EDITED EXCERPTS FROM '208 IT WAS GREAT'
By Alan Bailey
From a future publication.
The first programme I gram operated for was 'Italy Sings' with Keith Fordyce, a quarter hour programme sponsored by
the Italian State Tourist Office. Keith, at this time, was appearing on TV regularly in pop orientated shows such
as 'Ready Steady Go' and made his first radio broadcast for B.F.N. (British Forces Network), Hamburg in 1948 whilst
serving in the R.A.F. The format for ' Italy Sings' was to play records with an Italian bias such as 'Volare' or
'Return to Me' by Dean Martin and 'Come Prima' by Marino Marini. 'Line Engaged' was another programme we worked on
regularly, sponsored by Brooke Bond. The producer was John Hanson and the format was for engaged couples to relate
unusual stories about how they became engaged. Winning letters would receive a 21 piece bone china tea set. I also
became the proud owner of one of these sets which really was not allowed. That was a bit naughty but nice.
Another programme I worked on regularly with Keith was the 'Philips Record Show' and the theme tune was 'Believe it
beloved' by Johnny Gregory. Dave Gell also had a Philips record show I was involved with and his theme was 'La Grisb
As I became more adept, I was allowed to gram operate on shows which included well-known artists for daily request
shows starting with 'Monday's requests' through to 'Friday's requests,' and these were hosted by Beryl Reid,
George Elrick, Richard Murdoch, Libby Morris and Teddy Johnson. Although they were called record request programmes
, they weren't really. Some of the records would be requests, whilst other music tracks would be dedications
because we recorded a lot of music either in the studio or on location live by such artists as the Big Ben Banjo
Band, the Joe Loss Orchestra, The Ted Heath Orchestra and Ken Mackintosh, which were intermingled with the
records. The signature tune for these programmes was 'The Luxembourg Waltz' by Frank Chacksfield. The Deep
River Boys, featuring Harry Douglas and Al Bishop, were a black gospel group from the USA.They used to come over
once a year and record several series which would last until their return the following year. They were recorded
in Studio A with the Bernie Fenton quartet and the Big Band Sessions were done on location at various town
halls like Lewisham, Hammersmith or Poplar Civic Theatre. The big bands had their own singers and they covered
some of the big pop hits of the day for the broadcast. People like Joan Small, Lita Roza, Kenny Bardell,
Rose Brennan, Tony Brent, Dennis Lotis and Dickie Valentine all lent their vocal talents. Ross McManus was a
singer with Joe Loss and became known as the 'R White's secret lemonade drinker' in the TV advert. His son
went on to make a big name for himself as Elvis Costello and is currently married to that wonderful jazz
singer Diana Krall. Edmundo Ros and his Latin American orchestra were recorded in Studio A.
Eric Winstone hosted a children's programme early on Sunday evening. It was called 'Butlin Beavers' and was
sponsored by Butlins' the well known holiday camp people.Not all programmes were sponsored; these were known as
sustained programmes. Most were made up of special 16 inch transcription discs. If you are of the age to
remember vinyl 12 inch long playing records, it will give you an idea of the size of these monsters!
Sometimes the grooves would start from the outside edge like a conventional vinyl disc and sometimes they were
inside start. Some of the grooves went side to side like a conventional disc, called 'lateral cut' and some went
up and down, commonly known as Hill and Dale or 'vertical cut.' This information was always printed on the label.
The turntable speed was 33? rpm and if there was more than one part, the sides would be numbered thus,
1 & 3, 2 & 4, etc. This was in order that you could play a very long programme from disc continuously without
commercial breaks using two turntables. In most cases, they were drama or comedy shows like 'Box 13' with
Alan Ladd, 'Bold Venture' with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Fabian of the Yard,' 'The Bob Hope Show'
and 'The Scarlet Pimpernel.' Some were musical shows like, 'Riverboat Shuffle,' 'Liberace Show,' 'The Stanley
Holloway Show' and the 'Vera Lynn Show.'
