Radiophonic Workshop Audio

Further information regarding some of the following recordings can be found at the BBC’s Genome site: https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk


Unknown Date: English by Radio

Early Radiophonic Workshop interviews.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1957: All That Fall

Described as a ‘new play for broadcasting’, and written by Samual Beckett, this pioneering work was broadcast on 13th January 1957 on the BBC’s Third Programme. It was produced at the Workshop by Donald McWhinnie.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1957: Private Dreams and Public Nightmares

An incredibly weird and fantastic BBC sound experiment by writer Frederick Bradnum, pioneering electronic music composer Daphne Oram, and producer Donald McWhinnie.

Andrea Parker and Daz Quayle have created, more recently, an album of the same name, using many of the sounds created by Daphne Oram.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1960s: A Description of Oramics

Daphne Oram tells us of her invention. It then involved a huge amount of hardware, but today the same effect can be accomplished with a simple computer application. Oram was way ahead of her time.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1960s: Delia on Anthony Newley

Delia Derbyshire talks about her efforts with the singer Anthony Newley, making tracks for an experimental British TV show that were never used. Her work on ‘Moogies Bloogies’ took her nine full days in August 1966.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1963: The Sound Makers

This documentary, originally in the form of an LP record, tells of synthesis and sound manipulation at the Workshop. It was created as part of the BBC’s Recorded Programmes Permanent Library, a special archive of historical material.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1967: Inventions for Radio - 1 - The Dreams

First broadcast in 1967 on the BBC’s Third Programme, this is the first of the ‘re-creations in sounds and voices’ works, written by Barry Bermange, produced by David Thomason and realised by Delia Derbyshire at the Radiophonic Workshop. It consists of five parts: ‘Running’, ‘Falling’, ‘Land’, ‘Sea’ and ‘Colour’.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1967: Inventions for Radio - 2 - Amor Dei

This, the second of the ‘inventions’ by Barry Bermange, was again produced in collaboration with the Workshop. It has four parts: ‘Groping Towards God’, ‘Rorate Coeli’, ‘I’d Like to Believe in God but...’ and ‘There IS a God!’.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1967: Inventions for Radio - 3 - The Afterlife

This ‘invention’ consists of: ‘Death is Going from Shadow into Reality’, ‘It’s Just Like Going to Sleep’, ‘Light. Everywhere is light’ and ‘Death is Just a Changing’.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1968: The Shagbut, Minikin and Flemish Clacket

A spoof on Early Music by David Cain, featuring the ‘Schola Polyphonica Neasdeniensis’ with Peter Weevil and John Throgmorton (shagbut), Tatiana Splod (minikin), René Carter-Thomson and H B Hogg (Flemish clacket). Introduced by Hugo Turvey and Hucbald the Onelegged (of Grobhausen) (fl. c.1452). Instrumental Rondo; Haro! Poppzgeyen ist das Wieselungenslied. An audio cockanbultail.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1970: Soft Machine and the Radiophonic Workshop

This programme, recorded on 1st September, 1970, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 6th October, shows the group ‘Soft Machine’ experimenting with Radiophonic techniques.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1973: August 2026, There Will Come Soft Rains

Malcolm Clarke’s superb dramatisation of Ray Bradbury’s original work, as broadcast 11th May 1977 on Radio 4.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1973: Carry on London

A colourful view of London, produced by John Baker of the Workshop, along with his brother, the author and presenter Richard Anthony Baker. After John’s death Richard wrote: ‘The story of my brother, John Baker, is one of promise and achievement, but ultimately tragedy. His misfortune was to be born into a world for which he was too tender.’

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1973: The Space Between

A look at the Workshop, broadcast on Radio 3 on 4th October 1973. Further information can be seen here.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1973: Wee Have Also Sound Houses

This version of this programme was broadcast on Radio 4 on 29 August 1973.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1976: Narrow Boats

‘A reminiscence of English canals: song, music and sound with the voices of the boat people, past and present.’

A shortened version of this Argo LP recording was broadcast on 18th April, 1976 on BBC Radio 4 FM. It was compiled and produced by Desmond Briscoe at the Radiophonic Workshop, using material from the BBC’s sound archives, as well as other recordings by Dick Mills, Richard Yeoman-Clark And Roger Fenby. Most of the songs are performed by David Blagrove.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1979: Dick Mills Interviews

Dick Mills talks about his work on the 21st anniversary of the Workshop’s opening.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1979: Wee Have Also Sound Houses

A revised repeat of this programme, broadcast on Radio 3 on 1st April 1979 to celebrate the Workshop’s 21st anniversary.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1979: Sound in Mind

First broadcast on 2nd April 1979 on Radio 3. ‘The aural stimulation of the imagination - an exploration compiled and introduced by Michael Smee, illustrated and discussed by Marghinita Laski, Antony Hopkins, Ian Rodger, Michael Bakewell and others [including Malcolm Clarke, Dick Mills and Peter Howell]. Realised at the Radiophonic Workshop by Peter Howell and John Downer. Devised and produced by Desmond Briscoe.’ Note that this recording was originally made on cassette from an FM radio transmission, so is of variable quality.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1983: Inferno Revisited

First broadcast on 17th April 1983, on BBC Radio 4, this musical play, composed and directed by Peter Howell and inspired by Dante’s Inferno, a work of the early 14th century, takes you on a guided tour of the Hell of today. The music was realised at the Workshop, along with the voices of Singcircle, conducted by Gregory Rose, and the strings of Serenata Notturna, conducted by Kriss Rusmanis. The programme, produced by Brian Hodgson, was transmitted in surround sound, which required the listener to use a BBC Matrix UHJ decoder.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

Inferno Revisited - Introduction

Peter Howell in an introductory interview, conducted by Mark Russell when the above programme was repeated on 26th October 1993 as part of Russell’s ‘Between The Ears’ series.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1985: Peace on Earth

This BBC Radio 1 broadcast of Christmas 1985 is a montage of music and news events of the year, reflecting the concerns of the time. It includes the voices of Emmanuel Mckenzie and Jonathan Cunliffe, as well as documentary recordings from BBC sound archives. Produced by John Forrest, it was created by Richard Attree and Jonathan Gibbs of the Workshop, along with studio manager Ted De Bono.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1988: Waveguide - Inside the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

In this programme from the BBC World Service, Roger Limb gives a guided tour of the Workshop, its history and its work, including its connections with ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

1991: The Revelation

Broadcast as an episode of ‘Between the Ears’ via Radio 3 on 2nd November 1993, this fifth piece in the series of dramas created by Peter Howell, is taken from the final and most exotic book of the Bible, featuring, among others, Judy Dench, Derek Jacobi and the BBC Singers.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2001: Delia Derbyshire Remembered

The radio report of Delia Derbyshire’s death in 2001.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2002: Blue Veils and Golden Sands

Broadcast on 23rd December 2002, on BBC Radio 4, and written by Martyn Wade, this is a dramatisation of the life of the late Delia Derbyshire, one of the most colourful and interesting composers in the world of electronic music. Only those who actually knew her can say if her depiction here is accurate, but the producers of this programme were wise enough to consult another woman in the music industry, Elizabeth Parker, who also created the original music. The programme was directed by Cherry Cookson.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2004: Peter Zinovieff

Broadcast on 14th Jun 2004 on BBC Radio 4. In the sixties and seventies, Zinovieff’s pioneering computer music studio was used by visitors as diverse as Harrison Birtwistle and Pink Floyd. He inspired poet Katrina Porteous to go in search of this unpredictable muse. Produced by Adam Fowler.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2008: Selected Radiophonic Works

Richard Coles tells the extraordinary story of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2008: Wee Have Also Sound Houses

Broadcast on Radio 3 on 3rd August 2008 to mark the Workshop’s 50th anniversary.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2009: Claudia Winkleman at Maida Vale Studios

A trip around the famous BBC music studios, as transmitted on 30th October, 2009.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2009: Front Row at the Maida Vale Studios

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’ visits the studios on 30th October, 2009.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2009: The Digitisation of a Radio Station

Broadcast on 31st October 2009, the 75th anniversary of Maida Vale studios, this programme explores how radio material had to be digitised for future use and includes contributions from the Radiophonic Workshop.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2010: Archive on 4 - Sculptress of Sound - The Lost Works of Delia Derbyshire

In this programme, broadcast on 27th March 2010, Matthew Sweet celebrates the life and work of the composer Delia Derbyshire.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2011: Fireside Chat - Elizabeth Parker

An interview from the Red Bull Music Academy website.

© Red Bull Radio

2013: Into The Music - That Doctor Who Sound

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the TV series ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Into The Music’ focuses on its equally famous and enduring musical theme and the Radiophonic Workshop that created it.

© Australian Broadcasting Corporation

2013: Radiophonic Workshop Live At Maida Vale

A discussion and performances on Radio 6 Music from the Radiophonic Workshop ‘band’, formed after the BBC department’s closure.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2013 The Future is Handmade - Delia Derbyshire’s Universes of Sound

These field recordings from the ‘Delia Day’ event include Tim Concannon talking to academics at Manchester University, who are now responsible for conserving Delia’s ‘home collection’ of tapes.

© Resonance 104.4 FM / Manchester University / Tim Concannon / Rights holders

2013: Late Junction - Walls and Daphne Oram Session

Fiona Talkington presents a session from Walls and Daphne Oram alongside her varied, late-night selection of music. Broadcast on 30th May 2013.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2014 Free Thinking - BBC Radiophonic Workshop

In this programme, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Matthew Sweet brings together Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Peter Howell and Mark Ayres to reflect on the days and nights spent in the Workshop, coaxing ageing machines into otherworldly life, and pioneering electronic sounds and music.

© British Broadcasting Corporation

2017 Bleep with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

In ‘Bleep’, the NTS radio show, members of the Radiophonic Workshop band discuss past and future projects.

© NTS

Special thanks to Paul Bristow, Mike Brown and David Huggins.


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© Various rights holders

© Text by Ray White, 2019