Author: Broadcasting in the West

‘This is the West of England Home Service…’

‘This is the West of England Home Service.’ Three voices, familiar to listeners in the Forest of Dean and the Channel Islands, in Penzance and Swindon, in Weymouth and Southampton. Daily the three announcers of the BBC’s West Region — Hugh Shirreff, Elsie Otley, and Douglas Vaughan — identify over the air the programmes which originate in the west country. Concerts, plays, and features, talks, news bulletins, church services, broadcasts from farm and factory and village hall, programmes for children: a complete radio service in miniature, reflecting the life of seven English counties and the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey.

‘This is the West of England Home Service.’

‘THIS IS THE WEST OF ENGLAND HOME SERVICE’ – Douglas Vaughan launches a West Region programme on the air.

But what exactly, from the listener’s point of view, do those words mean? What have they got to do with the London programme and the other Regions, with the Light Programme and the Third? Which broadcasts are ‘regional’ and what is the point of them? The answer given by West Region’s Controller, Gerald Beadle, is that the regional contribution is ‘one thread in the whole pattern of British broadcasting’. A thread which adds distinctive colour and emphasis, is insufficient to stand by itself, but gives richness and variety to the whole.

How then is the pattern made up, and where do the several threads fit in? British broadcasting starts as a national service. London, as the capital and cultural focus of the country, originates a continuous service of programmes intended to have a nation-wide appeal, to be as intelligible and pleasing to Yorkshiremen and Cornish-men as to Highlanders or men of Kent. Saturday Night Theatre and Twenty Questions and ITMA are designed for all listeners who have in common the simple fact of being British (or, wider still, of understanding the English language). This London programme is fed out to a network of Home Service transmitters throughout the United Kingdom. With its allied Services, the Light and the Third, it is the staple of Home listening.

But it is not enough to satisfy all our needs. Few people are content to be undifferentiated ‘British’ all the time. We each have our national interests and our local interests. We want sometimes to be Scotsmen and Welshmen and north-countrymen. Even if we look a bit standardized it is no use pretending that a ‘Geordie’, a Cornishman, and a ‘Norfolk dumpling’ have identical ideas and hobbies and interests.

‘GIVE US SOME TONE, SOUTHAMPTON’ – Testing lines with outside broadcast engineers in the region. Hour by hour Bristol Control Room feeds out programmes to the transmitters.

Bristol’s Engineer-in-Charge, Gerald Daly.

As the ‘national’ programme spreads out from London, therefore, it is modified and adapted to local audiences. The thread of regional broadcasting is woven into the final pattern. In each region the programme planners discard those items in the national service which are of least value locally and replace them with regional material. If they plan well, they offer their listeners a blend of national and local interest—neither insipidly cosmopolitan nor narrowly parochial.

And so through the day the Control Room engineers switch to and fro, from the London ‘pipe-line’ to local studios in Bristol or Plymouth, or to outside points where West Region engineers have set up temporary microphones. The transmitters at Start Point and Clevedon and Bartley take up the result and spread it from Portsmouth to the Scillies. And what comes out of your radio when you tune to 307 or 217 is the West of England Home Service, addressed to you as a Briton and a westcountryman — as both.

Of Special Interest

What then goes into regional broadcasting? What is there in it that has any special interest for west-country folk? First of all, there is the reflection of day-to-day life. The London news bulletins tell us what is happening on the national scale, at home and abroad. A treaty signed. A change in coupon values. New wage-scales for railwaymen. Things like that — equally interesting to Scotsman, Englishman, or Welshman. But that is not all the news we want to hear. Events in our own city or island or county — housing plans, local sports results, an industrial exhibition opening, council elections — these are important to those whose lives are connected with them. And so every evening, except Sundays, the West comes on the air with a regional news bulletin.

‘THIS GOES AFTER THE FALMOUTH ITEM’ – Assistant News Editor Stuart Wyton and Senior Announcer Hugh Shirreff make a last-minute change in ‘Tonight’s News from the West Country’.

Throughout the day the Bristol News Room has been receiving reports contributed by some of the 130 correspondents who ‘cover’ the region. An average day will bring in about fifty items, of which anything up to twenty may be used. The news editor selects, condenses, decides which items have the greatest importance or public interest, and drafts the bulletin in its final form. In the studio the news reader runs through it and checks its length for precise timing. A last-minute item is slipped into place hurriedly and, as London signs off with the words ‘That is the end of the General News’, Bristol takes over with the familiar opening words ‘And here is tonight’s news from the West Country’.

The network of correspondents provides the basis of the day’s news. Their reports on what is happening in their home districts build up the general picture of the day’s events. But the modern listener wants something more than a factual bulletin. He wants interviews, eye-witness descriptions, expert commentaries. This means two kinds of supplement to the straightforward bulletin: the prepared talk by someone well informed on a current topic, and the use of recordings made ‘on the spot’.

START POINT – Heard from the Scillies to Dover and far inland – West Region’s main transmitter, on the Devon coast near Start Point.

The prepared talk — the News Talk, in other words — is a regular adjunct to the bulletins, and the speakers include art critics, sports journalists, farming authorities, BBC commentators—men and women of distinction in every field with something to say on a topic that’s in the news. Taken together, the bulletins and news talks give the listener a broad, comprehensive picture of what’s going on in the public life of the West. The world of sport is dealt with similarly in a Saturday review of the day’s events and in an advance talk on Friday evenings.

CITY BY NIGHT – On Plymouth quay, Bill Duncalf records the night scene of a west-country water front.

Recordings are used to give personality, animation, colour, and graphic reality to the studio broadcasts. The BBC’s recording cars — a familiar sight in hundreds of west-country villages and towns — can truly be called ‘the ears of the listener’. Through them he hears the voice of a statesman at a banquet in Southampton, the bustle and excitement of Bampton Pony Fair, the conversation of a Wiltshire shepherd, the roar of a new engine on test in an aircraft factory, the street scenes at Helston during the Furry Dance, sounds which give the feeling of ‘being there’, sounds which tell us what it was really like. These ‘on-the-spot’ recordings are the pictures, the illustrations, of radio. Though used in many programmes outside the news field, they are heard chiefly in The Week in the West and as ‘inserts’ in the daily news.

‘UP IN THE MORNING EARLY’ – Through the night a West Region recording-car drives to Stonehenge to be there in time to greet the dawn – and the Druids.

SPORT IN THE WEST

 

F.N.S. CREEK, compere of ‘Sport in the West’ and Wiltshire schoolmaster, is well known to younger listeners as Children’s Hour Sports Coach.

 

‘SO WE COVER IT THIS WAY’ – In a Jersey hotel before the Road Race, Nicky Crocker does the talking. The commentators – Alan Hess and Frank Buckland – think it over.

Recording Cars

West Region’s recording cars are designed to work in every sort of condition. The recording gear is powered by batteries carried in the car and does not need to stand on a level surface. The records have a duration of about four minutes, and forty or fifty can be cut in a single session. Based on Bristol and Plymouth, the cars move swiftly to their assignments as the news breaks. One goes perhaps to Stonehenge, timed to arrive at 3 a.m. for recording at dawn; and from there on to Portsmouth to interview a V.I.P. and record the ceremony in which he is taking part; stopping again on the way back to record children at a Dorset school for inclusion in Children’s Hour. A second car meanwhile has gone from Plymouth to St. Austell for a china-clay item, and then on to Exmoor for a farming story. In all weathers, at all times, the recording cars follow their ceaseless hunt for news, for vivid sound-pictures, for interesting snapshots of west-country life: arriving on time to run out the cable, set up the mike, prepare the recording gear, and wait for the routine cue from producer or commentator — ‘I’m going ahead, Jimmy, in ten seconds from now’.

‘HOW DID WE SOUND?’ – At Camp in Gloucester an engineer plays back recordings made there for ‘Village on the Air’. Speakers listen anxiously to the sound of their voices, and neighbours comment on their success.

When it’s over, the producer, being a programme-man, will ask anxiously, ‘How did it sound?’ And the engineer, being a technician, will reply, ‘A bit boomy, old man — I still don’t like the balance. I think you’d better cut another one. Try your mike nearer the wall’. All’s well eventually, though; the local speakers are thanked for their help, the cable’s reeled up, the car moves off — and once again it’s just so many more miles to the next ‘ten seconds from now’. No credits over the air for the engineer, for it’s his tradition to be anonymous. No mention therefore of Don and Jimmy and Ferdy and Bill and the rest. But how much poorer the programme would be without their skill and patience.

The Week in the West

AN INFORMAL INTERLUDE IN A ROYAL TOUR – West Regions’ Programme Head, Frank Gillard, with His Majesty on board H.M.S. VANGUARD during the visit to South Africa.

Outside recordings, like films, are cut and edited before they are ready for performance. That is the producer’s job. In the case of a news-magazine like The Week in the West there may be forty or fifty minutes of recordings to be selected and condensed into a quarter of an hour’s broadcast. The first step is to play back the whole batch of recordings and discard those which are unsatisfactory, either on technical grounds or because the material or the speakers are not good enough. From the remainder the producer chooses anything outstanding and begins to plan the general layout of his programme. ‘We’ll lead off with the Sherborne item — it’s a strong one. The launching ceremony must go in for its news value. And as those two are both pretty heavy I’m inclined to tie it off with Johnnie’s bit — it’s light and amusing and good radio’.

Now it’s a case of arithmetic and ‘mark-ing-up’. Fifty seconds of the first disc, starting where the Mayor says ‘Today it gives me great pleasure’, and coming out on applause. The programme engineer marks the grooves of the record at the appropriate spots with a soft yellow pencil. One minute five seconds of disc two. Nineteen seconds of disc three and a quick change-over to the beginning of disc four. And so on, totalling up the minutes and seconds, allowing for Pat Beech’s linking material between the records, allowing too for the opening and closing announcements.

‘COTTAGE ON THE AIR’ – At Bincombe in Dorest Bernard Fishwick takes the microphone to a west-country fireside.

The first rough count will show a surplus — perhaps several minutes too long. The process of cutting now becomes more severe and good material is thinned out to make room for something better. Items are reduced by taking out one speaker whose remarks don’t add very much to what someone else is saying. And then there’s the Mayor — ‘he’s good, but I wish we could get twenty seconds out of him’. The programme engineer plays over the Mayor’s disc again, listening for a chance to come in at a later point. ‘Look, we could skip the opening and come in where he says “This is a milestone”.’

Agreed. That will save eighteen seconds. The engineer makes a fresh mark on the disc and makes a note to ignore the previous one. ‘Disc One. Start at mark two.’

‘TWENTY-THREE SECONDS OVER-RUN’ – ‘The Week in the West’ is still a shade too long. Pat Beech studies the stop-watch while editor Peter Maggs considers what to cut out.

Gradually the chosen excerpts from the week’s recordings are trimmed down to the vital core. Peter Maggs has written the linking sentences which will carry the listener’s attention tidily from one recording to the next. The cue-sheet is prepared, so that the engineer at the ‘gram-bank’ (a series of gramophone turntables) knows the running order and the opening and closing words which should come up when the needle strikes his yellow pencil marks. Because of quick change-overs from one disc to the next he is working on a ‘gram-bank’ with six turntables. Listening to his disc through headphones he can work ahead, setting up each disc in advance with the pick-up needle poised over the precise marked spot. As he hears the cue-line from the studio (‘After the unveiling the Mayor said—’) he brings down the needle, turns the knob which opens the gram ‘channel’ and hears the Mayor take up the story calmly with what was originally his third sentence. ‘It is a milestone. . . .’

The programme is now nearly ready. A final complete run-through checks the overall timing and the smoothness of continuity from one item to the next. Pat Beech keeps glancing anxiously at his stop-watch during that last run and Peter Maggs decides to cut twelve more seconds to be on the safe side. ‘There must be a loose sentence somewhere, and anyway the discs could come in quicker in some places.’ Some slight adjustments of this sort are made, and one more edition of The Week in the West is ready to go out. An illustrated record of some of the week’s events. Fifteen minutes of broadcasting. Behind it many hours of preparation, travelling, recording, rehearsing.

Outside Broadcasts

‘YOU CAN HEAR THE CARS ROARING PAST’ – O.B. Engineers set up their gear in strange places. For the Jersey Road Race Roy Furneaux, O.B. Chief, and Sid Day work in a hotel high above the course.

The day-to-day life of the West. News bulletins, commentaries, mobile recordings. But that is not all. Sometimes on the road a recording car may pass another group of BBC engineers, travelling with a different sort of equipment. Not recording this time, but gear for a ‘live’ broadcast. These are the Outside Broadcast Engineers — ‘the O.B. boys’. Throughout the year their microphones appear all over the west-country, in every kind of place — from the obvious to the impossible. You’ll see them in cricket-pavilions, on football grounds, in public halls, in churches and lighthouses, in submarines and aeroplanes, and in fact anywhere where there’s good broadcasting material which—for one reason or another — cannot be brought to a studio. They are the men who ‘take us places’ — to the Jersey Road Race, to the county ground when Jack Crapp is standing up to Lindwall and playing himself into the England side, to the Bishop Rock Lighthouse on Christmas Day, and to the Corbiere at midnight on New Year’s Eve, to cathedrals and remote country churches, to the rough cliffs of Lundy and the summer paradise of Sark.

‘RACE CARD’ – All set to go, in the commentators’ box at the Jersey Road Race.

Wherever a microphone is wanted they take it, and set it up, and at the appointed time their signal comes through — so regularly and automatically that one forgets they perhaps made a fifty-mile detour because roads were snowbound, or had to hump their gear ashore through the breakers from an open boat, or were working under such difficulties that the cue to go ahead had to be given by flashing car headlamps to a distant look-out. Stan Cooms’ trip to the Bishop Rock for Edward Ward’s Christmas Day broadcast stretched on for three weeks and they were both very glad to be taken off in the end by breeches buoy. Nicky Crocker’s customarily cheerful interruption of the Plug in the Wall series sounded as lively as usual when he spoke from the Breaksea Lightship; but he was in fact being swung about inside the lantern during a storm, had been very reasonably seasick during rehearsal, and was not to see his engineers and their gear safely ashore until two days later, when the seas moderated. But the broadcast, like hundreds of others, went off without a hitch— though there could have been plenty— and not only technical ones….

‘GETTING DOWN TO IT’ – Ludwig Koch, undaunted by thoughts of Canute, urges the sea to stand and deliver. Senior programme engineer, Peter Ellingham, is prepared for all emergencies.

These are the high spots, of course. The life of an O.B. engineer is not un-relievedly hazardous. The perils and adventures that he normally talks about have more to do with the appalling acoustics of a local hall, the difficulty of getting a good balance between different sections of an orchestra or a choir, the temperamental behaviour of portable transmitters, the problem of placing an effects mike so that the crowd noises sound heavy and realistic without drowning the commentator.

 

The First Duty

For a straightforward Outside Broadcast — say, a service from Salisbury Cathedral or a concert by the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra — the O.B. engineers set up a local control-point which is linked to Bristol or Plymouth by Post Office land-line. In other words, they convert church or hall into a temporary studio. Where several microphones are used their intake is ‘mixed’ by the engineers on the spot, and the result is ‘piped up the line’.

‘FROM A CHURCH IN THE WEST COUNTRY’ – Five hundredweight of O.B. gear is assembled in the vestry.

But there are times when this arrangement will not do. There are no Post Office lines to link up with aeroplanes or ships. There are no telephone lines at all, or only inadequate ones, to the more inaccessible islands such as Alderney and Lundy. And how do you broadcast from the back of a moving elephant, or from a rowing-boat on the Severn with the Bore approaching? — to quote two strange items which have been heard in the West of England programmes.

THE SERVICE HAS JUST ENDED – the red light goes out – broadcast over. Church off the air. Time now for questions.

The best solution of that sort of problem is to use a portable radio transmitter, working on ultra short waves. With these transmitters, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm can easily be linked together—the signals from each island being concentrated on a single control point in Guernsey, and relayed thence to Bristol. Links from ship to shore, from aeroplane and elephant’s howdah work in the same way.

‘THAT’S THE TEAM, AND NOW FOR OUR FIRST QUESTION’ – Freddy Grisewood opens a session of ‘Any Questions.’ Lewis Hastings, Lady Biolet Bonham-Carter, Ralph Wightman, and St. John Ervine, listen carefully as Taunton’s first question is put at the microphone.

By this variety of means the BBC reports, reproduces, and explains the day-to-day events and activities of the West Region. Thanks to it we know, as we never knew before, what is happening in our part of the country; and we have a share in it all, as fireside spectators. The first duty of regional broadcasting is to put on the air the life of the region when and where it takes shape and has value.

‘BROADCASTS IN PROGRESS’ – Post Office engineers play a vital part in outside broadcasts. Every link in the network of land-lines must be checked and controlled.

Adding Opinion

To do all this without adding the sauce of opinion would be to rob the region of much of its distinctive flavour. The west-country, like any other part of Britain, makes views as well as news — views characteristic of its history, its culture, its temperament. And so the West Region sponsors a group of programmes which reflect and stimulate regional ideas and opinions. In Speak your Mind, in Any Questions, in Air Space, it offers an open platform for intellectual controversy with no holds barred—apart from a respect for the ordinary decencies of debate.

‘WHEN IT’S MY TURN, I’LL TELL THEM SOMETHING’ – People at Westbury take turns to speak their minds. Opinions are forthright and spontaneous, and Gordon McMurtrie keeps the ball rolling.

ROBERT WALLER, producer of ‘Window on the West’.

In these programmes the microphone goes to the public. It is wide open to catch whatever subjects engage the attention of the West. In our cities and larger towns Freddy Grisewood introduces teams of eminent speakers to answer spontaneously any question put by a member of the audience, by Lord Mayor, or car-park attendant, or district nurse, by anyone who will come to the microphone and put a query. The result is heard in Any Questions. In Speak your Mind, which goes to the smaller towns, it is the audience which answers the questions. Gordon McMurtrie puts queries sent in by listeners, and volunteers from the audience give their answers. ‘Are country people better fed than townspeople?’ ‘How much pocket-money should children have?’ The citizens of Blandford or Caine or Crediton get up from their chairs and converge on McMurtrie and his microphone: and there are fireworks and humour and lively debate until the question is thrashed out.

‘THINKING ALOUD’ – In the Bishop’s study the Reverend Frederic Greeves of Didsbury Methodist College and the Reverend Martin Willson, who organizes West Region’s religious programmes, plan a new series of broadcasts with the Bishop of Bristol.

And for those who aren’t present, for the mass of listeners who probably want to contradict one speaker or the other, there is Air Space which carries on the argument — and starts new ones — by correspondence. This is the West Country’s radio equivalent of a letter to the press, broadcasting comments on programmes, on opinions expressed over the air, on any sort of subject which has regional interest. And to give shape and pretext to this open forum of opinion, there are two further programmes dealing with public affairs. The West at Westminster summarizes the attention of Parliament to matters in which the region has a stake and reports the activities of west-country M.P.s; and County Commentary provides a platform for prominent west-country journalists to speak on local topics of their own choice, to give us in fact a leading article over the air.

L.K. WAY of the ‘Western Morning News’ who gives West region listeners a fortnightly review of west-country affairs and personalities in Parliament, has a word beforehand with Honiton’s M.P., Cedric Drewe.

Taken together, this group of programmes is something quite revolutionary in our public life. It is not entirely fanciful to say that not since Wessex ceased to be a kingdom—which is going back more than somewhat — has the West had the means of forming any unified opinion about its own affairs. In this field regional broadcasting fills the gap between the national press and the local press and should bring greater vitality to both. On many issues the west-countryman’s point of view is different from the Londoner’s or the Scotsman’s. It is the province of regional broadcasting to reflect that distinctiveness and make it articulate — a fact that Parliament recognized when it called for the establishment of a Regional Advisory Council to ensure a ‘close touch with movements of thought and opinion’ in the region.

 

Culture

GEOFFREY GRIGSON – West country naturalist and broadcaster.

What else is there in this regional broadcasting? What else makes the West of England Home Service different from the other Home Services? There is, for one thing, all that is meant by the not very attractive word ‘culture’. Culture interpreted widely — to mean not only the arts, but the general way of life. The West country has its own natural endowment, its special interests and gifts, its special heritage and aptitudes. To take visible things first — its countryside and its native styles of building are quite different from those of the Fen country or the Scottish highlands. It is not much industrialized. It has an immense coastline in relation to its land area. All very obvious facts, but translate them into terms of programmes and you quickly find that the westcountryman is more interested in gale warnings than the Midlander, better acquainted with rural life than the Londoner, not so factory-minded as the Lancashireman. And to broadcast to a Cornish farmer about mustard-growing (invaluable though it would be to a Norfolk man) is about as helpful as a discourse on bee-keeping in Tibet.

‘THRESHING IT OUT!’ – Will Plant (left), a Somerset farmer, discusses the rights and wrongs of linseed-growing with Bill Coysh, Robert Waller, and Ralph Wightman

‘GALE WARNING’ – Or maybe fog coming up. Fishermen aboard a Looe trawler switch on for the wheater forecast.

Here, then, regional broadcasting has to adapt the national pattern carefully to local needs. Western farmers and growers and gardeners have their own talks and specialist services, based on local conditions. Those who broadcast to them are men and women who know the land and climate of the south-west. Public events in the farming world of the region are covered specially and reported by West Region. The religious life of the West is reflected and fostered by broadcasts from our churches and chapels and from the West of England studios. To meet the needs of fishermen in Devon, Cornwall, and the Channel Islands, West Region arranged for day-time gale warnings to be broadcast before the 1 o’clock news. And one example leads to another in every sphere from book reviews to charitable appeals. In science and in literature West Region’s contribution is to make known and appraise the achievements of the West. We have our own history, our celebrities and local worthies, our antiquities and our pioneers who should not be without honour among us; it is only natural that those things which grow out of our familiar native landscape and customs should hold more interest for us than those whose roots and relevance are elsewhere.

‘LEANING ON THE GATE’ – Deep Dorset in his voice – the rhythms of the countryside in his thoughts – Ralph Wightman is heard regularly in West Region Programmes.

Music and drama

DOYEN OF REGIONAL DRAMATISTS – Eden Philpotts relaxes in his eighty-sixth year, with Sara. For the last twenty years the famous Devon playright has been an enthusiastic contributor to west-country broadcasting.

GILBERT PHELPS – Talks producer.

In music and in drama the West has its characteristic traditions. Writers like Thomas Hardy, Eden Philpotts, and Charles Lee speak to Dorset, to Devon, to Cornwall, with a special intimacy and understanding of local foibles. The folksongs of the West and the Cornish style of choral singing are similarly inimitable. They are only one thread of our cultural pattern, it is true, for the arts are no great respecters of frontiers; but they express something vital and unique in the make-up of west-countrymen.

During the war the resources of local culture were so uprooted and diffused, so generalized in the national pool, that the return of regional broadcasting in 1945 amounted almost to a new venture. The pre-war fabric had largely collapsed. Choirs and orchestras had disbanded, broadcasters of every kind had moved or died or lost touch. The programme staff of West Region were mainly newcomers with no pre-war recollections to guide them, so there was much to be done.

KATHLEEN FRAZIER at the piano.

A few experienced radio stalwarts were available — among actors one thinks of Phyllis Smale, George Holloway, Hedley Goodall — but in the main the first need was to make a new survey of the region’s resources; to find more actors and dramatists, singers, choirs, bands, and orchestras, whose work was up to broadcasting standards.

‘WHAT A CONCERT HALL SHOULD BE’ – The Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra plays under the baton of Rudolf Schwarz. Bournemouth’s Winter Gardens, in a setting of pine trees, is now the home of the West region’s premier orchestra.

This meant, of course, a great deal of auditioning. Over a hundred actors and actresses were heard in eighteen months, and about a quarter of them broadcast subsequently. In nine months over two hundred and thirty musicians and singers were heard at auditions, and thirty-five of these broadcast shortly afterwards. There was also considerable auditioning of bands, choirs, and light orchestras, and this search for new talent still, of course, goes on.

PLAN FOR ACTION – Like a general poring over maps, Rudolf Schwarz studies a score before rehearsal at Bournemouth.

Here it’s reasonable to ask why all this is necessary, when the abundance of national talent on which London draws can provide a full programme of music and plays and general entertainment. The answer is that regional broadcasting has the obligation to foster local talent for two reasons: because the opportunities it offers can resist the draining into London of provincial talent (and the consequent impoverishment of local life), and because each region is best fitted to provide its own distinctive style of performance. To present the works of Charles Lee and Eden Philpotts in anything but the Cornish and Devon dialects respectively would be to rob them of their essential quality (and incidentally to foment an uprising in Cornwall and Devon!) The resources of the professional stage in London cannot provide authentic casting in such cases as these and the many other regional dialects which lend diversity and richness to our language throughout the United Kingdom. Again, it is not enough to have thousands of music-lovers dependent on the occasional visits of London orchestras, and the enterprise of the Bournemouth Municipality in forming a first-rate resident orchestra is a fine example of the sort of activity West Region should — and does — support. The primacy of London as the focus of our national culture is indisputable and right; but it has been becoming too strong a magnet. One of the proudest objectives of regional broadcasting is to restore vigour and abundance and exacting standards to local forms of culture. The formation and training of the West Country Studio Orchestra and the West Country Singers are two achievements which show what can be done.

‘THEY SING LIKE ANGELS’ – Music critics have paid many compliments to the West Country Singers. Conducted by West Region’s Head of Music, Reginald Redman, they delight connoisseurs by their exquisite phrasing and bland of tone.

Beyond the West

‘HELLO CHILDREN’ – Mollie Austin, organizer of West Region’s Children’s Hour.

Granted that west-country folk have a special interest in the subject-matter and the talents of their own region — is no-one else interested? Does the West of England Home Service address itself only to the listeners of the West? To that the answer is no, and a more emphatic and comprehensive No than is generally realized. West Region is not designed as a sort of Robinson Crusoe’s island, living to itself alone. Though some local affairs are rightly and truly of only local interest, there are others which have a wider currency. We have our distinctive contribution to make to the national audience, and to audiences overseas. Scarcely a day passes without a request from other departments of the BBC and from overseas broadcasting organizations. Saturday Night Theatre wants Bristol to contribute the play in week 17. Radio News Reel wants this morning’s Plymouth recordings. An American network is asking for a thirty-minute feature on the New Forest. The BBC’s European Service wants to see the script of the Tuesday Talk and hopes recordings are available. Overseas Programme Planners are placing County Mixture in Week 19 — publicity material for this urgently wanted. Looking at Britain wants to include Bodmin Moor and the Isle of Purbeck in its next series — can West Region undertake these?

MAKING FRIENDS WITh THE MIKE – In the Plymouth studios two children settle down before taking part in a hook-up broadcast with the United States.

WILTSHIREMAN and broadcaster, author of the Children’s Hour ‘Cowleaze Farm’ series, speaker in ‘Bird Song of the Month’, and farming journalist, Ralph Whitlock looks as he sounds, a friendly countryman.

And so it goes on, this ‘export’ business of which you will find no sign in your West of England edition of Radio Times. In addition to catering for its own audience, West Region is increasingly busy as a clearing-house for West-country personalities, artists, ideas. Whatever is outstanding in the West is disseminated abroad. This is indeed the national justification of a regional system of broadcasting — that it brings to a wide audience much that would otherwise have gone unnoticed or been imperfectly developed. We tell the story of the West, and present its people, to the world. Recordings made on Exmoor may revive holiday memories for a Londoner, and introduce an American to a beauty-spot of the English countryside which he will later visit as a tourist; while the sound of Exmoor voices may bring the loved atmosphere of his home to an Exmoor man in Kenya or Sydney or Athens.

‘MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK’ was played today by the West Country Studio Orchestra, conducted by Norman Brooks.

Country Questions

‘YOU CAN ALL HAVE A GO ON THE FIRST ONE’ – Producer Bill Coysh sorts out the questions for the ‘Country Questions’ team. Eric Hobbis will deal with the one about musk; Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald can tackle the Camberwell Beauty; it’s warble flies for Ralph Wightman; and Jack Longland wisecracks in between.

LEFT TO RIGHT, AND BACK TO FRONT – Hobbis, Wightman, Fitzgerald, Longland, and Coysh have finished another session. And they are thirsty.

National contributions

A FAVOURITE SPOT FOR WILD GEESE – At Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, Peter Scott has established the Severn Wild-fowl Trust. A world authority on wild geese, Peter Scott is heard in ‘Bird Song of the Month’ and ‘The Naturalist’ which Desmond Hawkins produces.

The contribution which each region makes to national programmes is naturally influenced by local characteristics. In the West we have not got the full-blooded music-hall traditions of the North Country or the wide industrial interests of the Midlands. Ours is primarily a rural area, famous for its magnificent scenery, its rich and varied wild life, and its pleasant country speech. West Region plays its part in every sort of programme, but it is those dealing with the countryside which are in most frequent demand — dramas of the countryside, like The Farmer’s Wife and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and country programmes like The Naturalist and Country Questions.

FANCY MEETING YOU – For three years the wild musical notes of the curlew have introduced each edition of ‘The Naturalist’. Desmond Hawkins says ‘It’s my favourite bird – naturally’.

‘AND YOU CAN JUST HEAR A COCK-PHEASANT IN THE BACKGROUND’ – Ludwig Koch, whose amazing recordings are a feature of West Region nature programmes, listens critically to the day’s results.

The predominance of westcountrymen among the most popular broadcasters about the English countryside is remarkable — one thinks immediately of Ralph Wightman, A. G. Street, Brian Vesey-FitzGerald, Ralph Whitlock. It is natural therefore that most of the BBC’s main series of country and nature broadcasts come from West Region. No less than four series of this kind, with national coverage, originate from the West. The veteran among them, The Naturalist, continues an unbroken run which began three years ago and has now established itself as an authoritative voice which can hold the attention of a wide audience. With the lively and popular Country Questions and Bird Song of the Month it forms a successful trio of regional contributions to the network of Home Services. And for Light programme listeners West Region now originates a monthly nature ‘magazine’ — Out-of-Doors.

‘THE VERY FISH I WAS AFTER’ – Sir Grimwood Mears, whose commentaries by the Wiltshire Avon have become radio classics. Here he is with the man who catches the fish, Frank Sawyer.

So much then, for the scope and content of West Regional programmes. But how are they made up? What happens between the first discussion of an idea and the broadcasting of it in its completed form?

EATING OUT OF HIS HAND – Swans – and listeners – take kindly to the easy manner of Brian Vesey-FitzGerald, the BBC’s No. 1 naturalist broadcaster.

The best way to reply to that is to trace the stories of two people — let’s call them John Wood and Ruth Drake — who happen to walk up Whiteladies Road together to Bristol’s Broadcasting House. Ruth Drake is a young actress. She has had some professional repertory experience and she feels she is now well enough equipped to face the test of an audition. Mr. Wood is a man with an idea. He knows that a Wiltshire factory has just perfected a rocket capable of reaching the moon and of automatically transmitting scientific-instrument readings. The invention has been secret, but news of it is shortly to be released. Mr. Wood has come to Broadcasting House to point out that the invention and construction of this rocket — the M32 as it is called — would be a good subject for a broadcast.

‘YOU STAND ABOUT HERE’ – A tense moment for the would-be broadcaster. When she has been shown how to work to the microphone she has the attention of a panel of producers for a ten minutes’ audition.

While Mr. Wood is discussing his project, Miss Drake is having her audition. It is rather impersonal, and she is a little disappointed at not seeing any of the producers who are listening to her. A secretary explains to her what to do, and a voice from the invisible panel of producers talks to her through the studio loudspeaker. Rather impersonal — but fair and proper, because Miss Drake’s visit is not a social one and it is only her voice that matters. She performs her own selection, and is then asked to read at sight some passages handed to her; after which the voice from the loudspeaker promises that she shall have a letter within a few days. When Miss Drake departs, Mr. Wood is also leaving — with the promise that his idea will be considered for development in whatever form suits it best.

That is how the raw material of broadcasting comes to West Region. What happens next? Miss Drake gets her promised letter, and in her case it says that her audition was successful and she is therefore being added to the casting file. Let’s open the casting file and look at her card —

DRAKE, RUTH. Chewton Cottage, Queens Stanton, Somerset. No phone. Voice-age — 25-35. Pitch — mezzo. Tone — clear, warm, flexible. Normal accent — neutral. Dialects — authentic Somerset, stage cockney. Verse — no. Straight — yes. Character — no. Experience — professional rep., no broadcasting. Remarks: a fresh and pleasant personality, diction a bit untidy in emotion, no serious affectations, has attack and a well-varied range of feeling. Excellent Somerset and considered promising as straight juvenile.

WHAT ARE THE WILD WAVES SAYING? – Plymouth’s Features Producer, Brandon Acton-Bond, goes to Land’s End with Stan Comms in search of programme material.

Having read that, let’s put it back in the file for the producers to scan when they are casting. It is Mr. Wood we want to follow now because that M32 rocket idea of his is developing fast. West Region’s Head of Programmes, Frank Gillard, has been considering various sorts of M32 broadcasts. A news item, a spot in Week in the West, a straight talk by the inventor, a documentary feature, a recording-car visit to the factory. All possible, but which shall it be? Obviously it will be a big story; the national press will report it; people everywhere will discuss it. News-cover is therefore essential on the day the rocket takes off. Apart from West Region’s own interest, other news departments will want to come in on it — London Home News, Light Programme’s Radio News Reel, Television, Overseas, and so on. West Region’s News Editor will deal with all that. In addition there ought to be a full-scale documentary beforehand, giving the whole story of what is clearly a sensational west-country achievement. Listeners will want to know the background, the personalities, the difficulties, the prospects of success, the whole dramatic context of M32. And since that will involve all the main resources of radio — and that is our only reason for inventing M32 — let’s follow the construction of that documentary programme.

First, Gillard discusses the idea with one of his producers — let’s call the producer Brian Tate — and waits to see if he ‘warms’ to it. Like most things, radio programmes can’t be done well without enthusiasm. However, Tate is impressed by the M32 story, so he and Gillard start to consider how long the programme should be and what it should cost.

Duration is settled as one hour, and it is Tate’s job to decide how to fill those sixty minutes. Shall he use ‘actuality’ voices — the voices of the people actually working on M32 — or shall he use actors? If he uses actuality shall he record them on the job, speaking spontaneously; or shall he script them and bring them to the studio where he can rehearse them? Is he to use literal sound-effects recorded in the factory? Is this a programme that wants music to heighten the dramatic effects? Professional actors will give a greater range of expression, a more gripping performance. Actuality voices will be convincingly genuine; but if they are recorded spontaneously they will be diffuse and matter-of-fact, while if they are scripted they may lose — by a woodenness of delivery — what has been gained in coherence and dramatic point. ‘Real’ noises have a treacherous way sometimes of sounding unreal or meaningless; and music, which heightens the atmosphere for one listener, may be considered a worthless intrusion by another.

Every technique has its disadvantages as well as its advantages, and some do not mix with others. However, Tate has now got to make up his mind — and for the sake of illustration let us assume that in a moment of exhilaration he decides to use as many methods as possible.

Having made those decisions, Tate goes off to the M32 factory.

To the factory

Producer Brian Tate talks to the inventor, the production manager, the test-mechanics, the fitters — or rather, he asks questions and listens. He is looking for the bare outline of the story, the skeleton of his programme; and after that, for touches of character, colourful anecdotes, voices with personality, distinctive turns of phrase — anything to garnish the story with liveliness and ‘bite’. There’s a foreman who talks well; another chap with one good story of the early experimental days; an interesting machine noise. Promising bits and pieces in the jig-saw of script-making. Tate goes on asking questions until he reckons he has absorbed the essential material and mastered the outline of the story, and then he goes back to Bristol.

BY THE TAIL of the giant Brabazon aircraft, Peter Maggs records progress in a great West-country enterprise. In the car Jimmy Cauldfield vets the quality of each disc.

He can now start writing his script. It must not be so technical that the broad general public cannot follow it clearly, nor so popularized that specialists in the subject dismiss it as trivial and misleading. A compromise here — simplifying without distortion. When the first draft of the script is complete it will go to the planners of other services, and since M32 is a spectacular subject of the widest appeal we may assume that in due course Tate receives several teleprinters expressing interest in his project. M32 scheduled in basic Home Service on such-and-such a date. Overseas Planners want M32 recorded off transmission for overseas repeat. M32 accepted for transcription. Transcription, incidentally, means that the programme will be sent to smaller broadcasting organizations in the English-speaking world in the form of processed recordings — similar to commercial gramophone records — which can be used at suitable local times.

‘LET’S CHECK THIS, NORMAN’ – The leader of the West Country Studio Orchestra, Norman Brooks, discusses a new score with the conductor, Leonard Dennis.

With the script approaching final shape the producer is ready to brief the musician who is to compose the music. ‘On page 3 I want a slow build-up, heavy, rather ominous — about twenty-five seconds of it — and then you check it and run behind the following speech — should take another fifteen seconds, that — and then you start to swell up through him to a triumphant peak. Full-throttle, brassy, elated — and cut out fairly sharply, I think. Do you see what I’m after?’ The producer describes the effects he wants to achieve. The composer considers how to convert these ideas into music. His first sketches are written for piano; when they have been demonstrated and argued over and modified, the composer prepares an orchestral score.

It will soon be time now to send off the ‘billing’ to Radio Times for inclusion in the published programmes. There is casting to be done, so that the actors’ names are included in the billing. There is publicity material to prepare. Copyright details have to be cleared, studios booked, recording facilities laid on, operational matters settled with various engineering sections. As the days pass, one department after another begins to focus on the forthcoming production of M32.

‘BRING IT IN BEFORE THE WHISTLE’ – Reggie Miles plays over a batch of effects discs, and Drama Producer Owen Reed chooses the ones that build up the impression he wants.

The show goes on

While he is choosing his cast Brian Tate studies the card of DRAKE, RUTH (who was beginning to feel forgotten). There is a part that would suit her, but it’s a fairly big one and it might be risky to try her out on an occasion like this. On the other hand, newcomers will always remain question-marks if we never gamble on them. After some hesitation Tate decides to book Miss Drake. She gets her second letter from West Region — enclosing a contract to take part in ‘M32′.

‘THIS BIT WANTS PLENTY OF VOICE’ – Owen Reed talks over the script during rehearsal. Norman Kendall, Dorothy Holloway, Phyllis Smale pencil in a note. Leaning behind them Hedley Goodall studies his lines. George Holloway listens, and sketches in between times.

On the morning of the broadcast Ruth Drake enters Broadcasting House at 9.45 a.m. and the commissionaire directs her to Studio 2. Rehearsal is called for 10 a.m., and she has come determined not to be late. Other actors and actresses in the cast soon join her, and she begins to identify some of those she has often heard in West Region broadcasts — Phyllis Smale, bright, trim, golden-haired — the bearded, courteous, soft-voiced presence of Hedley Goodall — George Holloway, gravely humorous, with a modesty that belies his long experience of over six hundred broadcasts.

‘TAKING NO CHANCES’ – One ‘repeating groove’ is remembered when ninety-nine faultless shows are forgotten. ‘Smithy’, a West Region maintenance engineer adjusts a gramophone turntable.

WEST OF ENGLAND EDITION? ‘Tiny’ Wildsmith, West Region’s Publications Assistant, sees that newsagents have no difficulty in supplying your weekly copy of the ‘Radio Times’, West-of-England edition.

Rehearsal begins with a read-through. Minor errors in the script are corrected, occasional phrases are altered as the speaking of them shows a fault, and there is a lot of talk about studio positions and ‘flicks’. ‘On page three you’re out of doors, Ruth, so you’ll be in Studio 2 — and you wait for a “flick”.’ Studio 2 has a dead out-door acoustic, and a ‘flick’ is a green light on the studio wall which flashes as a cue for the next line to be spoken when it is not an immediate reply to another actor in the same studio. Any transition from music or effects disc to speech, or from one studio to another, is controlled by a flick because in such cases the actor will not usually be hearing what precedes his lines.

While the rehearsal proceeds Ruth looks through the double glass window into the control cubicle. There are three people there — the producer talking into a microphone which carries his voice to the loud-speaker in the studio; a ‘jeep’ (alias JPE, alias a Junior Programme Engineer who works the effects discs on the gram-bank; and a Programme Engineer who ‘mixes’ and controls the programme by means of a series of knobs. Each knob is linked with a microphone which it can bring into play. Labels over the knobs show that the engineer on this occasion is mixing two drama studios, an orchestral studio, a land-line to the M32 factory, and a second landline combined with radio-link to one of the Scilly Isles where a model of the rocket is being tested. The remaining knob — labelled GRAMS — brings in effects noises (in this case, factory sounds). A switch below the knobs controls the green cue-light in the studios; and a final controlling instrument with a needle indicator governs the volume of the total mixture of sound — the programme output — as it travels to the central Control-Room on its way to the transmitters. Delicate and sensitive work is the Programme Engineer’s. During the actual broadcast he — or she — is the nerve-centre of the whole show. A flick to the wrong studio, a twist of the wrong knob — and a smooth production is suddenly thrown into confusion. Nervy work, that needs both the temperament of the artist and the cool precision of the engineer.

‘THE PROGRAMME WAS RECORDED’ – But the fact shouldn’t be noticed. High quality reproduction is vital in broadcasting, and the recording engineers work to exacting standards.

‘FARMER’S GLORY’ – Arriving at Bristol’s Broadcasting House, the familiar figure of A. G. Street brings a Wiltshire voice and a love of argument to the microphone. Arthur Street is one of the outstanding personalities in West-country broadcasting.

Ruth Drake has plenty of time to look into the control-cubicle, while others are rehearsing parts of the programme in which she is not involved. And then it is her turn. ‘We’ll take page 8 now. Ruth, you’ll have to get through fairly quickly into studio 5 — you’re in 2 at the bottom of page 7, but you should have time because there’s a music section in between.’ She runs through her lines, with interruptions through the loudspeaker. ‘You’ll have to use more voice there, because you’re over music. We’ll get you some “cans” (headphones) after lunch, so you can hear what’s going on in the orchestra. You’ve got it all right otherwise, but it wants more punch.’

THE SHOW GOES ON – The rugged Lundy coast is often inhospitable. Frank Gillard lends a hand as the engineers hump their gear through the surf. One of the microphones has been drowned already, but the show will go on.

During the morning the orchestra has been rehearsing separately. After lunch the music sections are ready to be woven in with the speech. The atmosphere of the rehearsal becomes a little more tense, the programme begins to feel tidier. Over the ‘talk-back’ the producer’s voice comes up on the loudspeakers in studios 2, 5, and 1, talking first to Reginald Redman who is conducting the orchestra — ‘O.K. then, Rex, let’s take music section A. Hedley’s been doing that speech in 42-43 seconds, so you should have no need to hang it out. He’ll be finished where the strings swell up. Are you with us studio 5? And 2? Stand by for a flick — half-way down page 2. Flick coming.’ Gradually the orchestra takes its place in the pattern, and then there is a break while the outside lines are tested. The M32 factory comes through at once on the turning of a knob but there is a hitch on the line to the Scillies. Ruth sits down and relaxes. George Holloway sits quietly making pencil sketches on his script. The talk-back voice drones on. ‘Hello Nicky. Hello Nicky. Hello Scillies. Bristol here. Bristol here. Come in please, Bristol calling you.’

‘DELICATE AND SENSITIVE WORK’ – Programme Engineer, Joan Vaughan, mixes and controls the varied ingredients of the broadcast. Actors, orchestra, recordings, and outside microphone respond to the touch of her fingers and blend together. Beside her Desmond Hawkins directs the rehearsal.

At length there is a reply, followed by an exchange of comments on technical quality. ‘We’re hearing you O.K. but apparently you weren’t getting us. Roy says our signal was pretty lousy this morning at his end, but it’s improving all the time, and it will be O.K. on the show.’ The producer now settles the time for his final run-through — radio’s equivalent of a dress-rehearsal. ‘A short break for tea now, and we’ll run through at five o’clock.’

THE LUSCOMBES BREAK FOR TEA – A welcome interlude during rehearsal. In the Bristol canteen Brandon Acton-Bond heads the queue at the cash-desk. Following him are Phyllis Smale (with Michael Holloway behind her) Peggy Ryalls, Pat Roberts, Lewis Gedge, Nell Oxley, and Sally Lahee.

Overture and Beginners Please

During that last run Brian Tate checks his timing of the programme with a stop-watch, jots down notes of any last-minute alterations and corrections he wants to make. At the finish he is still a minute and a half over length. Cuts to make, therefore, and a final inquest on everyone’s performance. ‘Speech 8 on page 14 can go. Rex, we’ll shorten the music link there too — come out where we marked it earlier. And we must cue-in the effects more quickly — we were losing time on them.’

‘QUIET PLEASE’ – The red light flickers. Senior Announcer Hugh Shirreff prepares to announce the programme. Reginald Redman waits for his cus.

The crisp, clean scripts of the morning are now rumpled and scrawled with deletions, amendments, and strange hieroglyphics. Everyone is beginning to feel weary. The studio air is dry and smoky. Ruth is relieved to hear at last the words — ‘Let’s break now till transmission’. Out in the fresh air for a bit, then a meal in the canteen, a drink at the BBC club, and it is time to go back to the studio. Now for it.

‘ON POINT DUTY’ – In the announcer’s continuity studio Elsie Otley watches the flow of programmes, fills each gap, and takes over if a programme line fails. A split-second job in which every decision has to be a quick one.

Nine minutes to go. An engineer is testing the studio, checking each microphone point and plug with Control Room, watching for the flick of the red light as each link in the circuit is approved. ‘Leads at the back’, he murmurs, fingering the mike terminals. Flick. ‘Plug in the Wall.’ Flick. ‘The time by the studio clock is seven fifty-one, and eighteen seconds . . . nineteen . . . twenty . . .’ Flick. To a broadcaster that familiar ritual is as evocative as the call-boy’s ‘Overture and Beginners Please’ to an actor.

CANTEEN CONFERENCE – Across the canteen table yesterday’s programmes are discussed and tomorrow’s are debated. Celebrities from different spheres meet together: Freddy Grisewood (left) has a cup of tea with Mrs. Good, mother of the Bristol quads. Opposite them are Rosemary Colley and Hamilton Kennedy.

The last minutes tick away. Everyone is keyed up now. Tate says ‘Good luck. Enjoy yourselves. I’ll be listening,’ and retreats into the control-cubicle. Beside the green light on the studio wall a red light begins to flicker — signalling that the studio is about to become ‘live’. There is a hush, and the red light stops flickering, steadies. The announcer raises his script and leans slightly forward.

‘This is the West of England Home Service. . . .’

Postmortem

MONDAYS AT 2.15 – Chaired by Frank Gillard, West Region’s Programme Board brings together producers, engineers, and administrators to plan and criticize the Region’s work. Comment is free and lively – ranges from Start Point’s lightning conductor to a mispronounced place-name.

How did it go? Tate will get some idea in the canteen next morning, over coffee. Some of the criticism will be technical. ‘Had you got any screens in studio 5? It sounded a little bit boxy at times.’ Some of it will turn on individual performances. ‘That girl was good — where did you get hold of her?’ ‘Ruth Drake? She’s a new artist. First she’s done for us.’ On the following Monday the Programme Board will discuss the M32 show in a more formal inquest on the week’s broadcasts. Here producers, engineers, and administrators gather to deal with operational problems and assess the quality of each programme broadcast from West Region. Comment is free and lively.

‘ADDRESS YOUR REQUESTS TO BBC, BRISTOL’ – Broadcasting House, Bristol, Headquarters of the West Region, stands in a tree-lined Whiteladies Road, Clifton – ‘on the right, just beyond the traffic lights’, as any bus conductor will tell you.

And as one programme is completed, another is planned. The story of M32 is, in one form or another, the daily story of West Region. At Bristol and at Plymouth — in the two Broadcasting Houses of the West — the BBC staff accept a corporate obligation which transcends individual personalities. Their task is to provide a service of information, of education, and of entertainment, adapted to the needs of the Region and embodying the resources of the Region. During its first quarter of a century the BBC has aimed to maintain in its programmes a high standard of integrity and decent purpose. West Region’s continuing endeavour is to strengthen and enhance that tradition.

Some regular series in the West of England Home Service

NEWS AND OPINION

  • Speak your Mind
  • Any Questions
  • Air Space
  • County Commentary
  • Arts Chronicle
  • The Week in the West
  • Window on the West
  • The West at Westminster
  • Sport in the West

LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

  • Smoking Concert
  • The Passing Years
  • At the Piano
  • As Prescribed
  • At the Luscombes
  • Hansom Days
  • What’s your Fancy?
  • Melody for Late Evening

 

THE COUNTRYSIDE

  • The Naturalist
  • Country Questions
  • Bird Song of the Month
  • Village on the Air
  • On the Land
  • For Western Farmers
  • For Western Growers
  • For Western Gardeners

 

For times of transmission, see the West of England edition of Radio Times and listen to your regional Programme Parade at 8.10 a.m. daily.

Monday to Friday at 6.15 p.m. and on Saturday at 6.25 p.m. West of England News Bulletin.

Some regional facts

The West of England Home Service is broadcast from three transmitters. Start Point, with a power of 120 kilowatts, broadcasts on a wavelength of 307 metres, Clevedon, 20 kilowatts, and Bartley, 10 kilowatts, on a common wavelength of 217 metres.

The wavelengths available for British broadcasting are allotted by international agreement. A region is as big as the range of its transmitters. Its boundaries are mainly dictated by the ability of listeners within the area to receive its signals at all times in good strength and with proper definition and quality.

The West Region is guided by three advisory bodies — the Regional Advisory Council, the Religious Advisory Committee and the Regional Appeals Committee.

Acknowledgments are due to the following for permission to reproduce photographs : —

  • Plymouth Industrial Photos Ltd. for city by night.
  • ‘Salisbury Journal’ for up in the morning early.
  • ‘Evening World’, Bristol, for rugby players.
  • Central Press Photos Limited for boys wrestling and music while you work.
  • ‘The Times’ for an interlude in a royal tour.
  • ‘Picture Post’ library for my longest five minutes.
  • Pictorial Press for getting down to it and you can just hear a cock-pheasant in the background.
  • Messrs. Chandler, Exeter, for doyen of regional dramatists.
  • Desmond Tripp, Bristol, for west of england edition.
  • The relief map of the West of England is by Messrs. George Philip & Son, Limited.

Originally published by the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Grammar School, Searle Road, Wembley, Middlesex.

Printed by William Brown & Co. Ltd., 11-12, Bury Street, St. Mary Axe, E.C.3. No. 2311

Transdiffusion presentation

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén