Christmas 1966 is described by Keith Skues as,
'A very memorable occasion for all of us aboard Big L'
Caroline's Steve Young very kindly scanned in this Big L Christmas card from 1966 for us. Both this and the card further down the page have the same designer, the late Peter Boalch Click here to read a feature about Peter, discover how he came to design the company cards for Radlon and see scans of the inside of the Christmas cards and some of his other artwork .

Unfortunately, a card commissioned for Radio Caroline which depicted one of the two ships at sundown, is believed to have been withdrawn. In the political climate of December '66, its caption, 'Sunset on Caroline', was liable to convey a negative attitude regarding the station's future! 'Sunset FROM Caroline', a photo by R van Brandtzag, (below) seems to have been the chosen replacement.


Steve also had an interesting item of Mi Amigo memorabilia from Christmas '66 to share with us. He writes:

"I thought that you, and the rest of the gang, might enjoy this. It's the Christmas Dinner menu prepared by our Dutch chef (I wish I could remember his name... all I do remember is seeing him dance through the mess with a rose between his teeth) for our 'on-board' feast on the mv Mi Amigo, Christmas 1966. I have to say that it was one of the better Christmas dinners that I've had in my life, made so by the company of my fellow deejays, newsreaders and those stalwart members of our Dutch crew. May God bless them, every one!

(Thanks to Raoul Verolleman for the pic of Steve, taken from Issue 2 of 'Beatwave'.)

George Hare, who was the land-based agent for Caroline North, has kindly supplied us with the Christmas food shopping list for the Fredericia. As you will see, the British tradition of, 'We have to buy boxes of dates at Christmas whether anyone eats them or not', has been upheld stoically!

Note that there are no chocolates or sweets on the list. Hopefully, the Caroline advertisers and listeners were generous in that respect.

Back on the Galaxy, 12,000 Christmas cards had been received by Dec 16th, when the station celebrated its second – and last – full year on the air.

December also saw the reinstatement of Tony Blackburn's 'dog' Arnold. TW had thought the canine companion too reminiscent of Tony's spell aboard Caroline, but the audience missed Arnold and he was revived by public demand!

Twenty-four-hour broadcasting was introduced on Christmas Eve, when at midnight on the Mike Lennox show, TW, Chuck Blair, Kenny Everett, Keith Skues, Ed Stewpot, Myrtle, Hermione Hawkins and Richard Swainson, gathered in the studio to sing three carols, which they followed by a rousing 'Happy Birthday' for the dawning of Kenny Everett's twenty-second birthday.

(Thanks to Hans Knot for the picture)
Stewpot's mother and sister Sue had packed up food parcels and individual presents for everyone aboard the Galaxy. TW was given a flask – presumably to keep his Camp coffee hot. The popular Captain Buninga was presented with a suede jacket as a gift from all the DJs.

In a change from tradition, chef Pancake John cooked duck with orange sauce as the evening meal on Christmas Day, and the turkey was saved for Boxing Day. The meal was served by Mich – Michel Philistin – the Galaxy's Haitian steward.

Wine and hors d'oeuvre were served before the main meal, which commenced at 7.00pm. This was a time when a prerecorded show was broadcast and, as Tony Windsor put it, "The boys could sit down in their entirety."

Menu for the Galaxy Christmas Dinner 1966

Consommé Julienne

Bouchée á La Reine

Canard á l'orange
Pommes Noiselles

Orange fruit cocktail
Christmas pudding




Brian Long very kindly supplied us with this second Peter Boalch Radio London card, from 1965


On 28th December, Paul Kaye, Tony Blackburn, Mark Roman, Pete Drummond and Norman St John returned to the ship, allowing those who had worked the Christmas shift to go ashore to celebrate the New Year.

On New Year's Eve, at the illustrious Gravesend Co-op Hall, Guy Darrell – there to promote his current Big L climber, Hard Lovin', found the single to be appropriately named, when he and Keith Skues were on the receiving end of an excess of adoration. Over-enthusiastic fans mobbed the pair, resulting in minor injuries. We are told there is no truth in the rumour that Keith had to have a Co-op dividend book removed from a delicate place!

Safely aboard the ship, Paul Kaye presented a New Year's Eve round-up of highlights of the Radio London year, with greetings from fellow DJs and stars of the music business.

Aboard the Mi Amigo, some appalling singing heralded-in 1968! We asked Bud Ballou, whose dulcet tones are not heard on the recording, what he was doing that New Year's Eve. Also on the recording, you will hear Carl Mitchell mention Syracuse, New York . Knowing that this was Bud's birthplace, I asked him what Carl's connection was to Syracuse. Bud replied:

"I was on the ship for Christmas, but left a couple of days afterward for shore leave. I spent New Year's eve in London. I remember being in Trafalgar Square for at least part of it.

Re: Carl Mitchell. Although he is from the New York City area ("downstate") he attended Syracuse University, as did I... hence his references to Syracuse. He and I spent many hours talking about 'home'."

Don't forget to read our report of Christmas Day on Radio London in 1997, aboard the Ocean Defender moored in St Katherine's Dock near Tower Bridge, London.

Christmas Index