1930s radio programmes

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In June 1936, Scottish Programme Director Andrew Stewart told the press that the BBC was "always coming up against big events in history, centenaries, etc". These were mostly reflected in feature programmes, programmes where they marshalled all their "resources of dramatic presentation, music, talk and drama, and focused them on the one point".[1]

Long-running series

  • News for Young Scotland: A ten-minute bulletin which ran fortnightly from 18 April 1934 until 22 June 1936 (excluding the summer months). It was desired as "a series in which interesting people would be brought to the microphone — people in the news, athletes who had broken records, and experts in games".[2] One of the presenters, Mr J. Morrison Gunn, was a young Scottish journalist on the editorial staff of the Bulletin, but had also contributed to other Scottish newspapers and magazines, notably on rural Scotland, the herring fishing industry and the development of civil aviation. He had a long connection with the leading youth organisations and was associated with boy scout work in suburban Glasgow.[3]

1931

Running Commentaries

1932

Running Commentaries

1933

Running Commentaries

  • Football: Scotland v England??: Running commentary on the Scotland v England match, by George Allison (English commentator who was the BBC's first sports commentator). Relayed from Hampden Park, Glasgow. By courtesy of The Scottish Football Association.

1934

Running Commentaries

  • Launching of the new Cunnarder: Reply by His Majesty The King to an address of welcome by Sir Percy Bates, chairman of the Cunard-White Star Line. Naming of the ship by Her Majesty The Queen. A running Commentary on the proceedings by George Blake. Relayed from John Brown and Co.'s Yard, Clydebank.
  • Edinburgh v Glasgow Rugby: A Running Commentary by 'Ompax' on the inter-city rugby football match relayed from Old Anniesland, Glasgow.
  • Billiards: A half-hour's commentary on the match between Willie Smith and Sidney Lee. Relayed from the Nile Billiard Rooms, Glasgow. The broadcast was a novelty. Never before (certainly in British broadcasting) had there been a running commentary on a billiard match. It would, of course, be impossible to describe for the benefit of listeners a whole billiard match, for there are other programmes to be considered, but that night, for half-an-hour, two ardent billiard fans dropped in at the Nile Billiard Rooms and described the play. The match between these two famous professionals had been in progress all week and it was expected to have reached an interesting stage by time of broadcast.

Eyewitness Accounts

  • Aberdeen v Queen's Park: An Eye-Witness account by John Mutch of the Scottish League Match, Aberdeen v Queen's Park.

1935

Series

  • Our Children's Scotland: A variety of individual speakers consider the probable future of Scotland in the second half of the twentieth century in its political, literary and industrial aspects. Speakers included James Maxton, Compton Mackenzie, Annie S. Swan, J. R. Richmond, George Blake and Godfrey Collins, the Secretary of State for Scotland. Series ran from October 1935 to March 1936.

