It was all go over Easter

070424 We are leaving the Easter schedules in place, as many of the programmes are still available via 'listen again' facilities

Thursday, March 28th is Radio Caroline's 60th birthday. Roger 'Twiggy' Day joined the station after launching his offshore radio career in 1966 on the short-lived Radio England. Roger, who currently lives in Spain, is returning to the UK to join in Caroline's Diamond Anniversary celebrations and will be presenting his regular Boom Radio afternoon show, 1400 - 1600, live from Harwich. He will be pleased to greet fans and autograph his book, 'Pirate of the Airwaves'. (See other purchasing methods below.)

Roger's Boom show was intended to have been broadcast from the lightship LV18 alongside Harwich Quay. This much-loved vessel has been host to many offshore radio-related broadcasts over the years and Roger has hosted shows from the studio on the bridge on numerous occasions. However, most of our site visitors will be aware that LV18, which was to be pivotal to the Caroline birthday celebrations, suffered severe fire and water damage early in February this year, after a suspected arson attack. Although restoration work is underway, it's impossible to predict, by Easter, what state the ship will be in and its suitability to host a broadcast. Roger certainly will present his show from Harwich, but it may have to be from ashore.

On Boom Roger, at 1800, John Peters (who some of you will remember from Big L '97, aboard the Yeoman Rose) is hosting an hour dedicated to Caroline. After John are programmes from ex-Caroliners Tom Edwards, Nick Bailey and Emperor Rosko – see big list below.

The Boom programmes should be available for a week after broadcast.

Tom Edwards had a letter published in Radio Times for 23rd - 29th March, about his early career in broadcasting piracy on Radio City from the Shivering Sands Forts.

Cardboard Shoes, Keith Skues will be in Harwich for the entire weekend, participating in various events and selling and signing copies of his book, 'Pop Went the Pirates'.

Roger broadcasting from the LV18 studio in 2015

On Saturday and Sunday, Harwich's beautifully refurbished 1911 cinema, the Electric Palace, will show films from the Sixties. These will be premieres at the cinema, as the movies were all released prior to the building's restoration. £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the LV18 Restoration Fund.

The cinema's website has the full schedule, which includes the Radio London film, Dateline Diamonds. This is extremely appropriate, as the film concludes with a car chase that finishes in Harwich. Read our special two-part feature about the film here.

Electric Palace schedule of films and live events

Right: Our friend Ray Reynolds stands outside the Electric Palace with a poster for the Radio London film that he discovered in an antiques shop.

At Easter 2024, BBC Essex is celebrating not only Radio Caroline's 60th, but the anniversary of the first Pirate BBC Essex.

Although Caroline's actual on-air date is March 28th, the anniversary is often celebrated at Easter and twenty years ago, the Easter weekend fell in mid-April. The holiday would give more opportunities for the public to listen and to visit Harwich, so BBC Essex ran their first broadcast dedicated to Watery Wireless - Pirate BBC Essex – from April 10th to 17th. LV18, prior to making her permanent home at the Harwich quayside, was home to the Beeb's renegades while at anchor and so was accessible only via boat. This was to be the ultimate outside broadcast!

Right: Big L's Dave Cash, Keith Skues and Duncan Johnson were all participants and Duncan supplied this photo taken aboard LV18. Sadly, Dave and Duncan are no longer with us.

Seasoned Beeb pirates Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt, are presenting a 4-hour BBC Essex show on Easter Saturday, March 30th, 1400 - 1800. Norm St John, Tom Edwards and Johnnie Walker are among the star interviewees and you'll also hear my (Mary's) own recollections of that magic week and those of other listeners.

Steve will also be hosting an afternoon at the Electric Palace Theatre in Harwich, 'Dreams Can Come True', at 1430 on Easter Monday, April 1st, assisted by Roger Day and Keith Skues, in aid of the LV18 Restoration Fund.

The BBC Essex team returns on the tender
Back: Tim Gillet Second row: Ian Wyatt, Steve Scruton, Tom Warmington
Front: Dave Cash, Keith Skues

Steve, Mary and Tim ashore in Harwich

Caroline Pirates from the station's later era, will be making personal appearances in Felixstowe.

Brian Nichol of the Felixstowe and Offshore Radio group reports:

"Felixstowe Museum (View Point Rd, Felixstowe IP11 3TW) reopens for the 2024 season at 11am on Thursday 28th March, but at 12 noon there will be an 'official' opening by Radio Caroline presenter and author, Ray Clark, on the exact 60th anniversary of the launch of the station from the MV Caroline, anchored off Felixstowe. Ray will be joined in the opening by Felixstowe Mayor, Seamus Bennett. 

