Early Electronica: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Today’s extend­ed broad­cast fea­tures the ear­ly and mid­dle-peri­od work of the BBC Radio­phon­ic Work­shop, includ­ing the 1979 doc­u­men­tary Wee Have Also Sound Hous­es.

The Work­shop was found­ed in 1958 and found a home in the BBC’s Mai­da Vale, Lon­don stu­dios where it rapid­ly became busy pro­vid­ing elec­tron­ic music, sounds and musique con­crète, ini­tial­ly for BBC Radio but lat­er the BBC Tele­vi­sion Ser­vice as well, a notable suc­cess in this area being Delia Der­byshire’s real­i­sa­tion of Ron Grain­er’s score for the TV sci-fi series Doc­tor Who in the ear­ly 1960s.

The work of such com­posers as John Bak­er, Bri­an Hodg­son, Daphne Oram and per­haps most of all Delia Der­byshire (shown at work, above left) was to have a tremen­dous impact on the elec­tron­ic music field in years to come. The Work­shop was sad­ly closed in the 1990s by the BBC’s then-Direc­tor-Gen­er­al John Birt, who, obsessed by the so-called ‘inter­nal mar­ket’ idea of depart­ments com­pet­ing with each oth­er, closed it as uneco­nom­i­cal.

Also includ­ed is the 1970s Pyra­me­dia Pro­duc­tions radio doc­u­men­tary, Elec­tron­ic Music Syn­the­sis­ers, which cov­ers the ear­ly devel­op­ment of elec­tron­ic instru­ments and their use in pop­u­lar music.

Lis­ten now on Radio Riel’s pri­ma­ry stream: http://music.radioriel.org/

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2 Responses to “Early Electronica: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop”

  1. Gabrielle Riel says:

    /me dis­solves into com­plete ear­ly elec­tron­i­ca bliss…

  2. Corgi says:

    [refrains from undig­ni­fied squeal­ing] Art of Noise!! You played Art of Noise!! THANK YOU!

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