months, but Pete Conway lists their first gig as December 2nd 1966, so it was closer to eight.
The question is, what happened about the Poland tour and the Decca contract? All we know about the Chalfont Movement is that early in 1968, the band changed its name to the perhaps more psychedelic-sounding Exploding Orange
If anyone has further information concerning the Radio London Beat Band Contest, the Rhodes Centre, the Chalfont Movement, or indeed other East Anglian bands of the Sixties, please get in touch.
The Settlers made several Fab Forty and one Family Forty appearances, unlike Three Good Reasons, who appeared in the chart only once more after 'Nowhere Man' with a Pall Mall-related single.
"This is basically a revue film. A minimum of plot interspersed with musical numbers. The copy of the film shown recently was much cut down from its original 89 minutes. The story, such as it is, concerns a record publisher and his musical friends running a pirate radio station and the efforts of the police to try and catch them. The climax takes place inside Big Ben which appears to be under repair at the time."
Alan Hardy's review:
"My pirate radio history knowledge isn't that good but I found it really amazing that someone would come up with the concept of setting up a pirate radio station to plug their music because the BBC wouldn't play it... way back in the 1930s! Maybe Ronan wasn't such a revolutionary! Then the 'pirates' took their portable equipment around London to prevent being detected and avoiding the tracker van. Which seems to be the original idea for the 60s land-based stations. (See our new collection of Radio Free London photos - Webmaster)
The film itself was dated but charming although the Roy Fox sequence was too long - but then he was the top bandleader of the day, so it's understandable – and the story seemed to fizzle out at the end. Finally, Big Ben was under scaffold for repair, just as it is today! It's well worth a watch out of curiosity."
'The Radio Pirates' is also available on a DVD 'The 1930s Collection' with two other films, 'The Lash' and 'Flood Tide'.
Talking Pictures is on Freeview HD 81, Freesat 306, Sky 343 and Virgin 445.
Red Sand visit
(Far left, Knock John on the horizon)
The forts don't seem to change much from year to year and there's no recent news of that luxury hotel development mooted in 2015. This type of conversion has worked well with the 150-year-old Solent Forts, but their solid, round design surely lent itself to conversion better than do the Maunsell Forts.
(Below right, Spitbank Fort, a luxury hotel in the Solent)
All or Nothing
Is Radio London or 'Dateline Diamonds' featured, we wonder?
Buy tickets for All Or Nothing, other West End Shows, concerts and events in various locations.
Sealand's 50th Birthday
Mark West (aka Wesley) very kindly supplied the photos below of the Radio Essex contingent and their guests. Mark was only 17 years old when he began broadcasting on Radio Essex. He says: "I was too nervous to think in terms of responsibility. There was a sort of record deck and a Vox ribbon mic set up in the transmitter/engineers' room, very chaotic. I'd written down a few statements like "This is Radio Essex, the voice of Essex from the mouth of the River Thames and this is a test transmission" (Which I thought was quite clever) uttered with shaking hand and trembling voice. As nothing actually changed during these tests I added some additional words to make it sound as though something significant technically was happening. "This is phase one (2 or 3, etc.) of our test transmissions".
Brighton band Oddfellows Casino's recent recording 'Oh Sealand', "an unofficial anthem for the independent principality of Sealand" was played during Offshore 50 to honour our Royal guest, Michael of Sealand. We really like it!
Radio Essex Pioneers: Mark West, Roger Scott, Guy Hamilton, John Aston, Dick Dickson and their guests
The group with Michael of Sealand and his partner Mei Shi (a former major in the Chinese infantry, he tells us)
The Guardian asks, Are BBC stations now irrelevant?
"We know the personalities of these anonymously numbered radio stations as though they were our friends. We get annoyed when they behave out of character; they have been woven through our national story for half a century. But in a swipe-left-multi-format-binge-watch world, can these old pals continue as they are?"
Radio 1 Sexism
iNews features Annie Nightingale on the subject of Radio 1 sexism: 'BBC said DJs are husband substitutes for housewives'
Bessie at 16
The Bournemouth Echo commemorates the anniversary with an archive photofeature of roadshow visits and local DJs, including Stewpot and a 16-year-old Tony Blackburn.
