Old Radio(s)

Having grown up with my Grandparents in the 1960’s – in a house with no television – it’s not surprising that I’ve fond memories of long evenings sitting round the ‘wireless‘ listening mainly to BBC Radio 4. The box in the corner in our house was not a television but a wonderful old bakelite Bush valve radio Model No.DAC 90 dating from 1946 – identical to the one pictured below. Sadly I left it behind during one of my many house moves; anyway it was getting a bit the worse for wear but I’m quite inclined to track down a replacement.

There was something very comforting about the radio, the appearance of it and the way it took time for the valves to warm and start to glow before any sound could be heard. This was way before the FM era and the choice was Medium Wave or Long Wave. I seem to remember that it was all foreign stations on Long Wave except for BBC Radio 3 but it’s a long time ago! On Radio 4 one was treated to a range of comedy and plays far superior to anything on offer today – Hancock’s Half Hour, The Clitheroe Kid, Round the Horn, Steptoe & Son…and superb drama such as Inspector West, The Archers, Sherlock Holmes…..

After lunch there was Listen with Mother presented by Daphne Oxenford which always started with – “Are you sitting comfortably? Well then I’ll begin” ….followed by Women’s Hour. Numerous quiz shows filled much of the programming such as Any Questions and, of course, Any Answers. Another favourite in our house was Gardeners Question Time.

Other comforting constants in a rapidly changing world were simple things such as “Sailing By” the theme which preceded the Shipping Forecast, the chimes of Big Ben and various beeps such as the time signal. All programmes were presented in the best BBC English – none of your modern Americanisms to be found here.

Anyway, enough for tonight. My next post on this page will cover some interesting sites where it’s possible to download, for FREE, some of the best radio shows ever made.  I can’t resist adding “Sailing By” below – surely the ultimate comfort tune as you drift off to sleep?

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