1986 Peacock Committee is now best remembered for its proposal that the BBC
should privatise Radios 1 and 2. That recommendation was forgotten about,
though the idea still continues to appear at intervals. As for the commercial
radio sector Peacock suggested that “IBA regulation of radio should be replaced
by a looser regime”. Here’s
how BBC Radio 4’s Six O’Clock News
reported the Committee’s findings on 3 July 1986. The newsreader is David Symonds, the reports
by John Parry and John Sergeant.
A year later
the Government issued the Green Paper Radio:
Choices and Opportunities proposing changes to the regulatory framework for
Independent Local Radio. It also signalled the end to simulcasting on both AM
and FM and paved the way for the Broadcasting Act 1990 that saw the launch of
the three Independent National Radio stations, dozens of local and community
stations and the establishment of the Radio Authority.
edition of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis titled
More than Two Can Play looks at what
the future may hold for radio broadcasting in terms of content and the way it’s
transmitted. The programme is presented by David Wheeler, produced by Fraser
Steel and was broadcast on 20 May 1987.
are contributions from Chris Dickins, Brian Wenham, David Mellor, Brian West,
Jimmy Gordon, Bevan Jones, Clement Freud, Robin Corbett, Sam Brittan, Philip Crooks,
Tony Currie, Jocelyn Hay, Monica Sims and Phil Layden.
Cup returned to Mexico for the 1986 tournament with time difference leading to
7 p.m. and 11 p.m. kick-offs UK time. There was plenty of home nation interest
as for the second time running England, Scotland and Northern Ireland all
match commentary, all on medium wave, starts with the Group A opener on 31 May:
Italy vs Bulgaria. Commentating are Mike Ingham and Peter Jones. Over on BBC1
they precede coverage of the opening ceremony and game with the classic Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
episode, No Hiding Place.
Radio 2 provides World Cup overnight news at 6.02 a.m., 7.07 and 8.07. There
are match reports at 8.02 p.m., 9.02, 12.05 and 1.02 in addition to the normal
afternoon Sports Desks at 1.05 p.m.,
2.02, 3.02, 4.02, 5.05, 6.02, 6.45 on MW only and 9.55. Also keeping an eye on
proceedings in Mexico was Sport on 2,
at the time presented by Tony Adamson, and Stuart
Hall’s Sunday Sport.
on the first round matches involving Northern Ireland comes from Mike Ingham
and Mark Robson. At the time Mark worked for BBC Northern Ireland and would
later move to UTV and then Sky Sports as part of their rugby commentary team.
Scotland’s matches were covered by Mike Ingham and Roddy Forsyth with analysis
by Denis Law. Print journalist Roddy joined the BBC in 1986 and would become
the Scottish Football Correspondent for Radio Sport; he remains a regular on 5
Live’s sports team.
This is part of a World Cup Special from 3 June 1986. Can anyone identify the theme tune please, it's been bugging me for days and I'm convinced I have a copy of it somewhere.
the England matches had commentary from Peter Jones and Bryon Butler with
summaries by Ron Greenwood. Only England
progressed to the second round and then onto the quarter-finals before defeat
against Argentina and that famous ‘hand of God’ goal. Commentary on the final
on 29 June (Argentina vs West Germany) was again a Jones/Butler commentary.
introduced football fans to Nessun Dorma,
John Barnes rapping and the pain of an England penalty shootout. It was Radio
2’s final tournament – Radio 5 would take over all the sports coverage from
August 1990 though that station didn’t actually get round to handling a World
Cup tournament – and as usual it was on medium wave only and confined to home
nation matches; this time England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Theplanned
coverage was of the opening game, the semi-finals and the final. With Ireland
and England progressing beyond the group stages there was some added quarter-final
coverage was presented by John Inverdale, who also fronted the Wimbledon
programmes when they started, including some joint programmes when the tennis
and football overlapped. The Radio Times
is a little light on who commentated on which game but the listed team are Mike
Ingham, Alan Green, Ron Jones with expert analysis from Denis Law and Ray
Scotland once again in the running, commentary on those games was also carried
on Radio Scotland – can anyone confirm the commentary team? On 16 June there
was a clash of 8 p.m. kick-offs so whilst Radio 2 carried England vs Holland,
Radio Scotland carried Sweden vs Scotland.