Four ex-pirates among the Top 50 broadcasters of the last 50 years
The results of a poll where leading radio figures and critics* were asked to compile their top-rated 15 broadcasters of the last 50 years, was announced on September 25th, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 BBC September Shakeup. The names chosen were then ranked and compiled into a Top 50 list, which it's unlikely that anyone at Radio Times has noticed, contains no less than four ex-offshore DJs.
Terry Wogan was selected as the winner, but Big L's John Peel was second, followed by Kenny Everett at #6. Tony Blackburn was ranked 20th and Johnnie Walker, 46th.
It's particularly poignant that John Peel and Kenny Everett (in common with many other names among the 50) are no longer with us to know that even years after their untimely deaths, they continue to be ranked by their peers as the top broadcasters over the five decades between 1967 and 2017, but their families and friends must be delighted.
*A complete list of those who participated in the voting is in the printed version of Radio Times.
Pete Murray said he used to listen to Kenny and Cash on Radio London: "They were wonderful, absolutely wonderful. He (Kenny Everett) was a genius."
Johnny Beerling (who had learnt a few lessons in offshore broadcasting from a clandestine visit to the Galaxy) described Kenny Everett as: "I think probably the best disc jockey/presenter that we ever had on the BBC".
Rosko unveils Felixstowe commemorative stone
"On Sat Sept 9th in Felixstowe, as part of the Heritage Open Days, a stone was unveiled commemorating that Radio Caroline became the UK's first offshore radio station, whilst anchored off the town in 1964. We believe that this is the first civic recognition of the station, and comes soon after the award of a licence by Ofcom for Caroline to broadcast on 648kHz medium wave to Suffolk and North Essex."
John Sales and Stephen Raindle were there with their cameras to report on a successful occasion.
New reports from Peter
Peter Messingfeld writes:
"It has been a while since you have heard from me. But I have been active again and my new web-pages are online now. Also quite new, are my pages where I look back at my travels in 1973 (am I really that old already?)
Peter has produced photo-reports on the Caroline 50th Anniversary Party, 'The Day the Music Almost Died', in Clacton, August 13th, 2017 and Pirate BBC Essex August 14th (You'll spot one of our Offshore 50 teeshirts in a photo with Tom Edwards).
His memorable trips from 1973 are Norderney, Radio Nordzee, Radio Caroline & Radio Veronica
Promoted in August 1965, the Bunny Hunt was a competition to find "a young girl between the ages of 18 and 23" to train as a 'Bunny Girl' and work at the new London Playboy Club.
Six lucky winners who'd been picked from photos sent to Radio London, would fly to USA on September 15th for 3 months of all-expense-paid training. They would then be employed at the Playboy Club opening in Park Lane on New Year's Eve at a salary of £35 per week.
More Rabbit Tales
Following Playboy founder Hugh Heffner's demise at the end of September 2017, aged 91, a number of stories and photos has appeared in the press about the opening of the London Playboy Club.. BBC News reports that:
"English girls were flown to the US to train as Playboy bunny waitresses and croupiers. A select few were invited to do magazine shoots and to stay at the infamous Playboy mansion in Los Angeles."
The photo on the left, by Getty Images, shows only five bunnies ready to catch the plane to California. However, six girls are shown in photos on Joan Findlay's personal website.
The report goes on to quote Carol Needham from Surrey (aka Lee Ann Michelle) as being one of them. However, further research by 'Fab' Alan Field shows that Carol was not one of the original party of trainee bunnies as implied by the feature, but rather, a later invitee to join the cottontails.
Carol told the BBC, "I lived there for about four months because they were waiting to shoot my centrefold. Looking back it was quite an amazing thing to have happened, I think only a few from England have been a centrefold."
In fact one of the original Big L 6, Dolly Read, was the first British centrefold. Fab conducted some further research and found stories about the Radio London winners, named as Doreen Allen, Magie Adam, Kathleen Bascombe, Joan Findlay, Catherine MacDonald, and Dolly Read.
Dolly Read (now Martin), who had just turned 18 in September 65, was chosen as Playmate for May 1966. She had first been seen on British TV in the early soap (1962-65) 'Compact'. In the Seventies, Dolly married Dick Martin of the cult comedy show 'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in".
