The archived
Happenings index
November 2000 – June 2012
is here...
Email Mary with your news and views:

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 section.

The News starts here.

Big L T-shirts and Sweat Shirts!
Exclusive Radio London clothing from our on-line store,
including our new Offshore 50 design for 2017

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

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.

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.

The Clockwork Oranges:our feature on the mystery band reveals more reasons why confusion reigned over their nationality

New Features
Martin Stevens shares some lost archive photos of Radio Free London
Radio London Exclusive: The Roman Archive. Mark Roman shares his personal Big L memorabilia Part 5 - Touring with the Stones
The Perfumed Garden Lists – when Big L closed down, fans of the Perfumed Garden formed their own club
(04/18) David Bowie – the first and probably last – Knees Club member to be honoured with a statue.

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. Previous obituaries can be found in the separate archive section.

And now, The News...

Sad Departures

Graham Gill
On April 9th, Hans Knot sent the sad news that Graham Gill died at his Amsterdam home, just days short of his 82nd birthday.
Visit our tribute page


Andy Riley

Chris and I were sorry to learn of the recent demise of Caroline stalwart Andy Riley.

In 1999, our friend Jenni Baynton had been spending weekends doing maintenance work aboard the Ross Revenge, alongside Linda Braxton, Pauline and Dave Miller, John Knight, Dave Francis, John Boak and others.

On May 16th 1999, I wrote to Jenni:

"I hope you and Linda have been enjoying yourselves working on the Ross. I understand Andy Riley was on board this weekend and I don't know if you discovered that he knows us. Andy used to assist Robbie Owen with his Saturday evening show on ElevenSeventy in Wycombe and Chris and I met him when we went to the station last year with Chris Elliott."

Chris E was being interviewed about his book 'The Wonderful Radio London Story'. Andy later visited us at home, and I believe we gave him some old carts (courtesy of Sky TV) for use on Caroline.

(Right) Andy, left of photo, with Sietse Brouwer. Photo: Pauline Miller

(My husband) Chris recalls Andy relating how he would go ashore and buy tins of beans, spaghetti hoops and the like to feed the Ross workers, a situation that appears to have improved once Jenni took over as the ship's cook.

Pauline Miller remembers:
"Andy was a nice bloke, very clever and somewhat eccentric but what a refreshing change to find someone a bit different. I remember him very well from our time on the Ross, he used to wear two shirts at a time, different colours, so the left side was one pattern and the right side a different colour and he managed to do them up together somehow so they didn't fall off.  I also remember him demonstrating a sort of Star Wars laser thing by getting a stick to light up when it was put near the transmitter, all clever stuff."

Smooth sailing, Andy.

Mary Payne

It's very sad to think that several members of what Jenni described as "The Queenborough painting party" are no longer with us. Jenni herself passed away in July 2000, but her legend lives on in the ship named after her. The LV Jenni Baynton is home to Radio Waddenzee and Radio Seagull.

April – another bumper bIrthday month!(04/18)
Birthdays this month for DJs from a variety of offshore stations. Graham Webb celebrates on the 19th, The Admiral Robbie Dale blows out the candles on April 21st and Phil Martin of Radio England celebrates on the 30th.
Greetings, pop-pickers!

Beatles presented with Caroline Bell(04/18)
On April 12th, 1965, the Beatles were presented with the Caroline Bell award at Twickenham studios. British Pathe has a clip of the occasion.
Rare Bowie singles released for Record Store Day(04/18)
"Three rare David Bowie records are set to be released for Record Store Day 2018, April 21, including an iconic London live performance. (NME)" (Don't miss our feature on the unveiling of theAylesbury Bowie statue).

Life and Death of a Pirate(04/18)
Susan Moore has been promoting the hardback Special Edition of her biography of her parents, Reg and Dorothy Calvert, which she has written in the form of a novel.

"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."

Recently, Susan talked to Alex Dyke of BBC Radio Solent and she tells us that the interview will be permanently available via this link.

Go to the church of your choice(04/18)
Mike Barraclough says:
"There's an interesting post by A.J Beirens on his new, and very regularly updated, blog on Radio London, 'Even in Church'. This also shows the effect of sea path reception. Entries 25 and 26 are also about
Radio London."

Comedy Musical?(04/18)
Trevor Bailey writes:
"Looking at the Fab 40 for April 3rd 1966 I see  that it is 52 years since Dateline Diamonds made its debut at cinemas across the country.
You may be interested to know that it is scheduled for broadcast on Talking Pictures TV (Sky343 , Virgin 445 ,Freeview 81 and Freesat 306) on April 30th at 3am.
The synopsis of the film on Talking Pictures website lists it as a "comedy musical" Well I suppose that there are some mildly comic moments in it and of course there is music, but I suspect that anybody watching it expecting a "comedy musical" might be disappointed or at least bemused.
I wonder if anybody at Talking Pictures TV has actually seen the film?"

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame comes of age(04/18)
Jon's update to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame for April.

We were very sad to hear of the death of David Sinclair on 13th March. The former Radio Essex, Radio 270 and Radio 390 man was a good friend to the site and we pay tribute to him. Thank you to his former colleagues who have contributed; sadly some other ex-offshore people have passed away too;
correspondent Terje Isberg has provided a couple of Swinging Radio England 'Fun 50' charts from 1966; and we discover the man known as 'Frobisher Collingwood' whose frequent adverts for Findus Foods entertained (or possibly annoyed) Radio Caroline listeners back in the sixties.
The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was launched on 14th March 2000 which means we have just celebrated our 18th birthday. Thank you to everybody who has contributed and/or supported us over the past eighteen years. We couldn't have done it without you.

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

New Radio Mi Amigo Book planned(04/18)
Hans Knot International Radio Report April 2018

Hans writes: "Another issue of the International Radio Report is available. In this report a lot of memories from readers from all over the world. Among other things, memories of Radio Caroline by DJ Martin Kayne from after the introduction of the MOA in 1967. Furthermore, a search for Radio Caroline DJ Ellen Akkerman from 1980 and Joan Perich is working on a new book about Radio Mi Amigo. Radio 227 DJ Dick Weeda passed away on 28th of February at the age of 75. As a tribute to Dick in this report an extensive memory of Radio 227 written by Dick years ago. Also, we have the first part of a very long series on the history of Radio Luxembourg written by Phil Champion."

The March edition had news of how the UK Government plans to bring in new rules on commercial radio formats – meaning stations will be free to change their music format without Ofcom approval.

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

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 You can also read the newsletter on line, at 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

Still Available
We still have a few remaining Offshore 50 mugs and teeshirts in the Radio London Store, alongside our regular RL teeshirts and sweatshirts.



From our satisfied customers
Mug purchaser, Mick Farrell
Really looking forward to my tea tasting so much better. It's a fab job you're all doing, keep it up.

Chris Sullivan kindly sent the photo on the left of him wearing his teeshirt in the studios of Vectis Radio on the Isle of Wight, which from November 4th will be heard on 104.6 FM. Chris's station profile says: "I like all kinds of music but for me the Sixties will always be the era where anybody could be a musician as the freedom of the individual took the reins from the Establishment. I love anything produced by Joe Meek, instrumentals, (I play guitar in the Five O Clock Shadows), and the British girls like Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield plus some of the lesser known ones such as Glenda Collins and Kim Roberts."

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)

The Radio London Store

Nick's Visit to Chuck Blair
Nick writes:
"Thanks for keeping Big L memories alive through your website which is excellent. I was an avid listener from Christmas Eve 1964 until the close in August 1967. I can still recall the huge disappointment when the station closed. As the station played the last records and announcements, we sat listening to a huge radiogram which we retuned to Radio Caroline at 3 pm. Whilst my musical tastes may have moved on since then (6 Music these days) the station will always remain my favourite from the offshore heydays. 

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:

Take a Heart - Sorrows
Backstreet Girl - Nicky Scott
Invitation - A Band of Angels
Think - Chris Farlowe
Morning Dew - Episode Six
Ciao Baby - Montanas

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 Barcelona exploits
"The silver gigging anniversary of the Big band in Barcelona was splendid fun and to my surprise was treated more like a mile stone than a mill stone by the musicians in the band.
Years ago I would often take a dip in the Channel when we did the November Dunkerque trips, so for old time's sake I repeated the spectacle in Catalonia. I discovered It's not only the set that remains the same, it appears time and tide do wait for Otway – it's just the size of the swimwear that changes.

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."