World Cup news, and some commentary, was heard on Sport on 2 with Jon Champion and Sunday Sport with Charles Colville. The Republic of Ireland’s match
against Egypt was heard on Sunday Sport
for instance.There was also an extra World Cup Report each evening after the
11 p.m. news.
(West Germany vs Argentina) on Sunday 8 July was covered in an extended Wimbledon 90 and World Cup 90 programme from
2 p.m. to about 9 p.m. as the Men’s Singles Final took place that day too.
By the time
we get to 1994, Radio 5 Live had arrived – replacing the short-lived Radio 5 - and
there was plenty of airtime to fill. Football was more popular than ever due to
Sky Sports upping the ante and over on ITV we had the adaptation of the stage
play An Evening with Gary Lineker.
The 5 Live coverage
was linked by Jon Champion though were it overlapped with Wimbledon we had John
Inverdale, or on Tuesday evenings as part of Inside Edge presented by Jonathan Legard. There was also coverage
as part of Saturday’s Sport on Five
with either Ian Payne or Marcus Buckland and on Sunday Sport with Eleanor Oldroyd. The commentary team in the USA
was Mike Ingham, Alan Green, Ron Jonesand Rob Hawthorne. Providing the expert analysis were Mark Lawrenson and
The only ‘local’
interest was the Republic of Ireland so in the first week we also had
commentary on Germany vs Bolivia, USA vs Switzerland, Germany vs Spain, Italy
vs Norway and Brazil vs Cameroon as well as Ireland’s match against Italy. The
final on 17 July (Brazil vs Italy and the first to be decided on penalties)
coincided with The Three Tenors Concert
from the Dodger Stadium in LA. This was broadcast on both BBC1 and Radio 2.
And that is
where I leave the World Cup for the time being. Further posts may follow in
four year’s time, assuming I qualify.
the World Cup moves to Argentina. Just as in 1974 England fail to qualify and
hopes are pinned on Ally’s Tartan Army. Andy Stewart charts with Ally’s Tartan Army and Rod Stewart with Ole, Ola. BBC coverage uses the Andrew
Lloyd Webber penned Argentine Melody
and ITV Alan Tew’s Action Argentina.
radio coverage is on Radio 2 and we start to see a gradual increase in the time
devoted to the tournament. The weekday 15 minute Sports Desk broadcast at 18:45 is extended to nearly half-an-hour
and on days when there’s play an additional Sports
Desk goes out at 23:02 just before Round
first time the opening ceremony and the opening game (West Germany vs Poland)
are covered. Commentary (all on long wave only as Radio 2’s music programmes
continue on VHF) is by Peter Jones and Alan Parry, with David Francey of BBC
Scotland again joining the team for Scotland’s group matches. “Expert comments”
come from Denis Law.
to Scotland’s games (they don’t progress further than the first round) there’s
commentary on the Italy vs Argentina game. The only other commentary is the
final on 25 June (Netherlands vs Argentina) with Peter Jones, Bryon Butler and
worth mentioning an “all-star entertainment” that acted as a prelude to the
tournament: Good Luck, Scotland. Broadcast on Radio 2 on Bank Holiday Monday
(29 May) it’s now perhaps best known for featuring the last-ever outing for Steptoe and Son in a specially written
15 minute sketch called Scotch on the
Rocks (there’s a poor quality version on YouTube). The hour-long show also
featured Ernie Wise, Janet Brown, Michael Hext (Young Musician of the Year),
Peter Morrison, Tom Conti, Helen McArthur, The Pipes and Drums of the Royal
Scots Dragoon Guards and the Max Harris Orchestra. Writing some of the material
were Barry Cryer and John Junkin.