Ray will be staying for a couple of hours, meeting and greeting, and signing copies of his books, which include 'Radio Caroline - The True Story of the Boat That Rocked', before he leaves to give a talk about Caroline at the Electric Palace Theatre in Harwich at 5pm. 

Also hoping to come along are fellow current Caroline presenters Stephen 'Foz' Foster, Mark Dezzani and Terry Hughes, along with Dave Cragie & his Moggy Van vintage radio collection, which will be outside, along with ourselves selling some Radio Caroline merchandise, sales of which help to raise funds for their historic radio ship, the Ross Revenge

The Museum has invited 'Felixstowe & Offshore Radio' to expand their existing 1980's themed display, to now include a look back to when the ship arrived in 1964, with mostly local archive photos, material and memorabilia.

We are also hoping to have a small gathering at the Radio Caroline commemorative stone at Wolsey Gardens Felixstowe IP11 2AF, meeting just before 6pm on Wednesday 27th March (60 years to the day from when the Fredericia anchored) before going to raise a glass nearby, probably at the Boardwalk on the Pier.

Right Plaque photo courtesy of Brian Nichol

Caroline's Ray Clark

Summary of Easter Offshore Events

Wednesday March 27

1800 Meeting at Radio Caroline commemorative stone at Wolsey Gardens, Felixstowe

Thursday March 28, Caroline's Diamond Anniversary

12 noon Official opening ceremony of Felixstowe Museum

Keith Skues – Boom Radio says, "Listen out too for the press coverage of Caroline's 1964 arrival - read by Keith Skues." Presumably this is during the afternoon and evening.

1400 - 1600 Roger Twiggy Day, Live from Harwich on Boom Radio

1630 'Radio Caroline – The True Story of The Boat That Continues to Rock 60 Years On', talk by Ray Clark Electric Palace Theatre, Harwich

Boom Radio – Watery Wireless Special with John Peters

1900 Boom Radio – Nick Bailey recalls his days on board Caroline

2000 Boom Radio – Tom Edwards remembers his piratical days

2100 Boom Radio – Look out, it's ROSKO!

Good Friday, March 29

Noon to 1400 BBC Radio 2, Clash of the Pirates – Johnnie Walker and Tony Blackburn compete to be Caroline's Top Renegade

Easter Saturday March 30

0500 BBC Radio 2, a repeat from 2017 of Johnnie Walker Meets the Pirates

1400 - 1800 BBC Essex – Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt present a 4-hour Pirate BBC Essex Anniversary Special

Easter Sunday March 31

Two Sixties films show at the Electric Palace Theatre, Harwich, Easter Sunday March 31st

0300 - 0500 BBC Radio 2, Johnnie Walker presents a special in his 'Sounds of the 70s' series. Titled 'Walker on Walker', JW, who launched his career on Radio England alongside Roger Day, recalls his colourful life. Also available on BBC Sounds.

1930 Dateline Diamonds showing at the Electric Palace Theatre, Harwich

Easter Monday, April 1st

1430 Electric Palace Theatre, Harwich, 'Dreams Can Come True'. Steve Scruton, Keith Skues and Roger Day and their audience remember Pirate BBC Essex, 2004

Tom Edwards broadcasting on Pirate BBC Essex

We were there!

Over the years, the Radio London Webmasters, Chris and Mary, have co-organised and attended many offshore gatherings.

See our own photofeatures about the Pirate BBC Essex broadcasts in 2004, 2007 and 2009

Roger Day organised a Caroline 40th Birthday Reunion at the DJs' favourite pub, the Red Lion in Mayfair. (Sadly, now a private residence.)

The Reunions Index has links to these and other piratical gatherings.

Pirate of the Airwaves purchase details

Roger 'Twiggy' Day holds the unique record of hosting a daily radio programme since May 1966, when he started his broadcasting career on Swingin' Radio England, aboard the good ship Laissez-Faire. His unwavering commitment to his craft has touched the lives of countless listeners over the decades. Roger's long-awaited autobiography 'Pirate of the Airwaves' is out now. "It's been a long road getting it out there," he says, but he's pleased to report, "It's getting good reviews."

Full press release

The book is available to order from Waterstones and other other book shops, plus Amazon.

Easter Weekend Review from our Roving Reporters

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