Second World War programmes

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A list of programmes from Scotland on the BBC Home Service in the early weeks of the Second World War.

List of programmes

In the first two weeks of the war, the only contributions from Scotland were performances by the BBC Scottish Orchestra, conducted by Ian Whyte with J. Mouland Begbie as Leader, on the following dates: Monday 4 September, 11:00–11:30; Tuesday 5 September, 17:15–18:00; Friday 8 September, 12:15–13:00; Saturday 9 September, 15:00–16:00; Tuesday 12 September, 12:15–13:00; Tuesday 19 September, 09:10–10:00; Tuesday 19 September, 13:00–13:45; Saturday 23 September, 09:30–10:15; Sunday 24 September, Conducted by Guy Warrack, 08:10–09:00; Wednesday 27 September, 13:00–13:30; Saturday 30 September, 10:30–11:15;

Tuesday 5 September 1939

Compton Mackenzie

Sunday 17 September

Wednesday 1 November 1939

'The Witch's Cap'. A play for Hallowe'en, founded on an old Highland story by Helen Drever with some Hallowe'en Games and Music.

Thursday 2 November 1939

Alastair Dunnett

at the Organ of the Paramount Theatre, Glasgow.

Harry Gordon, Laird of Inversnecky in a recorded programme of incidents and personalities in his career as a comedian with the recorded voices of Harry Gordon himself, Jack Holden (his feed), Alice Stephenson (his pianist), Violet Davidson (his predecessor at the Beach Pavilion, Aberdeen), and many of the famous guest artists who have appeared with Harry at the Beach Pavilion. Devised by Arthur Black. Produced by Alan Melville.

Conductor, Ian Whyte.

Saturday 4 November 1939

Conductor, Ian Whyte.

by Neil F. Grant. The action passes in the sitting-room of Alexander Jameson 's house in the Scottish north-country town of Sueno. Production by John Gough.

Sunday 5 November 1939

Conductor, Guy Warrack.

The story of an Atlantic crossing. Devised by Scott-Yorke. Production by Alan Melville. Towards the end of 1938, a Glasgow skipper and crew were sent to St. John, New Brunswick, to bring home a 200-ton mud-hopper, and they crossed the Atlantic in the height of the December gales. This programme, while written as fiction, is based in part on the actual crossing in which the author was a member of the crew.

Derek McCulloch will read ' Dawn on the Coast', from the series 'Bird Watching' by C. M. Skerrett-Rogers. 5.30 A Children's Service (Church of Scotland) from Orchardhill Church, Giffnock, Glasgow.

An appeal on behalf of the British Legion and the Earl Haig Fund, Scottish Branch by Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice , K.C.M.G., C.B.

Monday 6 November 1939

New Series, No. 2. A selection of melodies that were very popular during the '80's and '90's and the beginning of the present century. Remembered by Charles D. Kinnis with Madeleine Christie, Charles Lovat, Ian Sadler, John Tainsh Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Kemlo Stephen. Compere, James McKechnie. Presented by Robin Russell.

Tuesday 7 November 1939

Some members of the cast of Popplewell's famous Ayr Gaiety production visit the studio this afternoon, including: Jack Anthony, Bond Rowell, Bob and Alf Pearson, Joy Hayden, Murray Stewart, and the Gaiety Rhythm Band, under the direction of Harry Broad. Presented by Eric Popplewell and Robin Russell.

Solo violin, David McCallum. Conductor, Ian Whyte.

Wednesday 8 November 1939

Conductor, Guy Warrack. (First performance)

'Enchanted Water'. A programme about the River Tweed. No river in Scotland is richer in song, story, and stirring memories than Tweed. Its banks lie very near to fairyland, and in this programme you will hear how Bonnie Kilmeny was carried off by the fairies and how Thomas the Rhymer rode. with their queen. You will hear, too, the story of Muckle Mou 'd Meg, a strange bride wooed in a stranger fashion. And you will hear the songs still sung at summer festivals in the Border towns, songs that recall brave days of old and especially the courage of the brave men who rode with their king to Flodden Field.

Thursday 9 November 1939

Conductor, Ian Whyte.

Friday 10 November 1939

Conductor, Ian Whyte.

by J. M. Barrie. Adapted for broadcasting by Gordon Gildard. The action passes in the Sims's drawing-room in their house in Kensington. Production by John Gough.
Unknown: J. M. Barrie
Broadcasting By: Gordon Gildard
Production By: John Gough
Sir Harry Sims: Halbert Tatlock
Lady Sims: Grace McChlery
Tombes: James McKechnie
Kate: Pearl Colquhoun

Saturday 11 November 1939

Conductor, Ian Whyte.

Sunday 12 November 1939

Conductor, Guy Warrack.


The Home Front: 'Harvest of the Sea'

A documentary programme showing how the fishing industry is 'carrying on' in wartime conditions. Devised and produced by Alan Melville.

The Home Front: 'Clyde Built'

The shipbuilders of Clydeside tell of the part they are playing in carrying on the shipbuilding industry in wartime. Recorded in and around a famous Clydeside shipbuilding yard. Narrator: James McKechnie. Presented by Alan Melville.

The Home Front: 'East Lothian Farm'

The story of work on the land in one of the most fertile counties of Scotland, Compiled by John Gough, with the help of farmers and farm servants.

North Sea Trawlers

A recorded feature programme. The speakers are the skippers and crews of trawlers fishing from Scottish East Coast ports. Recorded under the direction of Alan Melville. Since the outbreak of war the men who man the North Sea fishing fleets have carried out their ceaseless work under constant danger of attack from U-boat and bomber. The BBC has visited the East Scottish ports of Aberdeen and Granton, collecting the first-hand experiences of men who have actually been under fire or in danger from U-boats. You will also hear what the trawler-man's wife has to say about things. Another scene between a fishmonger and a housewife, discussing the price of 'caller herrin' will point the moral that the dependants of the men who go to sea are now even more justified in calling fish 'lives o' men'.

Go To It

'Shipbuilding'. A progress report on Britain's industrial war drive. Produced by Alan Melville. This programme, the fifth in the series on industry's greatest speed-up, deals in particular with that river of ships — the Clyde. The speed-up has not come suddenly to the Clyde: since the beginning of the war, and before, the Clyde yards have been working full time and overtime. But in these last few months the clang of riveting and the general pace of work in the yards has been increased on Clydeside. Tonight the men who have built — and are still building — the greatest ships in the world will tell of the speed-up in their own vitally important jobs.


Rivers of Ships

The Clyde. The story you will hear is of today and yesterday, from the Comet to the Queen Elizabeth. The programme written by George Blake. Produced by John Gough.

Poles in Scotland

An old alliance. Written and produced by Moray McLaren and W. Farquharson Small.

We Speak For Ourselves: Clydesiders

Presented by Wilfred Pickles. Arranged and produced by W. Farquharson Small.

The Book of Scotland

Chapters from the living volume of Scottish life. Written by Edwin Muir and produced by Moultrie R Kelsall.

Roads of Scotland


Scottish Portraits

Series in which the work of famous Scotsmen was re-assessed by Colonel Walter Elliot, Ian Finlay, Alexander Keith, Professor J . D. Mackie, and Edwin Muir.

Scottish Half-Hour: Sandy and Andy

Songs for the kitchen and the parlour, stories and the clash o' the countryside. Factory stars and old soldiers, and the marches of the Scottish regiments. Programme devised by Andrew P. Wilson. Kemlo Stephen conducts the BBC Scottish Orchestra and Singers. Produced by Moultrie R Kelsall.

Children's Hour: Niall and the Magic Pipes

The story of a little Scots boy and his thrilling adventures, which all end happily because he is the proud possessor of magic pipes.

Will Fyffe in 'Cap'n Wullie'

A Clydeside entertainment devised by Eric Fawcett in which Will Fyffe plays the part of a captain of an old tramp steamer. Script by Ernest Dudley and Moultrie R. Kelsall. Produced by Eric Fawcett, Andrew P. Wilson and Moultrie R Kelsall. Section of the Scottish Variety Orchestra: conductor, Ronnie Munro.

Contemporary Portrait

John Dickson, shepherd of Stanhope, by George Burnett. Produced by Robert Kemp.

Highland Prospect

Impression of life in the Northern Highlands of Scotland under wartime conditions, by Neil M. Gunn. Produced by Moultrie R Kelsall.


Roads of the World

An impression of Britain's Atlantic Air Terminal — its past, present, and possible future. Written and produced by Moultrie R. Kelsall. This is the fifth programme in the series dealing with experiments forced on us by the exigencies of war, which have proved so successful that they deserve to he developed in peace-time. Trans-oceanic air transport has been such an experiment —± and one which may well alter not only world communications of the future but the whole basis of international relationship

Power from the Glens

The dramatised story of Scotland's hydro-electric scheme, by which the water-power of the Highlands will be harnessed for the community. Music by Ian Whyte. Written and produced by Robert Kemp.