"Dolly and her five British cottontail cousins arrived in Chicago last October. Each member of this sensational sextet–which includes Doreen Allen, Kathleen Bascombe, Joan Findlay, Catherine MacDonald and Magie Adam–won top ratings among 1000 entrants in last summer's nationwide British Bunny Contest sponsored by Radio London. Having since graduated from Bunny Training School and now completing a seven-month apprenticeship at the Chicago Club – with equal emphasis given to such curricular requirements as the Bunny Dip, tableside photography, tending the Playboy Club Gift Shop and Door Bunnying, bumper-pool playing and the extra-special VIP Room service. This group will return to England shortly for the upcoming opening of the ultra-U London Playboy Club." (Playboy Feature) Interesting that the competition was billed as 'nationwide' when Radio London broadcast to only limited areas of the UK.The American writer was very unlikely to have been aware of the British radio scene at the time, or indeed that Radio London was broadcasting from a ship!
Joan Findlay (now Hodges) (current photo here) turned down the offer of posing for a centrefold, as she had recently become engaged to Chas Hodges of Chas and Dave, who ironically had a hit with a song called 'Rabbit'!
We'd still like to hear from any of the winning Big L Bunnies
Where were all the offshore DJs and staff on August 14th 2017?
August 14th, 2017
The original photo of the dial comes from the antique radio collection in the Offshore Radio Archive compiled by Hans Knot and Martin van der Ven
Paul's Broadcasting Marathon
Paul Rowley spent the day on the Bridge of the Tattershall Castle, feeding 50th Anniversary news into BBC stations nationwide.
"In the end," he writes, "I was pleased with the BBC local radio coverage. I managed to do 54 separate broadcasts across the day. I did 19 for breakfast from the BBC office at Westminster, a further 16 from the Tattershall Castle over lunchtime, and an additional 19 for drivetime programmes.
I also sent out a piece for Monday breakfast radio bulletins which includes the opening of Caroline, Radio London closing down, and Caroline continuing. It also included a three-minute montage from an interview I did with Johnnie Walker including Caroline by the Fortunes, archive of Caroline continuing, and Man's Fight for Freedom.
(Left) Paul with Johnnie Walker after his marathon broadcast
I'd despatched guidance for our BBC local stations, recommending the obvious records (Not Fade Away, Caroline, A Day In the Life, All You Need Is Love, We Love the Pirates) plus a copy of that week's Big L Fab Forty and Caroline Countdown from 1967. Reassuringly, many played the songs throughout the day.
I've only managed to listen to snapshots of what some of our stations did that day, but so far …
Radio Essex revived Pirate BBC Essex between 0900 and 1500 with Roger Day, Norman St John, Tom Edwards and Johnnie Walker presenting. Ray Clark was broadcasting from the Ross Revenge jointly with Radio Caroline between 1500 and 1600. Ray's normal Saturday morning show on August 12 between 0900 and 1100 was a pirate special from Harwich. He interviewed Alan Turner and Tony Blackburn, some pirate fans on the pier including Ben Meijering, and Vivian Barnard, who kept a Radio Caroline diary from the age of 12. Ray also broadcast from the exhibition, where someone produced a Radio Caroline logbook which detailed how much everyone was paid, and he played some of the lesser known records like "Back Street Girl" by Nicky Scott. (Radio London Fab Forty – Mary)
* Radio Leeds produced a special between 0900 and 1000. I did a pre-record which went out at 0915. They also included my montage with Johnnie Walker. Naturally, they were particularly interested in Caroline North and Radio 270.
* Radio Cornwall hosted a three-hour show from 0900 from a boat in Falmouth Harbour, and played songs from this week in 1967 in the first hour on vinyl. They included "A Day In The Life" at 1045 and I joined them from the Tattershall Castle immediately afterwards. They had some interesting emails after 1100. A caller Mike Craig phoned in at 1125 to explain how, as a 15-year-old, he went out by boat to Radio City in 1965, leading to him being expelled from school. In later life, he was an engineer on the Ross Revenge known as Mike Watt. At 1135 they interviewed David Clayton (who when he was in charge at Radio Norfolk, did a day of pirate radio on Easter Monday 2014). He talked about selling ice-creams on Great Yarmouth seafront as a 14-year-old when Radio London closed down.