Oldies Project Playlist – 'This Week in...' and 'A Month in the Life'
We have received a number of queries regarding missing playlists from the Oldies Project website. This has now been resolved and the playlists are there for 'This Week in...' and 'A Month in the Life'. Click on the following link and select the appropriate month from the list on the right of the page. (Thanks to Bob Rendle)
Good Old-fashioned Vinyl
Many of the visitors to the Radio London site have collections of good old fashioned vinyl and will no doubt enjoy looking at a collection of pressing plant photos taken by Chris J Ratcliffe. A BBC News feature tells 'How the Gramophone Changed Everything' and at the other end of the scale, asks 'Is the greatest hits album dead?

Raoul delighted by unexpected find of 1967 photo
Jon Myer added a 242 photo to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame that featured Raoul Verolleman during his visit to the Comet in 1967. Raoul said:

"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!"

'Murder Man'
One of the RNI airchecks that Jon has just added to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, of Ian Anderson's show from May 1973, featured 'Murder Man' by John Otway And Wild Willy Barrett. Aylesbury's Microstar Otway was virtually unknown outside his home town till his first hit 'Really Free' in 1977, but here we have proof that RNI was giving airplay to a much earlier release.

John Otway Discography - UK - 45cat


Big L Bingo Bonanza music
Hans Knot and his brilliant team of sleuths have come up trumps yet again! They have identified the music used for the 'Big L Bingo Bonanza' promotion from 1967, as 'One Mint Julep' by Earl Palmer.

Thanks and very well done to Hans, Martin and Henk, who solved the mystery.

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
The latest edition of The Radio Wave from Ian MacRae i
ncludes: 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.

Gary Copeland:
It will be 50 years this week, that we lost my favourite soul singer in a Lake in Wisconsin, 'The Big Man' as Otis was known. He was here for just a short time, but what and impression he made on me.

Tributes: Remembering Otis's Final Days in Cleveland; Remembering Otis; The Tragedy of the King of Soul

Lil's Birthday Bash
We celebrated Big Lil's 2017 birthday a little early, on December 6th.

(left) members of Team Offshore 50, Alan Hardy, Mary, Jon Myer, Dave Miller, Pauline Miller and John Sales

Mary with Ray Reynolds, Peter, Paul Rowley, Charles Wright, Mike Barraclough and Brian Nichols. Brian and Charles run the Felixstowe and Offshore Radio Facebook group and organised the very successful weekend of the unveiling of the Caroline commemorative stone in the town.

Pirates Guy Hamilton, Richard Swainson and Phil Martin. Ian Damon and John Edward, also attended, but unfortunately were absent when the photos were taken.

John Hutley and George Hare with a strange woman wearing a Gambian santa hat

John's 60-year celebration
Congratulations to Radio Scotland's John Kerr, who has just passed the 60-mark milestone in his broadcasting career.
(John, pictured left at Offshore 50, by Martin van der Ven)

Who recalls the Radio London Beat Band Contest?
Earlier in 2017, Kingsley Harris, Co-ordinator of the East Anglian Music Archive contacted us. Kingsley is doing research on East Anglian bands of the Sixties and discovered a newspaper cutting from an unknown local paper of The Chalfont Movement from Ipswich winning the Radio London Beat Band Contest in July 1967 held at The Rhodes Centre, Bishops Stortford.

(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.

Stewpot's Sweetheart
Cindy Kent, former lead singer with the Settlers, has spoken to Kent online about her showbiz career and her romance with the late Ed Stewart. Not surprisingly, a couple of Settlers singles - their covers of the Beatles' 'Nowhere Man' (FF200266) and 'Early Morning Rain' (FF220566) were picked as Ed's climbers. 'Nowhere Man' made the Fab Forty top five, but the band was obliged to share chart glory with another cover of the song by Three Good Reasons.

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.

Was pirate radio invented in the 1930s?
Stephen Raindle spotted a 1935 film in the listings for Talking Pictures TV, titled 'Big Ben Calling'. Shot at Shepperton, the film was also known as 'The Radio Pirates'!

IMDB Review:
"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.

Radio Finds Celebrations Hard?
Radio Finds Celebrations Hard? We can hardly agree with the statement, "When it comes to celebrating anniversaries, radio finds it hard". Celebrating? Not this year. Commemorating - that's another matter and we think August 14th was commemorated pretty well by a good selection of events. Unlike a certain BBC Radio 1 event, we did not engage anyone to broadcast live from Offshore 50 and then insist on charging them an entrance fee for the privilege of doing it!

