With BBC Radio 4 moving to long wave in November 1978, and the improved national coverage that brought, it was able to promote itself as “Radio 4 UK.”
In the run-up to the wavelength changes the network sought to publicise both the new programmes as well as the existing services it provided. Most of this promotional work was voiced by David Symonds.
|Radio Times 23 November 1978|
The UK Theme
When, in 2006, the then Controller of Radio 4 Mark Damazer axed the UK Theme that opened the station each morning even the BBC got into a muddle about when it was first used. The history of Radio 4 online continues to erroneously state that the UK Theme was introduced in 1973 when, of course, it was launched in 1978 to coincide with Radio 4 UK.
The UK Theme was aired on Radio 4 before 23 November 1978 whenever there was an appropriate gap in the schedules. Here, for example, you can hear it played on the 20th and introduced by announcer Edgar Martin:
Despite what a certain online encyclopaedia says this is not the first play for the theme. My own recording is from Friday 17 November when Charles Collville was on duty. Here’s what he had to say after playing the theme:
Let’s hear the theme in use to open proceedings on Radio 4. Moving forward to 29 January 1982 this is Eugene Fraser welcoming in a new day of broadcasting:
Before the UK Theme was introduced Radio 4 started each day with another Fritz Spiegel composition known as 'A Skipping Tune'. This had been in use from the summer of 1973. Here's an on-air recording from 1977. The music starts 30 seconds in after the test tone beeps: