December 2004 (October/November 2004 is here...)

The Beeb dedicates evening to John Peel
On Thursday, December 16th, BBC TV and Radio paid tribute to the unique broadcaster and writer, John Peel, who died in October. Between 1900 and 0100 GMT,Radio One dedicated the entire evening to Peel Night, hosted by Steve Lamacq. (Programmes may still be available on the Internet via 'listen again'. )

Peelie joined Radio London on March 8th, 1967. By May of that year, he had become bored with Radio London's Fab Forty format and, secure in the knowledge that nobody from Curzon Street would be listening, turned the regular overnight shift into the now-legendary Perfumed Garden. The show was arguably the most innovative event in radio since Kenny and Cash started in 1965. John introduced his night-owl listeners to a rich brew of blues, psychedelia, poetry readings (sometimes in Latin) and everything in-between. The Perfumed Garden, which ran for only around ten weeks, gained a huge following and attracted enough mail to nearly sink the Galaxy.

On TV, BBC 4 had three programmes:
Dear John, is a collection of personal tributes, including those of Nick Cave and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Teenage Kicks covers John's trip to Londonderry to interview the Undertones.
John Peel: In Session Tonight features performances from artists who benefited from John's belief in their music. It includes a session from Pink Floyd, one of the bands who were to be heard piping at the gates of the Perfumed Garden.

Like many BBC programmes, these are likely to be repeated later on BBC 2.

John Peel 1939 – 2004

'Pirates Waive the Rules' DVD now available!

Thursday, November 26th, saw two major events in Harwich – a visit by HM the Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh, and the launch of the DVD 'Pirates Waive the Rules'!

During the morning, the historic Electric Palace cinema was visited by HM and in the afternoon, it was the venue for the press launch of the new DVD.

'Pirates Waive the Rules' is footage taken during the award-winning Pirate BBC Essex broadcast, much of it shot for BBC TV. The Beeb permitted the material to be released on DVD in aid of the Pharos Trust charity, headed by local man Tony O'Neil, which is restoring the vessel used for the Easter broadcast. LV18. As one of the last manned Trinity House lightships, it is destined to become a floating museum.

Highlights of 'Pirates Waive the Rules' include the live broadcast by BBC Look East, a tour of the mess, galley and cabins, listeners communicating with the ship by flashing car headlights (it's great to witness what this looked like from the ship!) and hilarious pranks played on Keith Skues. Events culminate in the overwhelming welcome from crowds lining the Ha'penny Pier for the DJs, when they came ashore for the final time.

The launch of the DVD was covered by BBC Essex and supported by two of the celebrity participants in the Easter broadcast – original Big L jocks, Dave Cash and Duncan Johnson (above). Dave, who narrated 'Pirates Waive the Rules', introduced it to the Electric Palace audience. Keith Skues was unable to attend due to illness.

The DVD is available from the LV18 website Our Pirate BBC Essex coverage and photos are here. Pirate BBC Essex website here.
Two former pirates: Duncan Johnson talks to Tim Gillett
The Electric Palace

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