The last 'legal' day of the pirates was August the 14th 1967 when the 'Marine offences Act' came into being. All
the DJ's from the pirate stations who came to work at Luxy like Pete Brady, Mike Raven, Simon Dee, Tony Blackburn
and Kenny Everett were basically very nice guys and, in most cases, were thankful they had landed 'proper jobs.'
Tony Blackburn was born at Guildford, Surrey in 1943 and in his early radio years seemed quite a vain individual.
He had a minor hit record in 1968 with 'So much love,' was a very good looking guy, and girls used to flock after
him. What's more, he liked to talk about himself and carried little school exercise books around with him full
of corny jokes which he used on air. He first broadcast for the pirate radio station 'Radio Caroline South.
Radio Luxembourg's London Studio's
38 Hertford Street W1, London
D-E-C-C-A., the familiar fanfare for the Decca Record shows, was composed by Eric Rogers and Oscar. Eric Rogers
was a well-known musical arranger and conductor, and Oscar was the pseudonym for Decca headman, Mr. S. A.
Beecher-Stevens, in order to claim performance fees whenever it was played. It was Jack Jackson's vocal talents
on the fanfare, which said either, "oooohhh, it's Saturday!", or "oooohhh, it's Monday!" and the band members
were basically session men mainly from the Ted Heath band. He was a very funny, happy man and I enjoyed working
with him very much. Jack never worked from a script which made it difficult to spin records in and he never gave
a straight cue for the record. For example, he would back announce a record and then say, "Hello - we've been
deserted" and I would spin in the record, 'Everyone's gone to the moon' by Jonathan King, cutting off the
introduction and starting the record on the vocal. This involved me keeping one eye on Jack waiting for a nod
and one eye on the turntable, as we had to turn the record back a quarter of a turn so that, when it started,
it would pick up to the right speed, which meant in most cases, working on instinct as to what Jack was going
When Warner Bros Records wanted to release product in this country under its own label, they wanted
a new DJ, which would make their programmes unique, since most of the other DJ's played other labels.
Warner Bros Records were issued under licence to the Decca Record Company which also handled the RCA label.
Pat Campbell, at RCA during his countrywide travels, came across a DJ who also happened to be manager at the
Leeds Locarno run by Mecca. That man was Jimmy Savile. Pat suggested to Decca headman, Mr. S. A.
Beecher-Stevens, that he would be an outstanding candidate as the Warner Bros DJ because, in modern
parlance, "Jimmy had blown him away." This was the first time we had seen anyone with tartan coloured
striped hair He was extremely confident and very friendly. We sorted out the discs, which included
the future big hit by the Everly Brothers, 'Cathy's Clown.' We then needed a signature tune, so,
looking through the Warner Bros Instrumental Catalogue, it was decided we use 'Brassman's Holiday' by
Claude Gordon. Jimmy wasn't the least bit nervous.
On Guys, Gals and Groups Jimmy left it completely up to us format wise and we usually put him in a different
situation each week, sometimes he'd be 'James Blonde' or a cinema projectionist showing the records to people
with specially adapted radios. This would give us loads of chances to throw sound effects at him without him
knowing what was coming, which meant he had great fun talking and thinking very quickly on his feet as what to
say in order to get through it. He even did one complete programme standing on his head ·········· bizarre!
Jimmy Savile was also a professional
wrestler and here with Alan Bailey
he practises a few grunts and
in Studio B.
In 1960 Jimmy went to the United States to present Elvis Presley with a Gold Disc for "It's Now or Never" on the
set of Paramount Studios where Elvis was filming. Jimmy remembers vividly Colonel Tom Parker ushering him
through the set with great authority saying "So you wanna see my boy eh? - Stay close." When Jimmy presented
Elvis with the gold disc, Elvis repaid the compliment by presenting Jimmy with a Stetson type cowboy hat. A
few weeks after Jimmy's return, he gave the hat to me and it still holds pride of place today.
EMI had many more DJs than Decca. This was probably partly due to a lot of EMI shows being quarter hour slots.
