BBC Radio 2 celebrates The Light Programme
The Story of the Light Programme, created by radio indie Made in Manchester, is a documentary celebrating life before Radio 2.
The two-part series, produced by Derek Webster and Ashley Byrne, is presented by Paul O’Grady and looks back at more than 20 years of variety provided by the service from 1945 to 1967.
Two Way Family Favourites, Housewives Choice, Dick Barton, Hancock’s Half Hour, ITMA – It’s That Man Again, and Mrs Dales Diary were among the shows that graced the airwaves.
Among those remembering their part in the story are Dame June Whitfield, Judith Chalmers, Nicholas Parsons, Petula Clark, Pete Murray and the late Brian Matthew in his last interview before he died.
Others remembering the Light with affection include Dame Esther Rantzen, Ken Bruce, Barry Cryer, David Hamilton, Angela Rippon and Denis Norden and the late Paul Hollingdale who became the first voice on Radio 2.
In Part One, Denis Norden talked about a shared sense of relief after the war and the new wave of comedy that followed, including Take It From Here, the BBC’s first ever sitcom. Paul remembers how a ventriloquist’s dummy became a huge hit on the radio, Dame Esther recalls listening to Ray’s a Laugh, Judith Chalmers tells us what it was like to present Two Way Family Favourites. The doc also finds out how children’s entertainment thrived on ‘The Light’.
Meanwhile, singer, Petula Clark says how she’d rush home from school to hear Dick Barton Special Agent, Tony Blackburn talks about Journey into Space and there’s a look at the emergence of great comedies like Hancock’s Half Hour and the Goon Show.
Part Two of the series airs at 10pm on September 25th on Radio 2 and includes an interview with the late Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew who presented Saturday Club and Easy Beat on The Light Programme as well as interviews with Russell Davies who wrote a song to the theme of Housewives Choice and light music expert Brian Reynolds. Johnnie Walker also recalls when he almost got the cast of Mrs Dales Diary arrested.
MIM Creative Director Ashley Byrne says: “It was great working with Paul. He has an enthusiasm and passion for this piece of broadcasting history which make him a perfect host. It’s two hours of fun-packed nostalgia.”