With three ‘home’
countries in contention – England, Scotland and Northern Ireland – the 1982
World Cup coverage had to step up a gear. In the first week from Spain, Radio 2
(now on medium wave) offered a match a day between Tuesday and Friday.
on England’s games was provided by Peter Jones and Bryon Butler, with expert analysis
from Jimmy Armfield. Looking after the Scottish matches was George Hamilton and
David Begg with summaries from Frank McLintock. George Hamilton continues to
commentate for the World Cup for RTE and is part of their 2014 team. David Begg
worked for BBC Scotland and this was his first World Cup. He continued to
commentate north of the border until his retirement in 2012. Meanwhile the
Northern Ireland commentary was by Alan Green and Peter Brackley. Alan Green
had only recently joined BBC Sport and is, of course, commentating at the 2014 for
Radio 5 Live. Peter Brackley had been on Radio 2 since the late 70s but this
was to be his last World Cup for the BBC as he joined ITV at the start of the 1982/3
With so many
games to cover there was, for the first time, a clash of sporting occasions
when, in week two, the afternoon kick-offs coincided with Wimbledon. The tennis
coverage was presented that year by Mike Ingham (normally it would’ve been
Peter Jones), and Mike was also the regular host of Sport on 2 at that time. There were combined Wimbledon/World Cup Special programmes on 25 June and 1 July. As usual the music continued over on VHF with
Ed Stewart and David Hamilton, though both were on holiday on some point that
month and cover came from the continuity announcers Don Durbridge and Colin
England and Northern Ireland progressed to the next round and then both failed
to go further, there was no other commentary until the final (Italy vs West
Germany) on 11 July. Presenting was Mike Ingham with match commentary from
Peter Jones, Bryon Butler and Jimmy Armfield.
World Cup of which I have a clear memory of is the 1970 tournament held in
Mexico. I’d cut out a full-page colour photograph of the England squadfrom the
back of the Daily Express – a
broadsheet back then – and sellotaped it to a large board.England where knocked out by Germany in the
quarter-finals. Their record Back Home
fared better and made number one that May.
I happen to
have one back issue of the Radio Times
that covers that World Cup – a photo of Bobby Moore adorns the cover. BBC TV’s
daily coverage was hosted by David Coleman, Frank Bough and David Vine but on
radio - unlike today’s almost continuous coverage – commentary was wholly
concentrated on the home nation games – in this case just England- apart from the final and one of the
now associate Radio 2 in the 1970s and 1980s as being the home of radio sport,
the 1970 World Cup matches were broadcast exclusively on Radio1’s 247 metre
wavelength. At the time this was not as
unusual as it may now seem. From Radio 1’s launch in September 1967 it had
regularly carried any midweek matches, although, confusingly not all such matches – some still appeared
over on Radio 2. For example on 29 May 1968 the European Cup Final (Benfica v
Manchester United) was on Radio 1 whilst the following week on 5 June the
semi-final of European Nations’ Championship Cup (England vs Yugoslavia) was on
commentary team was Maurice Edelston, who along with Brian Moore, Alan Clarke
and Simon Smith had covered the 1966 competition, Bryon Butler, who’d become
the radio football correspondent in 1968, and Peter Jones. Peter had joined the
BBC in 1966 as a sports assistant and had been involved covering the Group 4 and
the quarter-final matches played in the North-East in that year’s World Cup. He
joined the rota of presenters of the Saturday afternoon Sports Session in late 1967 and was the first host of Sport on 2 when it started in April
coverage differs from that four years earlier as listeners were now treated to commentary
of the full game for England’s group stage matches, and not just second-half
commentary. We did get second-half commentary on a semi-final (possibly Italy
vs West Germany) and most of the final (Brazil vs Italy) on 21 June just after
an extra programme, Summer Solstice, that followed Alan Freeman and Pick of the Pops.
journalist Geoffrey Green recalls England’s match against West Germany on 14
For the 1974
World Cup it was Scotland that was the sole representative from the UK. All
commentaries were now on Radio 2 long wave. Listeners to Radio
Scotland (on VHF and MW) also heard carried the match commentaries. Scotland’s third group
stage match was covered as part of that Saturday’s Sport on 2.
was provided by Peter Jones and David Francey, who was a regular commentator for
BBC Scotland, with analysis from Mike England. Presenting the coverage was Alan
Parry who’d joined the sports unit from BBC Radio Merseyside in 1973. Apart
from Scotland’s matches there were no further commentaries until the final
(Netherlands vs West Germany) on 7 July with Jones and Parry.