Red Sand visit
Guy Hamilton and his wife Roma went on the spur of the moment on SS Waverley's cruise out to Red Sand Fort on Friday, October 6th.

(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)

Cardboard Shoes in The Guardian
Keith Skues tells how he was the second DJ on the air at the launch of Radio 1, when he introduced the Bee Gees on the first edition of the long-running 'Saturday Club' to be heard on the Beeb's new station. The show had been running on the Light Programme for a decade.

All or Nothing
"All Or Nothing: The Mod Musical follows the rise and demise of Small Faces, the band who encapsulated all that was mod; clothes-obsessed and street-wise, a unique blend of taste and testosterone, but most of all a dedication to rhythm 'n' blues. Having played to packed houses across the UK, the coolest musical ever is coming home to London."

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
Another momentous 50th Anniversary for 2017 was the founding of the smallest country in the world, The Principality of Sealand on Knock John fort, by the late Roy and Joan Bates. Their son, Michael of Sealand and his partner Mei Shi, hosted a celebration on September 2nd, attended by pioneers from Ray Bates's station, Radio Essex, who made the fort their broadcasting base in 1965.

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!

ITV News coverage.

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)

BBC 50th Anniversary features in the press

How the Beeb struggled to adapt
In the Eastern Daily Press, David Clayton (who ought to know a thing or two about the subject) recalls how the informal style of ex-pirate radio DJs proved a problem for their new BBC bosses 50 years ago.

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.

Many congratulations to Bessie and Johnnie (left) both of whom are involved in Radio 1's 50th Birthday Celebrations.

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.

The Story of the Light
Stephen Chesney writes:
I have just listened to the second episode of Radio 2`s documentary about the history of the Light Programme, The Story of the Light. In case you don`t get the opportunity to hear it, I am sending a couple of quotes which you can find at 53.00.

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
Charles and Brian wrote on behalf of the Felixstowe and Offshore Radio Facebook Group

"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

"Be a Bunny, honey"
Hans Knot and his brilliant team of sleuths have come up trumps again! They have identified the tune used as a backing for the 1965 Big L Bunny Hunt. It was 'Flight of the Foo' by Count Basie - the title presumably a reference to sightings of flying saucers nicknamed 'Foo Fighters'. Thanks and very well done to Hans, Martin and Henk, who solved the mystery.

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?

Aboard the Tattershall Castle on the Thames, enjoying Offshore 50!

The story of how a magnificent reunion took shape is on our new website!21/10/17)

August 14th, 2017
50th Anniversary mega-update

"It was like losing a good friend when the station closed down at 3.00pm" Site visitors share their memories of August 14th 1967

Mark Roman shares a personal tribute to his mentor, Ben Toney and Ben responds

Ghoulies and Ghosties - all about Mark Roman's sign-off, which listeners found printed on postcards

(Left) No moose will ever forget... Cousin Moosie wears his Offshore 50 teeshirt with pride

Collector's Item
Terry Bateman writes:
Re the dial picture on the Offshore 50 teeshirt, you may be interested to know that I have the radio in my collection. Mine is the RGD Rover, but there is an identical model called the Cobra, which was sold under the ITT brand name.

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?

Lowestoft's 50th Anniversary commemoration
From August 11th to 14th, Lowestoft and Southwold's East Point Radio hosted its shows from the deck of a historic trawler, to commemorate 50 years since the government crackdown on pirate radio. The Mincarlo is the last surviving fishing vessel built in Lowestoft.

Pirates Back in Radio Times
It's no surprise that their pirate pasts remained in the past when two former offshore broadcasters chanced to feature beside one another in Radio Times (2nd to 8th September, pages 114 and 115).

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

New Veronica jingles
Dutch broadcaster Radio Veronica, one of the original offshore radio stations, has launched a new custom jingle package created by Salford-based ReelWorld.

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
Members of Radio Scotland's staff were honoured with a Civic Reception in Glasgow on August 11th, attended by some of the other offshore radio pioneers.

(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

(Thanks to Jon Myer)

Photo posted on Facebook by Gerry Hogan

Putting the Pirates on the Map
Earlier this year we gave a link to a very interesting story map of 'Sgt Pepper's Places', produced for the album's 50th Anniversary by Brendan Conway. It features locations associated with the Beatles in 1967, with particular emphasis on the iconic album, and included a small section about Radio London's scoop in being the first station to air it.