I could never understand the criteria for selecting DJ's at EMI. They seemed to use people who had no link
whatsoever with the pop music business. People like Peter West, Richard Lyon, Freddie Mills, Valerie Singleton
and Shaw Taylor. To me, they were unlikely to attract the teenagers who would buy the latest singles. However
to me, Kenny Lynch, Carol Deene, Ronnie Hilton, Jimmy Young, Steve Race and Sam Costa were OK because they,
at least, were in the music business. Ray Orchard, the Canadian DJ, was the producer of the EMI shows,
although in later years Ken Evans took over the mantle.
Sam Costa's show was called 'Sam Costa's Corner' and he used to write scripts that I found very funny especially
when mixing his metaphors like "A bird in the hand gathers no moss" and "Oh well one door closes, another one
shuts" but he was a real ditherer and got very flustered if things didn't go according to plan such as cutting
a record out of the show that he had scripted for if the programme was over running. The signature tune for
Sams' show was, quite appropriately, called 'Sams' Song' sung by Dean Martin on a Capital LP.
One of the loveliest people I had the pleasure to work with was the beautiful young girl Carole Deene.
That's the real spelling of her Christian name (Carole with an E) but the powers that be at that time thought
there were too many E's in her name and dropped the first E. Carol was an EMI DJ whose previous claim to fame
were several minor hits including "James hold the ladder steady" which was an English cover version of an
American hit for Sue Thompson. She had a wonderful personality and was most polite. Unlike Decca, EMI didn't have
a fanfare but preferred to use instrumental recordings from their own labels. My own particular favourite was,
'I've got my love to keep me warm,' by Les Brown. This was the theme for 'Midnight on Luxembourg.' Simon Dee
was fun to work with. He was born in Ottawa, Canada on the 28th of July 1935 and was christened Carl Henty-Dodd.
His theme was, 'A touch of velvet - a sting of brass.' He always brought a bottle of wine or two to the
studio which we consumed during the recording. I'll never forget how smart Simon was in his very bright
colourful shirts from Carnaby Street which were all the rage in those 'Flower Power' days. Occasionally,
B.B.C programmes threw up personalities and one such programme was 'Two-way family favourites,' with Bill
Crozier the Sunday lunchtime request show on 'The Light Programme' which was the forerunner of Radio 2.
EMI decided to use Bill for one of their shows. Bill did the German end of that show from Cologne or Köln
as the Germans spell it.We used to call him Batman because he was always dressed in black and wore a huge
black cape. Another presenter wore a long black cloak and he was the dapper Mike Raven. Mike was a
fugitive from the pirate station 'Radio Atlanta' and, with his goatee type beard and cane, you could be
forgiven for thinking that he appeared from the pages of a 'Hammer Horror' film. Uncannily he had! He
made a few horror movies until his untimely death.
Jimmy Young is the son of a miner and was born at Cinderford, Gloucestershire on September the 21st 1923 and was
christened Leslie Ronald Young. Jimmy was an EMI jock and when he first came to Luxy I was somewhat in awe. He
had several hit records in the 50's including 'Too Young', 'Unchained Melody' and, as a teenager; I had won a
competition miming to his record, 'The man from Laramie.' Many people in those days used to call me 'Earl' - my
nickname. Jimmy was responsible for giving me this nickname because he used to call me 'Al' and, because of his
Gloucester accent, it came out as Earl, which he then elongated to Earlllll, which then became the magnificent
Earlllllll which other DJ's picked up on. Just the mention of Horace Batchelor brings to mind that famous
address, 'K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M, Bristol'. Horace advertised his 'amazing infra draw method,' a system he devised
and claimed amazing success for winning huge sums of money on the pools. Anyone who ever heard that announcement
will never forget it, the address was read out many times during the course of an evening in very impeccable
precise and well enunciated tones that demanded many a 'Mickey take' on other radio stations and TV programmes.
I only met Horace when he came into the London studios or rather, into the boardroom on the second floor, during
one of his very infrequent visits to record his commercials which would run on air for ever, or so it seemed.