* Radio Jersey's Tony Gillham devoted most of his morning show between 0900 and 1300 to the pirates. Tony talked about being invited aboard the MV Galaxy as a 16-year-old and witnessed Caroline coming ashore at Frinton in 1966. I joined him just before 1200 and 1300.
* Radio Kent included a piece on Dave Cash, whose ashes were scattered off Harwich later that morning.
* Tom Edwards appeared on both Radios Lincolnshire and Suffolk. Radio Gloucestershire played a lot of pirate-related songs between 1700 and 1730, while Radio Merseyside had a few callers on their lunchtime programme.
Nationally, Tim Muffitt did pieces for Breakfast News and the 1300 national TV bulletin, which included Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, and Peter Moore. Alan Turner was interviewed live on the LV18 at 0720, with Johnnie Walker interviewed on 0905. Tony Blackburn was heard on Radio 4's Today programme and 5-Live breakfast.
I clipped the new audio of Tony Blackburn for local radio's 1000 bulletin and Johnnie Walker for 1500."
Pirate BBC Essex 14/08/17
From Keith Milborrow, Roving Kneeporter:
I arrived in Harwich on Sunday afternoon, well in time for the showing of the 2009 comedy "The Boat That Rocked" at the Electric Palace, where we were invited to Meet The Pirates before the film began. In front of the screen were Roger Day, Tom Edwards, Keith Skues, Norman St John and Alan Turner.
At 22:00 on Sunday evening, Pirate BBC Essex took to the air for three hours with the regional BBC programme hosted by Cardboard Shoes, variously entitled "Skues Me" or "Skues At Ten". This weekend it took the form of a pirate radio documentary broadcast live from the LV18. Johnnie Walker was soon involved, but I did not stay awake long enough to hear Roger Day's contribution!
I have to admire Twiggy's stamina. He was already on board the Lightship at 06:50 Monday morning being interviewed live on BBC1 in a report which also featured Tony Blackburn filmed outside 6 Chesterfield Gardens and later at Radio 2 with Johnnie Walker, where they both reminisced about their watery wireless days.
Pirate BBC Essex then restarted at 09:00 on AM, FM, DAB, Freeview and online, with Roger Day (him again!) in the air chair for the first 90 minutes. Norman St John took over at 10:30, followed by Tom Edwards at 12:00 and Johnnie Walker at 13:30.
At 11:00, the mood of the day had become quite sombre as the RNLB Albert Brown moored alongside the LV18 with Johnnie Walker and Dave Cash's widow Sara on board. Tom Edwards, commentating from the LV18, asked us to observe a momentary silence as Dave's ashes were scattered into the water. Sara threw flowers overboard, then Johnnie upturned the urn to release the ashes after which he threw more flowers into the sea. Sara appeared visibly moved by the experience and doubtless by the presence of 100 or more people witnessing the ceremony from the Pier and the deck of the LV18.
Johnnie closed down Pirate BBC Essex at 15:00 by playing "A Day in the Life", the song's significance on August 14th at that time being obvious. Broadcasts then transferred to Caroline and the Ross Revenge where Ray Clark was waiting to bring the Pirate Radio story up to date. This hour-long programme was thought to be the first time any show had been transmitted simultaneously on Radio Caroline online and Manx Radio AM, in addition to BBC Essex (all outlets).
And so, by 16:00 on Monday, Pirate BBC Essex was gone. Almost re-living what had happened 50 years before, the broadcasting crew had all left for London and the BBC staff began dismantling their temporary Pirate Radio station.
No man will ever forget etc., but it is doubtful that a similar commemoration of the events of 14/08/1967 will ever take place again. I am pleased I was there.
I had a super weekend at Harwich. I spent some time with Sara Cash (and Ian and Mr Beesley), who very kindly gave me one of Dave's T-shirts, which I will treasure.
I guess you've probably got lots of reports and photos, however I attach one of Mr Beesley (above) watching Dave's ashes being scattered by Johnnie Walker and Sara. It was very moving.
I listened to Norman St John on Pirate BBC Essex. Lovely to hear him, but I wonder whose idea it was to play Il Silenzio immediately after the moments of silence for Dave Cash, during which his ashes had been scattered? As we know, Dave hated that record! Can you throw any light on this?
I think Dave would have appreciated this (probably unintentional) joke! I would imagine ll Silenzio was picked solely because the tune is based on 'The Last Post' – traditionally played at military funerals. Norm St John is unlikely to have known of the Kenny and Cash hatred (and perpetual sabotage) of the Nini Rosso record, as he joined Radio London much later, in the summer of '66.
50th ANNIVERSARY LINKS (some may still be active):
Manx TV feature about Caroline North and the Isle of Man's reaction to the MOA.
Remembering the Pirate Station that was the first Radio Scotland
Radio Today includes a BBC video clip of Sara scattering Dave's ashes.
John Sales discovered an interview with Sara Davies-Cash by Sadie Nine on BBC Essex, speaking about the impending scattering of Dave Cash's ashes. Sara's interview is at approximately 02:41:00
Other links discovered by John:
Harwich and Manningtree Standard
Ray Clark aboard the Ross
A prank played on Keith Skues during the Pirate BBC Essex broadcast (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
The Wombat, Ian Damon, posted a recording of his final half-hour of broadcasting on Radio London, 7th August 1967, cleaned up by his son Bruce and edited to video clips.
Australia (blippity blip)
ABC News feature (thanks to John Preston)
Radio legend John Kerr reflects on his time aboard Radio Scotland.
Pirate Radio DJs Reunite 50 years after Government outlawed offshore music stations
As usual, most of the press features concerning offshore radio were disappointingly inaccurate, but the Big L Brickbat Awards must go to Saga magazine and the Mirror.
Saga made a pretty poor job of its August feature - an interview with Johnnie Walker. The interview itself was fine, but it was accompanied by a huge photo of the Caroline North ship Fredericia, from which Johnnie never broadcast and a caption referring to the Mi Amigo. It was clear that neither the writer nor the editor had a clue that Radio Caroline consisted of two stations, transmitting from two vessels in different parts of the UK. There was also a statement claiming that 'the authorities' boarded the Mi Amigo and closed Caroline in 1968. The truth is somewhat different! Mentioned in passing was the forthcoming BBC Essex broadcast 'from a boat in Harwich Harbour'. What, they couldn't even trouble themselves to look up the name of 'the boat'? Sloppy!
We're not the only ones who are appalled by the Daily Mirror's concept of a 50th Anniversary feature that is disappointing, inaccurate and digs deep for scandals and black sheep. Worst of all, it included an Irish pirate who had nothing whatsoever to do with Sixties offshore radio. After interviewing Pirate Radio Hall of Fame webmaster, Jon Myer, the journalist put words into Jon's mouth and the whole piece looked as if had done most of his research by going through a collection of old books. They might as well have included Savile in the story, but maybe the Mirror is saving him for a salacious birthday 'tribute' to Radio One in September?
John Peel is remembered in The Evolution of John Peel - a five-part BBC 6 Music series starting in the Seventies, that, while ignoring his pioneering role on Radio London, "charts his evolution as taste-maker, radio maverick and all-round inspiration to musicians and listeners alike". Most would agree that Peel's evolution from reluctant Fab Forty DJ to late-night underground music maverick began aboard the Galaxy.
Right beside Peel, in a feature concerning Classic FM's 25th Birthday, is Nick Bailey, the man who launched that station on September 7th 1992. Nick is, of course, well remembered by offshore enthusiasts as a Caroline North broadcaster from aboard the Fredericia in Ramsey Bay.
The Evolution of John Peel Sunday, 3 September 1300 – 1400 BBC Radio 6 Music
Classic FM Birthday week
The pop-rock station (these days on terra firma) recently went through a series of changes to both its line-up and its playlist, and needed a new jingle package as part of the refresh.
242 staff honoured in Glasgow
(Left to Right): John Kerr, Steve Young (Caroline) The Lord Provost, Norman St John (Caroline and Radio London) Bryan Vaughan, Cathy Spence, Tony Meehan and John Lumsden (engineer).