Brendan writes:
"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
Susy 103.4 is the community station in Merstham, just embarking on its second five-year licence. We broadcast to Redhill, Reigate, Horley and Crawley.

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
Hans Knot writes:
"August 14th marks 50 years since the Marine Offences Act and we have produced a 2017 version of the Last Perfumed Garden. Completely translated into Dutch, the 6-hour programme is produced and presented by Oeds Jan Koster and myself. Up till now 15 stations, either local or internet, have decided to transmit the programme. Either it will be aired in the night of August 14th or during the day. We're still busy talking to other stations too.
Recently a 'whole page' article about the 2017 Perfumed Garden was published in the regional newspaper 'Dagblad van het Noorden' (Click on the small version of the story, (right) ) and this newspaper will also stream the 6-hour programme in August.
Stations that will airing the show are, amongst others, Waterlandradio Purmerend, Radio ELS, Radio Emmeloord, OOG Radio Groningen, SRO Groningen, Radio 192, Extra Gold, Hollands Pallet Zoetermeer, RNI Germany and Radio 199."

Well done to Hans and Oeds Jan and we notice that Oeds Jan has excellent taste in teeshirts!


Sixties and Steam success in Pickering
Geoff Pearson, who was employed in the Sixties by Radlon Sales in Curzon Street, co-organised a Sixties Festival at the North Yorkshire Moors Heritage Railway for the weekend of July 22nd and 23rd. With a little assistance from Radio London and Oldies Project, the musical backdrop to the event was the sounds from the Fab Forty for 50 years ago - July 23rd 1967. Geoff shared some photos from the successful weekend and said:

"Chris Dannatt (Below, in black polo shirt with Geoff) had his full Flashback exhibition on display, which is most impressive.
The Fab Forty from 23rd July 1967 was used by the DJ on our stage it was also played at various station tea rooms around the railway over the weekend.
I had interviews on air with Radio Tees and Minster Radio, both of which gave me the opportunity to tell the story of Radio London's closedown. I also promoted your website, so that people could find out more about the offshore radio pirates."

Big L on Radio Four
BBC Radio 4's 'Soul Music' is a series of 30-minute documentaries about individual songs and pieces of music and the artists who have recorded them. The poignant 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes?' (its lyrics so significant to this 50th Anniversary year) was penned by Sandy Denny at the age of 19. Around 8 minutes into the feature comes a surprise reference to listening to Radio London's Sgt Pepper exclusive. (Thanks to Jon Myer.)

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.

News snippets
The BT website looks back to the date 50 years ago when the launch of BBC Radio 1 was announced.

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."

David's solution to BBC pay furore
David Allan of Radio 390 (pictured at the 2007 Radio Academy Celebration of Offshore Radio has written to the Daily Mail regarding the current furore over disparities in BBC pay. He explains that in the Sixties, he was a DJ on Ted Allbeury's Radio 390, broadcasting from Red Sands Forts in the Thames Estuary. David says:

"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)

Famemoose Birthday
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.

Raoul's visit to the Comet
Raoul Verolleman in Belgium has extremely fond memories of July, 1967 and his visit to the 242 ship Comet. He writes:

"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!
Greetings, Raoul"

(We wonder if Raoul is still wearing his groovy 1967 psychedelic shirt – Mary)

Pirate World Record Attempt
Keith Milborrow, Roving Kneeporter
"On Sunday 16 July, the seaside town of Hastings in East Sussex held its annual Pirate Day. The aim of the event is to gather together the largest number of people dressed as pirates in an effort to claim the World Record and Hastings is the current record holder.

(Left) One of the 2016 Hastings renegades. Photo: Hastings Pirate Day website
The event has no direct connection with pirate radio as such, except that throughout July the town's True Crime Museum has what is described as a "pop-up" exhibition on the subject. Whilst accepting that the exhibition covers post-MOA offshore activity and land-based pirate stations, and therefore perhaps justifies its place in a museum dedicated to crime, there is actually very little for the radio fan to see. Should you visit the museum, there are just two murals on facing walls telling the pirate radio story in pictures with a "pirate-speak" narrative, plus a loudspeaker playing out the sounds of pirate radio (Caroline by the Fortunes and a WRL jingle during my visit). The rest of the museum may be worth a visit if you are interested in headline crimes of the past, but for broadcasting historians I can recommend a couple of other options - finding the plaque outside the house in Queens Parade where John Logie Baird conducted early television experiments and/or visit the Wetherspoon's pub named after the TV pioneer! "

Ship Technology feature
The website Ship Technology carries a feature about the 50th Anniversary and the new Caroline comunity licence.
C'est quoi un hippie? La révolution douce du Summer of Love
A French take on '1967, apogée du Power Flower et du Summer of love.'