Eye-witness accounts

Running commentaries

  • The Clyde Fortnight: Lieutenant-Commander Rex Arnot, R. N., described the Annual Yachting Festival of the Clyde and interviewed some of the racing yachtsmen and skippers. Relayed from the Royal Gourock Yacht Club.
  • Hill Climb for Racing and Sports Cars: A running commentary by G. H. Cutbush, editor of the Motor World, from Kinneil Estate, Bo'ness. Under the auspices of The Scottish Sporting Car Club, Ltd. (30mins).
  • Scottish Motor-cycle Speed Championships: A running commentary by Alexander Bruce on the Motor-cycle Open Championships, ten laps (approximately 20 miles). Organised by the Scottish Auto-Cycle Union and relayed from the West Sands, St. Andrews. By kind permission of St. Andrews Town Council.
  • Football: Scotland v England: A running commentary by R. E. Kingsley on the second half of the Association Football International (in aid of King George's Jubilee Trust Fund). Relayed from Hampden Park, Glasgow.
  • Cowal Highland Gathering (42nd Year): A running commentary on the sports, piping and dancing, and interviews with prominent people at the Games by W. Mackay Cunningham. Relayed from Dunoon by permission of the Cams Committee.
  • There go the Butts!: A programme relayed from the Central Fire Station, Glasgow. A running commentary by Jack House and Firemaster James Marshall. Listeners will be able to check the time taken (ten seconds) for a complete turn out of the Brigade, from the sound of the warning gong to the moment the engines take the road. By kind permission of the Glasgow Corporation Fire Department.
  • Water Polo: A running commentary by W. Boreland Dalrymple on the Glasgow Private Baths League Polo Match between Arlington Water Polo Club and Dennistoun Baths Water Polo Club. Copyright. (See notice on page 30) During the present summer the Scottish microphone has made broadcast history, not only by going to unusual outside events, but to inside ones in various parts of the country. This was the first time that such a commentary had been relayed in the Scottish programme.
  • Made in Scotland — 200 Fathoms Down: A running commentary, relayed from Auchengeich Colliery, Chryston, featuring interviews with mine officials and including the sounds of a modem coal mine at work. Visits were to be paid to the winding engine, the boiler house, screening plant, and conveyors where the coal is sorted into its respective grades and loaded into railway wagons. The microphone was to be taken underground, if possible, to the pump, and so forth. Descriptions arid interviews were given by P. I. Keith Murray, who some years ago was intimately connected with the sinking and electrification of mines in India.
  • Glasgow v Edinburgh Rugby: Running Commentary on the inter-city rugby football match by Andrew Wemyss. Relayed from Old Anniesland, Glasgow.

1936

Series

  • Saturday Sport: A ten-minute weekly round-up at 18:40 on Saturdays presented by R. E. Kingsley. This programme was amalgamated into the following from June 1936?
  • The Week-End Out of Doors: edited by Ian Wilson.
  • A Scot Abroad: Eric Linklater, the well-known Scottish novelist, had returned from a five-months' journey which took him round the world. He travelled in India, Assam and China and, returning home by the Pacific route, he lost all his baggage in the disastrous American floods. In this series of four talks, broadcast at 10pm on Wednesday nights, he gave listeners a summary of his observations during his journey and, in particular, of encounters with fellowcountrymen in strange places. He noticed, for instance, that the country of Assam appears to be entirely governed by Aberdonians and that Chicago has grown quiet and respectable since he last visited it in 1930.
  • Highways and Byways: A nine-part fortnightly Sunday afternoon feature programme, which ran from May to September 1936, designed to bring to the microphone people who were not normally heard on the radio, highlighting their occupations and leisure pursuits. Included berrypickers at Blairgowrie, herring fishers, a shopkeeper and a welfare worker.
  • Fan Fare: Weekly sports round-up which replaced the Saturday evening Scottish Sports Bulletin from 3 October 1936. "Bringing sports thrills from field to fireside", the programme was described in listings as "a weekly review of Scottish sport, including results, eye-witness accounts, topical talks etc." It was 15–20 minutes long and was broadcast around 9.20 pm. As it was "produced like a dramatic programme and thoroughly rehearsed" the BBC asked the Reuters news agency to supply the sports results to the Edinburgh office an hour earlier on Saturdays, by 6pm on Saturdays at the latest.[4]

Single features

  • Iona: The Holy Island: Feature programme; written by George Rowntree Harvey; music by W. B. Moonie.
  • Seirbhis Ghaidhlig: Gaelic service relayed from Iona Abbey; the BBC's first broadcast from the Inner Hebridean island.
  • Festival of Commemoration: Relay from Melrose Abbey celebrating the 800th anniversary of the granting of its Charter of Foundation.
  • The Monks of Melrose: Feature programme; a reminiscence of the past by W. Mackay Mackenzie and Christine Orr.
  • From Peak to Pick: A telephone conversation between George Blake, situated 1,000 feet above sea level with holiday-makers on the top of the famous pass of Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll, and P. I. Keith Murray, the outside broadcasts assistant, who was 1,000 feet underground in a coal mine at the Auchengeich Colliery. Fifty miles separated the two. The control point was in Glasgow, and the announcement, which both heard and accordingly took their cues from, was broadcast from there. Both had portable receivers with them, although Keith-Murray's was left on the surface and reception fed to him by a lead over 1,000 feet long. The telephone-wireless conversation was due to last for 35 minutes. Blake brought one or two passing motorists to the microphone, and also some pipe music; while Keith-Murray arranged for a miner beside him in the colliery to play a dulcimer.[5]
  • On St Ronans! The Cleikum Ceremony: Excerpt of the concert from the Memorial Hall, Innerleithen.
  • The Castle of Dumbarton: Feature programme; a reminiscence of days long past by W. Mackay Mackenzie; production by John Gough.
  • Ailsa Craig: The Rock and its People: Live relay from the mass of basalt which dominates the entrance to the Firth of Clyde. Descriptions and interviews by George Blake and Peter Keith-Murray. The broadcast failed however because of atmospherics on the radio link GPO transmitter.[6]
  • New Films in Scotland: H. Forsyth Hardy presented a one-off programme about the latest films. 'Regional justification' was to blame for this not being a regular series because London talks were felt to deal adequately with the topic. That said, the release date of movies in London was usually well in advance of their screenings in Scotland.[7]

Entertainment

Eye-witness accounts

  • Rangers v Celtic: An eye-witness account of the Scottish League Match, by R. E. Kingsley. 1 January 1936, 18:30.
  • Curtis Cup Final: An eye-witness account by R. E. Kingsley of the final of the Women's International Golf Championship: Great Britain v USA at the Gleneagles Hotel Golf Course.
  • Golf Internationals at Prestwick: An eye-witness account of the day's play by R. E. Kingsley. TX: 30 July 1936, 22.30–22.35. Friday evening edition.
  • [Rangers v Austria]: An eye-witness account of today's Association Football match at Ibrox, by R. E. Kingsley. TX: 12 August 1936, 22.30–22.35.

Sports talks

  • Scottish Football: A Survey of Season 1935-1936: This programme went on the air less than four hours after the end of the football season. It compromised running commentaries, eye-witness accounts and R. E. Kingsley interviewing prominent footballers, including Matt Armstrong (Aberdeen FC), David Meiklejohn (Rangers FC), Jimmy McGrory (Celtic FC), JImmy Simpson (Rangers FC.) and Tommy Walker (Hearts FC). Devised by Peter Thomson; production by Gordon Gildard. 25 April 1936, 21:15.
  • The Clyde Yachting Season: 'Prospect and Promise' by A. G. Christie.
  • Kick Off: Being a gathering of football folk to inaugurate season 1936-37. Arranged and compered by R. E. Kingsley.

Running commentaries

  • Hill Climb for Racing and Sports Cars: A running commentary by G. H. Cutbush from Kinneil Estate, Bo'ness. Under the auspices of The Scottish Sporting Car Club, Ltd. (30mins); Later edition (15mins).
  • Thurso Annual Bowling Match: Commentary and interviews with players and officials at the Thurso Annual Bowling Match by P. I. Keith Murray from Thurso Bowling Club. Murray flew from Renfrew to Thurso for the broadcast — the first time that a Scottish BBC official had flown to his job.[8]
  • Luss Highland Gathering: A descriptive commentary with interviews by George Blake from the Games Park, Luss, Loch Lomond. By permission of the Chieftain and Committee.

1937

Single features

  • The Castle of Stirling: The story was told from the Castle itself, the historic incidents re-enacted on the original ground. (The histories of the Castles of St. Andrews, Dumbarton, Dirleton, and Edinburgh had been similarly told). Music and production by John Gough. Cast: Weston Fields , Rex de la Haye, Gerald Jerome, Wm. H. D. Joss, R. E. Kingsley, Hector Munro, James McKechnie, Mary H. Ross, James Sloan, Tom Smith, Hal D. Stewart, Halbert Tatlock, Eric Wightman.

Sports talks

Running commentaries

1938

Entertainment

  • Dundee Discoveries: A Variety entertainment performed entirely by Duridonians and broadcast from Dundee. Arranged by Howard- M. Lockhart

Drama

Single features

  • My Old Shako 1888–1938: A progressive panorama of fifty years of country life in Scotland: the import of changing scenes and sounds passing before three generations of the McRobbie family. Written and arranged by Donald MacLaren. Production by Robin Russell. Taking part: Sheila Brownlee, Louise Foulds, W. H. D. Joss, R. E. Kingsley, James McKechnie, John Morton, Ian Sadler, Tom Smith, James K. Urquhart, Jean Webster, Harold Wightman, Eric Wightman. TX: 28 Steptember 1938, 20.50–21.40

Sports talks

  • Scottish Football, survey 1938–39: A survey of the first half of the 1938–39 season. Included commentaries, eye-witness accounts and interviews with some Scottish football personalities. Among those taking part are: R. E. Kingsley, R. F. Dunnett, Harry Young, Arthur Black, Tommy Muir head, James McKechnie, C. Archer Mitchell, W. H. D. Joss, Edward Moffat and a recorded interview with M. Miklas, a Hungarian sports journalist. Written and produced by Peter Thomson.
  • Highland Games: Their fame and story: Devised by Hugh Macphee and R. F. Dunnett. This programme was not a recording of Highland games but an account of them since their beginning. Distinguished athletes of the past and of the present came to the microphone.
  • Scottish Football, Season 1937–38: This sound panorama of the Scottish football season, which officially finished last week, will include running commentaries, eye-witness accounts, recordings from the Wembley International, and, it is hoped, interviews with several Scottish football personalities. Among those taking part are R. E. Kingsley, R. F. Dunnett, Harry Young, P. Stanley Eley, Ian Wilson, W. H. D. Joss, Tom Smith, James K. Urquhart. Surveyed and produced by Peter Thomson. TX: 6 May 1938, 21.00-22.00.

Running commentaries

1939

Drama

  • This Man Is News: Adapted by the authors, Allan Mackinnon and Roger Macdougall, from the film of the same name (by permission of Paramount Pictures Ltd.) of the Daily Gazette (by permission of the Perth Theatre Co.) of a criminal gang.
  • Abracadabra!: or 'Magic over Scotland'. 700 years of wizards and wizardry by Jack House and J. B. Findlay.
  • Shinty: Sport of the Gael: Feature programme documenting the sport from earliest times to present day. Written by Hugh Macphee and R. F. Dunnett; produced by Peter Thomson. Ex-Provost Dallas of Kingussie and Ronald MacColl of Glencoe were among the players and legislators of the game who came to the microphone to recall interesting memories of shinty in the old days.

Variety

  • Radio Outlook: Jack House's Gossip Column and Scottish Radio Cartoon. Edited and produced by Robin Russell.
  • First Time Here: A series introducing some new artists with Willie McCracken. Comedian Gordon Reed with his Ukelele. Anna Beats in popular songs. The Jura Male Voice Quartet and The Harmonica Aces. The programme compered by R. E. Kingsley and arranged by Alan Mackill.
  • Variety: with The Crosbie Brothers guitar trio. Marie Hall songs at the piano. The Bannockburn Boy Singeis and The Franchetti Accordion Band. Compere: R. E. Kingsley.

Sports Talks

Commentaries

  • Scottish Cup Final: Motherwell v Clyde. A commentary on the match by R. F. Dunnett and Leo Hunter from Hampden Park, Glasgow.

Miscellaneous

References

  1. 'News of Scottish broadcasting', Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 27 June 1936.
  2. 'Summer broadcasts', Scotsman, 29 April 1936.
  3. News for Young Scotland, 6 March 1935, Radio Times, Issue 596, 1 March 1935, 54. (BBC Genome)
  4. 'Scottish Saturday Sports Bulletin', Scottish Talks Editor to News Executive, Head Office, 14 September 1936, BBC WAC R28/229.
  5. 'News of Scottish broadcasting', Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 20 June 1936.
  6. 'The everlasting heritage — flying high', Glasgow Weekly Herald, 15 August 1936.
  7. The everlasting heritage — flying high', Glasgow Weekly Herald, 15 August 1936.
  8. 'News of Scottish broadcasting', Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, 20 June 1936.