BBC Scotland feature
Photo posted on Facebook by Gerry Hogan
"I was brought up in Whitstable, Kent and my memories of the pirate radio era are mainly 'folk memories'. Nevertheless I find it a very interesting episode in British social and music history. One direct memory is that I had friend at primary school whose dad was a fisherman and he used to regularly run supplies out to a couple of the stations - probably Radio 390 and Radio City as they were nearest.
I am now a geography teacher / lecturer and consultant based in Surrey and have a particular interest in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) which is becoming an increasingly important part of the curriculum.
One thing I do as a side project is to find ways of using geography away from its traditional base. GIS particularly lends itself to this purpose."
Brendan has now completed a GIS showing the locations of the offshore radio ships and forts, in time for the August 14th 50th Anniversary. We offer our congratulations to him on a superb job. If only we'd had geography lessons like that!
No man will ever forget
David Jay writes: "On 14 August, from noon till three, regular, senior Susy presenters Jim Richman (a former engineer on Caroline North) and David Jay (who was an avid teenage listener in Surrey) presented 'It was 50 Years Ago Today', a special tribute to the radio events of 64-68, with an emphasis on what was happening 50 years ago to the minute. The real aim was to pass on the story to those younger listeners who perhaps don't know the debt owed by today's radio to the original offshore stations.
I'm pleased to say our endeavours went well. Thanks very much for your interest and input. The show, including the music we played, is now available via the Susy homepage
Next to us on the Susy homepage is a 2003 interview with Eric Martin of Radio City."
|Men in Hats!
A Big L mini-reunion took place recently in Spain, where Norm St John (right) met the Roman Emperor. Norm kindly sent us this great photo
The Dutch Perfumed Garden
Well done to Hans and Oeds Jan and we notice that Oeds Jan has excellent taste in teeshirts!
Sixties and Steam success in Pickering
"Chris Dannatt (Below, in black polo shirt with Geoff) had his full Flashback exhibition on display, which is most impressive.
Big L on Radio Four
An edition of 'Soul Music' 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.
It was broadcast in April/May of 2015, but is still available on iPlayer.
The BBC website has a feature on Mod culture, which is still alive today. "At a time when many young people spend a lot of their lives online, I was interested in what turned this group of people on this scene - one which has evolved and changed over time."
"Everyone, from DJs and producers to engineers and librarians, got paid the same – £25 a week, a good wage then. No-one felt superior or financially hard done by. We were part of a closely knit team and all did our bit in making the station one of the most successful and popular of the era.
There were no big egos to be fed and what we shared was a genuine love of broadcasting, which communicated itself to our many listeners.
A lesson, perhaps, for the BBC?"
It is published with a photo of Red Sands and David Allan and two colleagues standing on the catwalk.
David was a country music specialist and for many years had his own programme on Radio 2. He was also a continuity announcer on BBC Television.
Many thanks to Stephen Chesney, who says:
"It would have been helpful if, for the benefit of readers with no recollection or knowledge of the mid-1960s pirate era (golden age), he had mentioned that Radio 390 was established as a unique offshore station i.e. playing middle of the road/light classical music in very short programme slots, presented by virtually anonymous DJs. Mike Raven was the only one who was allowed to have his own name show."
(It's possible that David did indeed explain the 390 music policy, but his letter was edited – Webmaster)
Another Superstar, Cousin Moosie, received an Offshore 50 teeshirt for his 13th Birthday on July 19th and here he is modelling it in Stoke Mandeville.
"This is a very special time for me. On July 1st, 1967, I arrived in Glasgow and the following day, I went aboard the Comet to spend some time there.
That was 50 years ago and what a great time I had!
(We wonder if Raoul is still wearing his groovy 1967 psychedelic shirt – Mary)
Ron O'Quinn - The End of the Line
"Most old announcers keep going until they totally lose their audience," he told Georgia blog Pieces of our Past, "Not me! I want to go out while I can still feel confident that I am doing a good job entertaining thousands and thousands of people all over the world each week."
Our very best wishes to Ron for a happy retirement.
(right) Ron at the 'end of the line' flying the flag for Radio England with John Ross-Barnard and Rick Randall
Hans Knot and his brilliant team of sleuths have come up trumps! They have identified the tune successfully, although not the exact version used in the adverts.
The music is Andrei Petrov: 'Walking in Moscow' (from the movie 'Walking the Streets of Moscow', 1963). Hans also found it under the title 'I Step Through Moscow'. However we have yet to identify the exact version used for the Radio London commercial.
Thanks and very well done to Hans, Martin and Henk, who solved the mystery.
Three more Big L jocks, Mark Roman, Tony Brandon and Tommy Vance, were subsequently recruited to the Beeb's 'pirate replacement' station where they were joined by numerous other watery wireless favourites, including Rosko and Alan Black and Stuart Henry from 242 Radio Scotland.
Sheila performed the unveiling ceremony at the Pettiward Hall, where John assisted youth groups during his time in the village. She said, "It is truly incredible that people still remember and talk about John. No one forgets him and this a nice way to honour him permanently."(Thanks to John Sales)
The show is due to air late in 2017. Does Moosie appear in it? You'll have to wait and see!
|Johnnie and Tiggy talk of their roles as carers
On June 11th, Johnnie and Tiggy Walker appeared on the Carers' edition of BBC 1's Songs of Praise to talk about how they coped with caring for each other through traumatic cancer treatments. (Thanks to John Sales) Photo: BBC Publicity
It was 50 years ago today – the story of the Big L Sgt Pepper's exclusive
Ray Robinson of the Azanorak download site has posted some new audio from that momentous afternoon of May 12th, courtesy of David Lomax. The recording covers around 20 minutes from just before 17:30, when Keith Skues reads the news, until about 17:50. It features several Sgt P tracks with a short Big L jingle played over them - particularly incongruous when it comes to 'Within You Without You'. The whole segment has a bizarre feel to it. With 'It's All Happening' being a sponsored 'what's on this weekend' feature, an excited John Peel was obliged to announce charity pub crawls and stock car racing events between the exclusive Beatle tracks. Normally, a 'what's on' feature would not have been John's style at all, but because presenting it enabled him to play tracks from a fantastic new Beatles creation, he says, "There's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing right now!"
The zip file is password-protected and the password can be obtained by emailing Ray.
Radio Today reports: "Special programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles on 1 June 1967 will air on BBC Radio 2, 4 Extra and 6 Music. The range of programmes will explore the stories around the recording, release and subsequent life of this seminal album.
Big L Down Under Correspondent (and June Birthday Boy) John Preston, quotes from new booklet, written edited and researched by Kevin Howlett with additional research by Mike Heatley, that accompanies the 2CD Anniversary Issue of the Sgt Pepper album:
"In the summer of 1967, broadcasting from the ship that was the home of pirate station Radio London, DJ John Peel referred to The Beatles as 'our leaders'. After listening to Sgt Pepper, who would dare to argue with him?"
We agree wholeheartedly with John that it's nice to have a tribute to Radio London on the first page of the information!
John Adds, "The remix is just awesome and as Paul said it's got muscle .. A splendid time is guaranteed for all :)"
Thanks to Alan Field, Jon Myer, Alan Hardy and Mike Terry who says: "It would be nice if the documentaries mentioned Big L's May 12th world exclusive!" We bet nobody will!
The official Beatles Pepper pop-up store, 1 Mathew Street, Liverpool was open for business from
Cuddly Ken on the Light Programme
You'll also spot the names of one or two Fab Forty artists in the listing for the preceding programme, 'Swingalong' and on that morning's 'Saturday Club'. (Thanks to Peter Young)
More Award Winners
Our friend in Los Angeles, Ed Ryba, has produced a great song, 'Say You're Sorry' with his talented niece Kristen Mann on vocals. Kristen also produced the artwork, featuring Ed and his wife Jennifer.
'Say You're Sorry' is available from Amazon as an MP3. Enjoy the clip and please buy the song!
Great album review for Otway
Let me know your favourite Buddy Holly song!
Ofcom Community Licences
Congratulations to Peter Moore and Radio Caroline on finally receiving the long-awaited Community Radio AM licence. The press has given the story good coverage, although sadly, much of it is inaccurate. An ITV news feature just couldn't resist including a clip from 'The Boat That Rocked', which everyone knows is comedy fiction and not greatly appreciated by the real offshore pioneers. Meanwhile, BBC News is under the misapprehension that "After the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act was passed in 1967, Radio Caroline continued to broadcast until the Ross Revenge was shipwrecked off the Kent coast in 1991." Still, there's no such thing as bad publicity!
Ofcom awarded another of its community licences to Carillon Radio, broadcasting to hospitals in Loughborough, Coalville, Ashby De La Zouch, Oakham and Melton Mowbray. Congratulations to Jon Sketchley who already runs the successful Hermitage FM community station. Jon is going to be extremely busy!
For anyone who would like to read the feature, as TW used to say, 'in its entirety', with DJ interviews and colour photos, here's a .pdf – Mary
LV18 during a previous
"No man will ever forget Monday, August 14th, 1967"
Keith Skues will launch Pirate BBC Essex, remembering his time on Caroline and Radio London.
No doubt Johnnie Walker and Roger Twiggy Day will be remembering how they helped Caroline soldier on for seven months and will recall the 1966 launch of their DJ careers on Radio England.
Tom Edwards will represent Radio City and Radio Caroline and Norm St John, both Caroline and Big L.
August 14th 2017 once again falls on a Monday and we can but hope that there is no repeat of the poor weather that plagued the day 50 years ago.
See the video on BBC Essex Facebook page
The broadcast will be produced for BBC Essex by Scruton Wyatt Media
Mike Terry reports:
I was particularly keen to hear Richard and he did not disappoint talking about his time with London and subsequent career. Finding him many years later working in Budgens is now well known in anorak circles. Once Richard got into his stride there was no stopping him regaling us with so many interesting memories interspersed with music clips and jingles. What a lovely man he is.
Roger followed after the break but was left with less time than Richard.
It was well worth my trip from Bournemouth and some came from further afield and were made very welcome by the locals. Hopefully a sizeable sum was raised for the Prostate Cancer charity.
This seems and appropriate place to repeat our story of when Richard first contacted us back in 2013.
No longer Missing!
The following year, he was given the responsibility of going ashore to collect the station's biggest ever scoop, an exclusive copy of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, for its first airing in the UK. He has already been kind enough to share his personal recollections of that memorable occasion.
Photo: Richard, right, with Cardboard Shoes, taken by Michel Philistin. With thanks to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.
|'A beautiful but dangerous place'
Promoting his new album Americana, (available as streaming, MP3, CD and even vinyl) which charts his love-hate relationship with the USA, Ray Davies describes America as 'A beautiful but dangerous place'. He tells Mark Savage how the Kinks got themselves banned from performing there and how acting impetuously against a thief got him shot in the leg.
|The Last 'Knees Monthly'
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
"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.
HUL-LO! It's 'Go Man Go'
"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!
"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.
The Galaxy's fourth life
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
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.
|Spotted recently in a TV Series
In the ITV series 'Prime Suspect 1973' the villains are seen driving a van sporting a yellow Caroline sticker.
"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
From Ian MacRae Down Under:
A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO YOU AS A VALUED 'THE RADIO WAVE' NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBER
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"
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.
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.
|Dave Cash Corner
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.
|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)
'I was Cuddly Ken's Producer' – Kate Adie
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)
Everyone wants to go and live on Sealand!
Tony Prince recalls Top Rank Sheffield
Reminder 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!
Frank assures fans 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
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
Grammy-nominated Beatles Film out on DVD
'When Kenny Met the Fab Four' disappoints
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."
|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
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 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 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.
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.
"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
"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!
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!
(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.
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.
Russ and Gary's 'The Best Years of Music'
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
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:
|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:
Roman Emperor 'reduced to tears'
Cartoon Emperor by Antony Standfield, (Slightly modified by Mary Payne)
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!"
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
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)
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
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.
|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
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
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
Below, a group photo in the Dreamland ballroom
LV18 stars in 'Holiday in Harwich'
Proposed offshore radio museum for the Netherlands
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
Let's make Aylesbury a major music venue again
(Right) John Otway: Aylesbury's Two-hit Microstar was a frequent performer at Friars (Photo: Mary Payne)
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 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.|
1966 and all that
Susan releases part 2 of Calvert trilogy ebooks
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?"
'Sunny Afternoon' The Kinks Story