Ron O'Quinn - The End of the Line
In Hans Knot's International Newsletter, Radio England's Ron O'Quinn announced that after 57 years on the air, he was hanging up his microphone.

"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

Mystery Tune identified
Back in October 2012, John R Forster got in touch to ask if we could identify a piece of music that had been used as the backing for the Binatone Quickshave advert heard on Big L, Several people tried at the time, but failed to identify the tune, which was played in the style of Ray Conniff. John has been in touch again recently to ask if we could have another try.

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.

Radio 1 in quest for new DJs
While the Beeb is preparing to commemorate Radio 1's 50th Anniversary, the current version of the station is reported to be having problems finding talented new broadcasters to recruit. Fifty years ago, they found eleven easily; they'd all come ashore from Radio London. Half of the twenty-two DJs pictured on the steps of Broadcasting House in the famous pre-launch publicity photo of September 1967, had come ashore from the recently-defunct Big L, namely: Tony Blackburn, Pete Brady, Dave Cash, Chris Denning, Pete Drummond, Kenny Everett, Duncan Johnson, Mike Lennox, John Peel, Keith Skues and Ed Stewart. Two other former pirates in the line-up were Mike Ahern and Mike Raven.

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.

Pressing Issues
Circa 1984, Mary worked at the CBS record pressing plant in Aylesbury, which at the time was kept fully occupied in producing thousands of copies of the Band Aid charity single, 'Do They Know it's Christmas'. The factory also produced cassette tapes. By the late-Eighties the plant had been taken over by Sony and both vinyl and cassettes were regarded as obsolete.
However, in 2017, with vinyl sales back on the up and existing pressing plants having difficulty keeping pace with customer demands, Sony has announced it will open a new Japanese pressing plant next year.

Blue Plaque for John Peel
John Peel has been honoured by the unveiling of a Blue Plaque in Great Finborough, where he and his wife Sheila and their family made their home.

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)

Superstar Cousin Moosie recently attended the filming of a special showbiz edition of Antiques Roadshow at the BBC Elstree Eastenders set.

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
Radio London's biggest scoop since Kenny Everett travelled to the States with the Beatles to report on their 1966 Tour was the station's World Exclusive first airing of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Our story of that special day has been updated with new information and now containsaudio.

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.

Reissues, documentaries and special programmes mark the 50th Anniversary of the release of Sgt Pepper.

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.

BBC Radio 2 presents two documentary series – Sgt. Pepper Forever (Wednesday May 24th, 2200 - 2300) and Paul Merton On The Beatles (Monday May 29th, 2200 - 2300)".

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
May 25th - June 11th

Cuddly Ken on the Light Programme
With the 50th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper, we are also commemorating the first-ever broadcast in the somewhat fraught BBC career of Kenny Everett. Kenny had joined the Beeb's Light Programme (due to become Radio One in September) after leaving Radio London. His first appearance was as a contributor to 'Where It's At' on May 27th 1967, where he reviewed the Fab Four's new masterpiece.

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)

Award Winner
Radio London is proud to announce that Webmaster Mary Payne has won the CEWE (pronounced 'cee-wee') A Walk of the Wild Side photography competition. Many thanks to everyone who has sent congratulations and kind comments about Mary's winning entry.

More Award Winners
Our friends and fellow webmasters, Hans Knot (left) and Martin van der Ven (far left) are the well-deserved recipients of an award for their many years of hard work in organising the annual Dutch Radio Days and their enduring enthusiasm for all things radio over so many years. Their fellow Radio Day organiser, the late Rob Olthof, was recognised with a posthumous award.

The winners have made their own announcements in Hans's newsletter for June and July and we would like to take this opportunity to add our congratulations to the many they are bound to receive.

Radio Day photos

Talented Family
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!

