Wednesday, 28 May 2014

All the Right Notes

The funniest moment in British TV history? The “Mr Preview” sketch from Morecambe and Wise’s 1971 Christmas Show. Fact. Well, it’s my fact at any rate. 

It was thirty years ago today that comedy legend Eric Morecambe was taken from us, felled by heart attack minutes after appearing on stage in Tewkesbury where he’d been reminiscing with his old chum Stan Stennett.
This is how BBC Radio 4 reported the news that day. The newsreader is Bryan Martin, the report comes from John Spicer.

In March 1984 Eric had recorded what was to be his last broadcast. He was the guest in the first show in a new series for Roy Castle - Castle’s Corner – the follow-up to the long-running Castle’s on the Air. Eric was a family friend – Roy had met his wife Fiona though an introduction from Eric – and that friendship is evident in this recording. When Eric goes off-script on more than one occasion Roy can be heard to remark “it doesn’t say any of that here.”  And we also witness Eric playing the trombone, sort of, along with the versatile Roy on trumpet.
Castle’s Corner aired on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 31 May 1984. It was produced for BBC Manchester by Ron McDonnell.

In July of 1984 Radio 2 broadcast “an appreciation of Eric Morecambe” produced by Mike Craig and titled One of a Kind. There were contributions from Ernie Wise, Joan Morecambe, Eddie Braben, Dickie Davies, John Ammonds, Sid Green, Dick Hills, Dickie Henderson, Robert Morley, Harry Secombe, Stan Stennett and Frankie Vaughan.
One of a Kind was transmitted on Thursday 26 July 1984.

Eric Morecambe 1926-1984 (Coughs. “Arsenal!”)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Arrival of Abba

So what can we learn from 70s pop? That Lowry painted “matchstalk man”, that Rasputin was “Russia’s greatest love machine” and that at Waterloo “Napoleon did surrender.”

Yes incredibly it was forty years ago that Abba burst onto the music scene at the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo. Here’s David Vine introducing us to the “the ABBA group”. 

As we now know the members of Abba didn’t just appear fully-formed for Eurovision but had been performing in various Swedish folk and pop groups since the 1960s. By the time they met Radio 1’s Tom Browne in December 1976 the group had notched up four UK number one hits. This was a rare outing on the network for Tom on a programme other than the Sunday chart show. Typical of interviews with the group at the time there’s an explanation of the band name, stumbling over the Swedish pronunciation and flirting with Agnetha.  

Abba was broadcast on Radio 1 medium wave only on Tuesday 28 December 1976. When I recorded the programme I edited out most of the music. I’ve tidied up the edits and added some links and the opening and closing announcements from another source. The programme was produced by Paul Williams.

Move forward to 1978 and this time on Radio 2 and the station presents Abba ‘A Swedish success story’.  It covers much the same territory as the Radio 1 programme but is more of a cut and paste job, there’s nothing to suggest that presenter Richard Vaughan had talked to the group, perhaps it was producer Derek Mills. This programme was broadcast on Friday 24 March.

If you want to wallow in all things Eurovision this weekend then Radio 2 have their pop-up station starting at 12 noon today.  
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