In the next
post 1978 and 1982.
Robin Carmody for helping me fill in some of the gaps.
One of the lesser-known programmes in the Francis Matthews
CV is the Radio 2 comedy series Stop the
Actor Francis Matthews, who sadly died over the weekend,
starred in four series of the show that promised to uncover “amusing and
bizarre stories from home and abroad”.Essentially
he linked comic skits and one-liners based on stories culled from the world’s
press. The style, if not the content, was not dissimilar to the Trends section of Round the Horne; there was even a radio announcer taking part in
proceedings, this time the by now retired Ronald Fletcher.
Also assisting Francis were Sally Grace, later a Week Ending
regular, actor David Timson and, doing his first radio work, singer-songwriter
Radio Times 12 October 1980
Stop the World ran
between 1979 and 1983 and was a follow-up to the not dissimilar Offbeat with Braden (1978) which perhaps
explains the presence of Ronald Fletcher, the regular announcer in Bernard
Braden and Barbara Kelly’s 1950s comedy series Breakfast with Braden (and later Bedtime with Braden).
This recording is episode four of series two and was
broadcast on Sunday 2 November 1980. The producer is Alan Nixon. The programme announcer
doing the topping and tailing is Tim Gudgin. Listen out for Francis Matthews
doing his Cary Grant impression, the basis for his Captain Scarlet voice.
Stop the World
on BBC Radio 2 and produced by Alan Nixon.
Series 1 Wednesdays
Matthews, Ronald Fletcher, Sally Grace, Gregory de Polnay and Richard Digance
Geoffrey Atkinson and Jimmy Mulville
14 November 1979 to 30 January 1980 (episode 7 26 December 1979 broadcast
Matthews, Ronald Fletcher, Sally Grace, David Timson and Richard Digance
Written by Geoffrey
Atkinson and John Langdon
12 October 1980 to 28 December 1980
writers as above
7 June 1981 to 23 August 1981
writers as above
1 November 1982 to 31 January 1983 (not broadcast 27 December 1982)
On D Day+1 the BBC launched the Allied Expeditionary Forces
Programme (the AEF) on 285 metres, a joint venture between the Corporation, the
American Forces Network and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Announcing the new service at 05.55 Double British
Summertime on 7 June 1944 was Franklin Engelmann.
The signature tune Oranges
and Lemons (played on the nova-chord) was followed by Rise and
Shine co-hosted by Sergeant Dick Dudley from the USA and A/C2 Ronnie
Waldman from the BBC (later Head of Light Entertainment in the post-war TV
service). The AEF Programme gave listeners in Europe the chance to hear US
shows such as Amos and Andy, Command Performance, The Bob Hope Show and the sound of Glen
Miller and his Orchestra (Miller pictured above with Dinah Shore). Canadian Robert Farnon was also a regular broadcaster
as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Supreme Headquarters Allied
Expeditionary Force. AEF announcers included Margaret Hubble and Jean Metcalfe.
The service closed down on D Day + 417 (28 July 1945) and
in the final programme Ronnie Waldman played a number of versions of the Oranges and Lemons.
Margaret Hubble was on hand to make the final closing
announcement. She would become a regular announcer on the BBC Light Programme
and presenter of Woman’s Hour.
In 1984, to mark the 40th anniversary of the AEF Programme,
Jean Metcalfe (pictured in the 1940s below) returned to the studio to present Oranges and Lemons. The documentary, written by David Rider,
featured contributions from Cecil Madden, Margret Hubble, Stephen Williams,
Robert Farnon, Anne Shelton, Nat Peck, Jimmy Miller, Brian Willey and Alan
This programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 7
June 1984. The producer was Ken Evans. The continuity announcer is Tim Gudgin.