Dr and Nurse Turner wake up in their not-all-too-crazily-patterned-wallpapered home on a Sunday morning to “I’m going next door to the Phillips’ to look at their new dachshund!” shouted up the stairs, followed by running footsteps tripping over a football in their teenage gangliness, and the front door clicking shut.
On such a rare day when neither is on call until the afternoon, Shelagh ventures downstairs to fetch a breakfast tray, while Patrick tunes the wireless in their bedroom, searching for a programme that will finish before Sunday lunch (for one simply did not listen to the radio over Sunday lunch, children).
Shelagh arrives back to the sound of Family Favourites. “Still thinking about staying on the home front during the war then? You were carrying out your duties though… we all were.”
"You more than anyone darling."
This earns Patrick a stern look and a raised eyebrow.
There were three main BBC Radio stations broadcasting in Britain in the 1950s. The most widely listened-to service, the "Light Programme", brought us popular music as well as mainstream light entertainment in the form of variety shows, comedy, and drama. The "Home Service", whilst it also had its share of general entertainment programmes, was the main channel for news, features, and drama of a more demanding kind – and was the home too of regional programming. The "Third Programme" meanwhile was unashamedly highbrow in character: broadcasting in the evenings only, its output consisted of classical music concerts and recitals, talks on matters scientific, philosphical, and cultural, together with poetry readings and classic or experimental plays. In 1957 its weekly hours were cut by 40%.
Also, The General Overseas Service (previously The Empire Service, now the BBC World Service) was an international service which was beamed around the World from London with its news prelude Lilliburlero, famous since 1943. Every news bulletin was preceded by this strict sequence: at 59.32 the announcer would say “This is London”. At 59.35 Lilliburlero was played, followed at 59.55 by the Greenwich Time Signal. The continuity announcer would then give the time - e.g. “Thirteen hours Greenwich Mean Time” and the news studio would be cued and the newsreader would say “BBC World Service. The news, read by….”.
Today’s post brought to you by my own love for radio. Wish the World Service had remained the Empire Service though, hehe.
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