He would have lunch in the boardroom with boss man, Geoffrey Everitt, and then I would enter with a portable
recorder, an EMI model L2 with an S.T.C 4037 hand microphone. We would record the basic commercials first, and
then spend time doing the 'department' tags with our own announcers, like Dept 1, Dept 2, and Dept 3. Among the
main shows Horace sponsored was 'Tune a minute.' This was a thirty-minute sing along type show which was
probably the granddaddy of Radio 2s 'Sing something simple.' There were four singers, two boys and two girls.
Ronnie Aldrich provided the musical backing which was usually piano, bass, drums, guitar and accordion.
Ronnie would be on piano and the band were session musicians (excellent musicians who were booked for
Sam Costa in Studio A for his EMI shows
Harry Webb was born on the 14th of October 1940 at The Kings English Hospital in
Lucknow, India. Today he's known as Sir Cliff Richard and I worked with Cliff many times over the years
since our first meeting in 1958. I had just started at Luxy and Cliff was about to chart with 'Move it.
' Because of all the different shows with different sponsors, Cliff was always popping in for interviews.
My very first impression of him was in a black outfit with a red shirt, big quiff in his hair, looking
very moody. With hindsight, he was obviously coached to give the mean look and create that image for him
at that time. I also noticed he was quite spotty, facially and I remembered thinking were they adolescent
spots or caused by stage make-up? I must point out at this stage that my younger brother who was not
interested in pop music nor had much knowledge of it came with me one Sunday to watch the recordings.
We were standing on the front doorstep of Luxy waiting for Cliff. When he arrived we had a good chat
and laugh. My brother pulled me to one side and whispered, "Who's this bloke?" I told him it was Cliff
Richard and he whispered back, "What's he do then?" My brother to this day dines out on that story in
Melbourne, Australia. Not only did Cliff do all his big hits, but also oddities like, 'Tea for two
Cha-cha' which I still have a copy of to this day. My lasting memory of Cliff is what a real
gentleman he is, so well mannered, so kind. In all that time I never saw him lose his temper or say
an unkind word to or about anyone.
Alan Baily and Cliff Richard listen
back to a music track just
recorded in Studio A in 1962.
Leonard Reginald Smith was born in Greenwich, London on 15th of April 1939 and became the legendary Marty Wilde
and amongst many things Cliff and Marty Wilde had in common is that at different times, they both had the same two
musicians in their group. They were Liquorice Locking and Brian Bennett and my first 'outing' with Marty Wilde and
his Wildcats was at Lewisham Town Hall for an outside broadcast. His group at that time consisted of Liquorice
Locking and Big Jim Sullivan on guitars with Brian Bennett on drums. We all met up again a few weeks later in
Studio A at Hertford Street to record a series with Marty. Apart from his hits, we did an interesting little
number that his fans certainly wouldn't know. It was called, "The curse of the Black Spot." We needed another
music track to complete the series so the boys went into the studio and ad-libbed an instrumental piece with
a musical break in the verses in which Marty, in his best Long John Silver voice, inserted, "Ah, 'tis the
curse of the black spot." Most people still hear Brian Bennett almost daily without realising it because he
writes and performs music for radio and television commercials.
With all the British artists having massive hits like Cliff and Marty, it was just a question of time before Billy
Fury graced Studio A with his presence, which was just after, 'Halfway to Paradise' charted. Billy was born in
Liverpool on April the 17th 1940 and christened Ronald William Wycherley. Larry Parnes his manager changed
Ronalds' name to Billy Fury, Billy after Billy Cotton the band leader and Fury because he was very shy and
wanted to signify strength. Billy was booked for a thirteen week series on Luxy provisionally titled,
'Billy's Pad. Clem Cattini was on drums, Heinz Burt and Colin Green on guitars. The musical director was Reg
'Earl' Guest on piano. Some of the numbers I remember were 'Am I blue?' the jazz classic 'Like young,'
'Slow boat to China,' and 'Wheels.' On the last day of recording we went to the pub opposite at lunchtime
and dear old Bill had a drop too much and just couldn't stop laughing. Luckily, we had everything in the can
and when we got back to the studio to clear up, Bill insisted on giving us one more tune. We set the
recorder running and he gave us his unique version of, 'When Lulu was bathing the baby.' We were all rolling
about with laughter, an image which remains to this day. I don't think his road manager, Hal Carter, was
too pleased, he was always push, push, but then that was his job.
My first meeting with the Beatles was with an audience participation show at EMI's head office in their conference
room at 20 Manchester Square in London just behind Oxford Street. The show was called, 'The Monday Spectacular,
' later called 'The Friday Spectacular,' due to re-scheduling. The format of the show was to present EMI's new
records to the listeners at home and, for the studio audience at the recording, the artists would mime to their
latest record after giving an interview. On this occasion, the Beatles were wearing shiny brown suits with
black collars. They had their typical hair-do of the day, 'The Pudding Basin.' On the recording was a
harmonica which Paul McCartney mimed to by putting a harmonica to his ear. Ray Orchard, the Canadian DJ,
was co-producer and remarked that we ought to keep our eyes on these guys as they were going to be very big.
I took one look at Paul with a harmonica to his ear and told Ray what he could do with his forecast!
The second Beatles meeting came about a year later in the confines of studio A. We ran a series called,
'Battle of the Giants' sponsored by National Benzole and presented by Canadian DJ, Doug Stanley. The format
was for top groups to compete over the weeks leading up to a semi-final, then the final. The top group
would be voted for by the listeners and a trophy awarded. Such groups were, The Searchers, Beach Boys,
Swinging Blue Jeans, The Hollies, The Stones and The Beatles. The Beatles won and in keeping with the
programme title, Henry Cooper the world famous boxer presented the Trophy.
'The Friday Spectacular' was not the only outside broadcast we did at EMI house in Manchester Square. There was
'Record Roulette' and 'Dancing Party.' 'Record Roulette' was quite difficult to do in that I had to select the
discs at lightning speed at a moments notice and cue them ready to play. The idea of the show is in the title
really. There was a giant roulette wheel in the auditorium before a teenage audience. There were twenty four
numbers on the wheel and these numbers matched a giant board with twenty four record titles on it. Members of
the audience would then give the wheel a spin and, whichever number the ball settled on, that record would be
played virtually instantly and, on certain numbers, there would be a prize for the contestant, usually a travel
bag or EMI record vouchers. The show was hosted by David Jacobs, Maggie Stredder (ex Vernon Girl) and Russell
Turner. Head honcho of EMI Records, Arthur Muxlow, was the producer out on the floor and Ray Orchard was co
producer with us in the control room. 'Dancing Party' was a strange animal indeed in that the programme gave
dancing lessons ….. on radio! It was another audience participation record show but in the middle of it Marie
Cartmell, a professional dancing instructor, gave out instructions for foot and body movements to the latest
dance craze. In those days it would be 'The Madison,' 'The Twist' and the like. As she gave out instructions,
fellow presenters of the show Muriel Young, Alan Dell, Joe Loss and Ray Orchard demonstrated the moves to the
audience present which at times could be quite hilarious. EMI produced instruction sheets for the listening
audience which were provided in record shops or by applying to EMI.
Our record library was quite comprehensive in the days of 78 rpm shellac discs but, inevitably, because of storage space, we occasionally had a purge which came in very handy for programmes like 'Smash Hits' hosted by Bob Monkhouse and Dennis Goodwin. The programme originated out in Luxembourg when it went out live with hosts Keith Fordyce and Aussie Barry Alldis. The programme format was for listeners to write in stating the record they hated the most. Bob and Dennis would play it one last time then theoretically 'smash' it. They didn't really - the records we had purged were brought down to the studio and we recorded lots of these being smashed. We would throw them up in the air to smash on the floor, let the piano lid fall on them; throw them at the wall, just to get lots of effects to use on the programme. With the advent of 45's and LP's, it unfortunately saw the end of the programme which also coincided with Dennis Goodwin going off to the States to write for comedian Bob Hope.
Teddy Johnson always seemed to be around. He was a great friend of boss man Geoffrey Everitt. Geoff during the war was an instructor in Royal Engineers at the School of Chemical Warfare. After the war he was posted to Luxembourg to help reorganise the army of Luxembourg. While he was there he was invited to host a programme on Radio Luxembourg about football, and being a staunch supporter of Arsenal FC readily agreed. Soon after he was offered regular employment following his demob.
On a chance meeting, Teddy Johnson was also offered employment
and went to work with Geoff. They worked together as DJs out in Luxembourg when the station was building in
popularity. In later years Teddy was also compering a weeknight programme and a live music programme with his
wife Pearl Carr. Sometimes our studio duties would take in recording demos of unknown people. I remember
recording a group led by Paul Gadd on quite a few occasions. Later, he changed his name to Paul Raven but
it really didn't mean anything to me until 1975 when I moved to another radio station and he visited the
station under his stage name, Gary Glitter, pointed to me and said, "You used to do all my demos."
We were recording the Ted Heath Big Band on regular occasions as outside broadcasts without an audience, and
what a wonderful team of musicians they were! The one thing I had a job coming to terms with on the Ted
Heath sessions was, on playback of the recorded tracks, how Ted would put his ear right up against the
loudspeaker to hear our recording which was blasting out, because of his deafness. The volume really hurt
us but Ted found it comfortable.
Another orchestra leader was Norrie Paramor - a very nice man and a real
gentleman. We did many recordings with Norrie. Among them 'Pops at the piano' which used to start off the
night's broadcasting, 'The Big Ben Banjo Band' and 'The Helen Shapiro Show.' The voice behind the Pathé
News (that's the one with the cock crowing on the front) in the cinema for many years was a certain Bob
Danvers-Walker. He made regular appearances on Luxy. His history goes way back before World War 2 when he
was a broadcaster on Radio Normandy. He mostly appeared on the Hughie Green radio shows alongside Patrick
Allen in such programmes as 'Opportunity Knocks' or with Michael Miles in 'Take your Pick.' Bob had an
unmistakable, rich voice, often imitated but never bettered. He knew so much about the broadcasting
industry. You could sit for hours and be mesmerised by his knowledge.
Norrie Paramor (left) and
Harold Berens on an outside
broadcast (OB) with the
"Big Ben Banjo Band".
Peek a Boo
Bert Weedon on banjo.
It is rumoured that when the Germans occupied Luxembourg local people got a lot of the valuable recordings and
buried them in the Parc municipal to protect them from being destroyed. If it is true, nobody's uncovered them
In later years, when most of the programmes came live from Luxy, they had a team of young DJs that I rarely met.
It was just as well because the work we were doing in the studio had escalated into other areas hitherto
unexplored. The team at that time was Dave 'Kid' Jensen, Tony Prince, Mark Wesley, Noel Edmonds, Paul Burnett,
Dave Christian, Peter Powell and Bob Stewart.
Mark Wesley was born on the 24 th of January 1948 in Southend on Sea, Essex and came to Luxy after being known
as Mark West on Radio Scotland. He had to change his name at another radio station because they already had a Mark
West. He stayed with Luxy for 9 years. Today he runs his own jingle company supplying musical adverts to local
radio stations. He has always been musically minded. I recorded a series of Luxy jingles with him at Hertford
Dave Christian was born in Weymouth, Dorset on the 31st of August 1949 and christened David Crockford. He's a guy with a fantastic deep voice and, being multi-lingual, was often used by the other services on Luxembourg (Radio-Tele-Luxembourg). Dave was another 'lucky breaker' in that he used to help Aussie Tony Windsor from pirate ship Radio London at various venues and, when Tony came to Luxy, Dave came to see him on an unrelated matter and was offered a position out in Luxembourg.
The Luxy DJ's sometimes came over to England for road
shows or special projects and on those occasions we met up. For example, the Festival of London, in the summer
of 1971. We hired a very luxurious single-decker coach, filled it with gram units, tape recorders, various
electronics and joined the parade in a procession through the streets of London which were crammed with
people. It was a lovely sunny day with blue skies, a great carnival atmosphere and the crowds of people
we passed gave us a resounding cheer. We had banners with the names of the station plastered all over it.
Our route took us from the American Embassy down to Oxford Street, along to Marble Arch, down Park Lane
to Piccadilly Circus, then to Battersea Park fun fair. I felt very proud during the procession the way
the crowd responded to us. Bob Stewart always made time to show me around this beautiful little city in
spite of the fact his wife had a debilitating illness in that she could not leave the house and had a
phobia about meeting people. One amazing thing about Bob Stewart was that he hailed from Liverpool and
had a wonderful American accent but nobody knew where it came from and he never said. On one occasion
Paul Burnett, his wife Nicole, I and the rest of the gang went out in Luxy to the local fairground.
Somehow Paul and his wife got separated from us and got mugged by a couple of thugs. Just to show how
the Luxy DJ's looked after each other, we went searching through the crowd to find them, but no luck.
Perhaps just as well, the boys really wanted to sort them out. Paul was in a sorry state and had to
go back to clean up.
The 208 bus passes Piccadilly Circus
during "The Festival of London".
The biggest project I ever undertook was for the Charisma label, Monty Python. I did three albums with them,
'Monty Python's previous album,' 'Matching tie and handkerchief,' and 'Live at Drury Lane.' I was not
particularly a fan of theirs but I had seen their TV shows and, to me, it was just another job but it was
difficult keeping Luxy staff out of the studio that were fans and would make any excuse to violate the red light.
I did realise how big the group were and how much bigger they would be, so I decided I would immortalise myself
by voicing some of the sound effects. I used by own body for the massage effects between sketches. I was the
chemist who yelled when invaded by a herd of zebras, a sneezing ant, various farts and a falling prince in the
fairy story. It is an amazing feeling knowing that, throughout the world, nobody knows my name or anything
about me, yet millions have heard me. I had similar feelings when I first joined Luxy and thought millions
of people are hearing my work. On the inner sleeve limited edition, I received no less than eight mentions
and also got Kid Jensen and Paul Burnett a few name mentions. On the album, 'Matching tie and handkerchief,'
I didn't do as much work. One thing I am pleased about is the special process we did on that album. During
the Warner Bros record shows on Luxy, Pat Campbell gave me a disc issued by Warner Bros with a horse race
on it. There were four tracks running side by side which weren't immediately noticeable. here was a red,
green, blue and yellow horse and, depending where you put the needle on the record, this determined which
horse won. We adopted this idea for this album and it was in keeping with the Python sort of humour. I
could just see in my mind's eye people trying to find the same sketch to play over again but found an
entirely new track and then complain that the album was only ten minutes long. The average album length
was about twenty minutes per side but, since we had two tracks running side by side, each track could
only be about ten minutes long. We agreed we would keep it a secret. 'Live at Drury Lane' turned out to
be a headache on the night. Asked how I would approach the project, I said that I would record both
performances then edit the best together. I was then told there would only be one performance. Trying
not to panic, I then said that I would have to do a lot of sorting out at the rehearsal. I was then told
there would not be a rehearsal! Having no change of underpants, I had to make a few hurried plans! I
had hired 'Ronnie Lane's mobile studio' for me to record the show and, since the vehicle had multi-track
facilities, I decided to cover the whole stage with microphones and worry about the mixdown at a later
stage. Other than 'The Ovaltineys,' I suppose the most famous programme on Luxy was the one which
followed the announcement "This is your Station of the Stars and the right time now by my H. Samuel
Everite watch is exactly eleven o'clock and time for the Top Twenty." The theme would then kick in,
the wonderful 'Parade of the Doodle Town Fifers' by the Sauter-Finegan orchestra. The programme's
first broadcast was in the autumn of 1948 but it was then on the long wave band at 1293 metres. It
was devised by my boss, Geoffrey Everitt. Over the years it had many hosts. I think Teddy Johnson
was the first, and then came Pete Murray. Others were Chris Denning, Don Wardell, Paul Burnett,
Tony Brandon and the very nice late Barry Alldis, although not in that order.
The Highlight of my career
Many people over the years have asked me, "what was the major highlight of your career?" The most incredible
episode doesn't involve my day to day operations at 208, - well loosely, perhaps. In my early years there,
the discs we were playing were 78 rpm shellac and the 45's were just starting. Our record library was on the
top floor and the weight of all these discs caused problems on the structure of the building. Every so often
we used to have a purge and many of the 78's that rarely got airplay were smashed or 'skipped.' I used to sift
through them to collect little gems like pristine copies of Paul Robeson and Nellie Lutcher rarely played on
request programmes for my own collection. Among these, were about five Nazi discs that were played for
propaganda purposes from Luxembourg during World War Two. They consisted mainly of German announcers and
English collaborators broadcasting their slant on how the war was going. At some stage after the war they
were obviously shipped back to London. Among these little gems I rescued was an interview with an English
prisoner of war who was a Submariner and was allowed to send a message to his wife and four and a half year
old son in Looe, Cornwall. This was in March 1944 and his name was James Fulthorpe. On the recording it
sounded like Woodthorpe or Woolthorpe. I wondered if I should try to contact them. For all I knew the
Germans may have let him record the interview to show what nice people they were then put a bullet in his
head. Eventually after much soul searching and many years I tried to track the family down to present them
with a copy, not knowing if James survived the war. But I had the wrong name. After 30 or so years of
research, in 2004 I managed to locate the family. James came safely home but unfortunately died in 1975 ago
from natural causes. However the family were very pleased to have a copy of the disc. I have now donated
that disc to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire James Fulthorpe received the D.S.M
for valour and heroism, so James wherever you are "I salute you."
The end is nigh
The very last broadcast of the great 208 was in December 1991 from the Telefunken transmitter at Marnach and the
last satellite broadcast was in December 1992. It was live from the station, with live links from London, and many
of the past presenters paid their respects in those final hours - a very sad day indeed. My days and memories of
Luxy were the best times of my young life in which I saw the many innovations and entertainers turn the whole
of British radio on its head. I was extremely proud to have played a small part in it. It brings a little quote
to mind, "The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on, nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to
cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." I certainly wouldn't cancel any part of it. As
for the tears? ……Well.
The good news is that with the advent of digital radio, it looks like Radio Luxembourg is again coming to the fore.
R.T.L (Radio Tele Luxembourg) has plans afoot to launch an English speaking service on one of their many digital European transmitters. The word is it'll be based loosely on the old '208' format with some of their old well known names guiding and presenting the new digital station.
The end ?
….. Well .. just let's wait and see.
About the Author
Alan Bailey was born in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on the 7th of January 1938. In his very young schooldays
he spent a lot of time in the school air raid shelter when the sirens' announced a potential Luftwaffe
bombardment. Later years saw him at a secondary modern school where he was an avid member of the school camera
club. With a great interest in broadcasting and film making, his first job on leaving school was as a cinema
projectionist at the local Luxor Cinema, part of the Southan Morris chain of cinemas', later to be taken over
by Essoldo. Using his acquired skills with a tape recorder, he played tapes to audiences during the intervals.
Realising the demise of the cinema by the new bingo craze, he joined an electrical contractor to gain new
skills. This lasted until 1956 when Her Majesty's Government called him up for National Service in the Royal
Corps of Signals. His service was spent in Germany in which time he spent most of his evenings listening to
Radio Luxembourg. He was so enthused that on demob in 1958, he applied to that radio station for a position in
their studios. Working there as engineer and producer, he received three gold discs for recording three Monty
Python Albums which went high into the charts, and recorded the auditions of Jimmy Savile and Noel Edmonds who
both started on 208. He left in 1975 to help set up a commercial radio station in Nottingham 'Radio Trent'.
Because of his production and engineering abilities, he picked up several major awards. He decided to retire
early in 1999 and to that end, the industry made a presentation to celebrate 40 years in the radio industry
with contributions from amongst others, Noel Edmonds, Sir Jimmy Savile OBE, Michael Palin and Alan 'Fluff'
Freeman. The radio station renamed one of the studios as 'The Alan Bailey Studio' to commemorate his