Bowie Statue will 'sing' in Aylesbury
Sculptor Andrew Sinclair has produced a miniature prototype of his David Bowie statue, the full-size version of which is due to be unveiled in Aylesbury in September. Funding for the bronze statue has been raised through a £100,000 crowdfunding appeal, plus grants. In an innovative move, speakers mounted above the life size artwork will play one of 2,000 tracks every hour. David Stopps, founder of Friars Aylesbury, where Bowie first introduced his Ziggy Stardust character, described it as a "stunning work of art" with audio that "brings it to life".
Great album review for Otway

Another hero of Friars, Aylesbury, the town's very own Microstar John Otway has enjoyed "A great reaction to the New Album - the launches were great fun and you can now get the New Album - 'Montserrat' - On Vinyl as well as CD. 'Montserrat' is also available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc.
Below is a great five star review of the album from the magazine 'Rock and Reel'."

60 years on: remembering Buddy Holly
Gary Copeland:
I will turn 77 this month and these are just memories. May of 1957, 60 years ago, would have been the first time I heard maybe my favourite singer, Charles Harding Holley.  Sonny Curtis and Buddy had seen the John Wayne film in 1956 called the Searchers. The one phrase that John Wayne used throughout the Movie, was 'That'll be The Day' and in 1957, Buddy and Jerry Allison actually wrote the song and it was recorded at the famous Bradley's Barn in Nashville. Well that was a bad experience for Buddy and the 'Three Tunes', later they became the Crickets and they re-recorded it in Clovis  NM with Norman Petty. I guess the rest is just Rock and Roll. I remember where I was when I first heard 'That'll be The Day' and unfortunately I remember where I was February 3, 1959 when we lost Buddy at the age of 22. I probably own all or most of his recordings and still play them today. A favourite, glad you asked, is difficult because I really do not have any I don't like, but I guess 'Well... All Right', the B-side of 'Heartbeat', would be my favourite.  Most people would not agree, because it was never a huge hit, but I still play the chords and sing it while attempting to play the guitar. Buddy made the Fender Stratocaster famous.
B-side of 'Heartbeat' in the UK

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!

US perspective.

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!

In case you missed it
Many thanks to Mike Terry for posting a link on the Radio London Facebook page, which alerted us to something we might never have known about. Saga magazine has published on its website an edited version of the feature I wrote for the magazine in 2009 on the subject of offshore radio.

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
Pirate BBC Essex broadcast

LV18 Press release

"No man will ever forget Monday, August 14th, 1967"
During his May 1st Bank Holiday programme, Steve Scruton (left) made the exciting announcement that Pirate BBC Essex will hit the airwaves again, broadcasting from the LV18 in Harwich Harbour for one day only. That day is a very significant one. As Johnnie Walker famously said, "No man will ever forget Monday, August 14th, 1967". This year is, of course, the 50th Anniversary of the enforced closedown of the offshore stations by the Marine Offences Act, with the notable exception of Caroline South and North. The government could not stop broadcasts that were transmitted from International Waters, but the Marine Offences Act cut off the stations' lifeblood when it outlawed working on, advertising on, or supplying any of the marine broadcasters.

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.
Radio Caroline will be running its own commemorative broadcast over the weekend and at 1500, Johnnie Walker will hand over to Ray Clark, aboard the Ross Revenge for a one-hour, ship-to-ship link-up.

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

A Pirate's Tale with Richard and Twiggy
'The Real Boats That Rocked' was a sell-out charity event in Reading on Saturday, 29th April, starring Richard 'Sally' Swainson and Roger Twiggy Day and organised by Nick Carter.

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!
We were delighted to hear from Richard Swainson, Radio London's on-board administrator, who had been 'missing offshore' for some time. He is keen to get in touch with his former shipmates, so we have passed on his contact details to all concerned.

Following the tradition of everyone aboard the Galaxy being given a girl's name, Richard was known as Sally. Described by Kenny 'Edith' Everett as 'administrator and twit', Richard was recruited by Alan Keen when he took over the role of Programme Director from Ben Toney. He arrived aboard the ship during the first week of April 66.

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
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'
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!
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!!)."

The Galaxy's fourth life
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
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.


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.

Well done Alan Hardy!
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
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.

Remember Big EA?
Keith Milborrow points out that April 1st 2017 marked the 50th 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
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
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)

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 'Making the Bubblegum Video – 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.)

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!

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;; 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."

Most recent Archived Stories from 2012 to the present are here
Most recent Archived Obituary page from 2012 to the present is here

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