Web Page No 2132
14th February 2015
Happy Valentines Day!!!!
Top Picture: An original recording of ‘Calling all Workers’
Middle Picture: George Elrick from Housewives Choice.
Lower Picture: The crew of HMS Troutbridge
Bottom Picture: The original cast of Dick Barton Special Agent
Last week I looked at TV themes, this week it’s the turn of the radio. Let’s start with ‘Calling all Workers’ by Eric Coates, the theme tune to ‘Music While You Work’. ‘Music While You Work’ was a daytime radio programme of continuous live popular music broadcast in the UK twice daily on workdays from June 1940 until September 1967 initially in the Forces / General Forces Programme and after the war in the BBC Light Programme and in the mornings, on the Home Service. By playing non-stop popular / light music at an even tempo it aimed to help factory workers become more productive. For a period, a third edition was broadcast in the late evening for night-shift workers. The programme originally consisted of live music (light orchestras, dance bands, brass and military bands and small instrumental ensembles). In order to make studios more available during the day, it was decided in 1963 that the shows would be pre-recorded (often in the evening or on Sundays). The programme began and ended with ‘Calling All Workers’ by Eric Coates.
‘Housewives' Choice’ was a radio record request programme broadcast every morning from 1946 to 1967 on the Light Programme. It played a wide range of popular music designed to appeal to housewives at home during the day. Like many other radio shows in the era it achieved massive audiences as there was no competition. The distinctive theme music was ‘In Party Mood’ by Jack Strachey. The programme had a different presenter, often referred to at the time as a compere, every week. Among those who returned most often was George Elrick, who sang his own lyrics over the theme music, beginning with "Dooodle-dum-de- doodle- dum" and ending with "I'll be with you all again tomorrow morning". The programme finished when the Light Programme was replaced by Radio 1 and Radio 2 in 1967. Its short-lived successor, "Family Choice", went out on both Radios 1 and 2, but had itself been discontinued by 1970. In 1982 a radio series called "When Housewives Had The Choice?" with Russell Davies, Maureen Lipman and Julie Covington, looked back over the Housewives' Choice years, and a spin-off album of the most frequently requested tunes was released. This 1980s radio show also produced a full set of lyrics to the original housewives choice theme tune sung by Julie Covington.
Changing the genre let us look at comedy and one of the most popular radio programmes of all time, The Navy Lark, in fact the three stars Leslie Phillips, Stephen Murray and Jon Pertwee would clear their diaries when a new recording schedule was announced. It was the proving ground for many actors who went on to appear on our TV sets for years Ronnie Barker, Tenniel Evans, Heather Chasen, Dennis Price, Michael Bates and Judy Cornwall. The show's theme tune was 'Trade Wind Hornpipe' written and performed by Tommy Reilly. The Navy Lark's musical interludes between scenes enhanced the show's nautical 'feel' all of which were taken from Tommy Reilly's Barry Music collection. The programme which ran from 1958 to 1977, was strong on creating characters; many of whom acquired enduring catchphrases, most notably from Sub Lieutenant Phillips: "Corrrrr", "Ooh, nasty...", "Oh lumme!", and "Left hand down a bit". "Ev'rybody down!" was a phrase of CPO Pertwee's, necessitated by a string of incomprehensible navigation orders by Sub Lt. Phillips, and followed by a sound effect of the ship crashing. Also, wheneve rCPO Pertwee had some menial job to be done, Able Seaman Johnson, Ronnie Barker, was always first in line to do it, inevitably against his will: "You're rotten, you are!". Other recurring verbal features were the invented words "humgrummits" and "floggle-toggle" which served to cover all manner of unspecified objects ranging from foodstuffs to naval equipment.
One of the best known theme tunes belonged to Dick Barton Special Agent. The theme being ‘Devils Galop’ by Charles Williams . The programme was hugely popular on the BBC Light Programme between 7th October 1946 to 30th March 1951 it aired at 6.45 (later 6.15) each weekday evening. There were a total of 711 episodes with peak audience of 15 million, in fact the last episode was marked by a leading article in The Times.The serial followed the adventures of ex-Commando Captain Richard Barton MC (Noel Johnson, later Duncan Carse and Gordon Davies) who, with his mates Jock Anderson (Alex McCrindle) and Snowy White (John Mann) solved all sorts of crimes, escaped from dangerous situations and saved the nation from disaster time and again. Beginning in 1948, the Hammer film company made three Dick Barton films and long after the radio series had been replaced by The Archers, Southern Television made a television version in 1979.
Finally a look at an early magazine programme In Town Tonight which was broadcast on Saturday evening from 1933 to 1960 and was an early example of the chat show. Its theme music was the ‘Knightsbridge March’ by Eric Coates and introductory sequence had a voice crying "Stop! Once more we stop the mighty roar of London's traffic to see who is In Town Tonight ..." and at the end of the programme the voice would say "Carry on, London". The 1000th episode included appearances by Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Jane Russell, and Doris Day: this was a few weeks before it ended. Towards the end of its run the programme was simultaneously broadcast on BBC Television.
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News and Views:
On this day 14th February 1960-1965
On 14/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was 18 US figure skaters killed in air crash.
On 14/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/02/1963 the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra.
On 14/02/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/02/1965 the number one single was You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Canada's Maple Leaf flag raised for first time