BBC Studiolympia News 

6 September 2022


What are we doing here?


Welcome to Studiolympia.

This is the name chosen by the BBC to describe what it is doing at the Ideal Home Exhibition. Here at Olympia we have established a studio which is open to the public and in which we shall be presenting during the entire run of the Ideal Home Exhibition some of the stars and glimpses of some of the programmes that are familiar to you when you listen to the radio or watch BBC-1 and BBC-2.

Of course, we cannot bring you anything like the entire range of programmes which makes up the service provided by the BBC. But what you do see and hear, we hope you will enjoy. Everybody who comes to the Ideal Home Exhibition will of course have a different attitude to the BBC from that of his neighbour. This is due to the fact that BBC programmes embrace every taste and interest.

On an average day 28 million people listen to BBC radio and 23½ million watch one or more BBC Television programmes. These represent massive audiences. But it should not be forgotten that these millions of people are also made up of a thousand interests.

At Studiolympia, however, we would like to think that you join us as a family or part of a family.

The All-day Show

BBC Studiolympia remains busy all day. When radio programmes are not being broadcast, the stars of popular BBC Television series such as “Compact”, “Z Cars”, “Dr. Who”, “Dixon of Dock Green”, and “Dr. Finlay’s Casebook” make personal appearances. Disc jockeys such as Don Moss, Keith Fordyce, Alan Freeman, and David Jacobs introduce recording artists from “The Top 20”. The studio audience is invited to select the gramophone records that will be played the following morning on BBC Light Programme’s “Family Fare” or choose the housewives whose requests will be heard in the next edition of “Housewives’ Choice”. Victor Silvester appears with ballroom dance champions … the bands of Joe Loss, Edmundo Ros, Acker Bilk … autographs, of course, and this souvenir copy of “BBC Studiolympia News” to take home so that you can read of the programmes, personalities and developments in BBC radio and the two BBC television services.


A new Francis Durbridge serial means that viewers can look forward to being pleasurably baffled. And now Durbridge’s latest six-week essay in crime, A Man Called Harry Brent, begins on BBC-2 on March 22.

When Carol Vyner (Jennifer Daniel) breaks off her engagement to Detective Inspector Alan Milton (Gerald Harper) in order to marry travel-agent Harry Brent (Edward Brayshaw) she becomes involved in adventures mysterious and alarming.

Alan Bromly, who has collaborated with Francis Durbridge on most of his TV ventures, will produce and direct this thriller. The most famous character Durbridge has ever created, of course, is Paul Temple.

Followers on radio of the exploits of this tireless private investigator will be delighted to hear that he will be returning to the Home Service air on Sunday, April 11, in a new series — Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery. Sharing his adventures, of course, will be his ever-patient and long-suffering wife, Steve.

Wars of the Roses


After The Age of Kings and The Spread of the Eagle – two cycles of Shakespearean plays which won admiration abroad as well as at home — comes The Wars of the Roses.

For five weeks recently the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, at Stratford-on-Avon, became a television studio in which Michael Barry, former BBC-tv drama chief, produced The Wars of the Roses.

This title covers a TV trilogy-‘Henry VI’, ‘Edward IV’, and ‘Richard III’ – formed from Shakespeare’s four plays about the conflict between the Houses of York and Lancaster. The recordings will be televised on April 8, 15, and 22.

Twelve tons of equipment

Transforming the theatre was the biggest technical operation carried out by the BBC in the field of drama. It involved transporting twelve tons of equipment from London and Birmingham; lengthening the Theatre’s stage by 40 feet to provide a tracking area for eight cameras; making the circle bar into a control gallery; reinforcing the stage to carry a camera crane; and installing 200 extra lamps as well as fans to stop equipment from overheating.

How to get Tickets for Shows

Write to the BBC Ticket Unit, Broadcasting House, London W.1, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. Say what kind of show you would like to see: give two alternatives. Audience shows are:

Radio: Light Entertainment, Panel or Quiz-type, Light Music, Modern Dance Music, Chamber Music, Symphony Orchestra, Modern or Old-time Dancing
Television: Panel or Quiz-type and Light Entertainment

The BBC cannot acknowledge requests but tickets will be sent a week before the date of the performance.

The Ticket Unit will do its best to send you tickets for the type of show for which you apply. If visitors from outside London give the period during which they will be in London, every effort will be made to send a ticket for the appropriate time. Normally we can only send one or two double tickets to any individual. Children under the age of ten are not admitted to BBC studios.


From Monday March 22 onwards the Music Programme will be from 7 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday to Friday. At weekends it will run from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. This means that the BBC will be providing seventy additional hours of broadcast music each week.

The Music Programme, which is on the Third Waveband, is rapidly becoming a part of broadcasting history. Reaction to it has been sharp and divided. Musicians and music-lovers alike regard it as a most enlightened policy; but there are dissenters who call it ‘musical wallpaper’, and regard the established classics as unsuitable for background listening.

The BBC, basing its policy upon a good deal of research, believes that the new Music Programme meets an important demand. It provides a continuous service of what the average music-lover would regard as ‘ music There are Promenade Concerts, broadcasts by provincial symphony orchestras, recitals, music from abroad, opera and operetta, Viennese and other light music, and good jazz. It can be listened to as background music or, since all performances are of the high standard always demanded by the BBC, it can be listened to attentively.

… and how to get the Music Programme

The Music Programme is to be found on the Third Waveband in the same place on the dial of your radio set as the evening Third Programme, or Saturday afternoon’s ‘Sports Service’. The wavelengths are 464 m., 194 m., and VHF.

Laughter on the Air


Benny Hill stars in ‘Benny Hill Time’, the Light Programme’s Sunday lunchtime comedy show in which Benny is aided and abetted by Jan Waters, Peter Vernon, Patricia Hayes, with Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson


Ken Dodd, that hilarious comic from Knotty Ash, returns on Sunday April 11, in ‘The Ken Dodd Show’, the first of a new series


is back in the early summer. Bob Miller and the Millermen will be with him in his new weekly programme series. Every week in a special spot the audience will join him in community singing of top pop hits


‘Round the Horne’, every Sunday afternoon, means of course, Kenneth Horne, in charge in a brand new show


Dick Emery, who starred in his first radio series almost a year ago, returns soon with another series of ‘Emery At Large’. He will be playing all sorts of characters in various situations.

1965 The Big Year for BBC-2

… as it spreads across the nation


At present, BBC-2 can only be seen by viewers living in London, parts of the South East of England and the greater Birmingham area. By the end of this year, it is expected that nearly 50% of the population of the United Kingdom will be able to see its programmes and benefit from the wider choice of viewing if offers.

During the autumn, five new transmitting stations will come into operation at Sutton Coldfield, Winter Hill, Emley Moor, Wenvoe and Rowridge. They will bring BBC-2 to viewers living in the Central Midlands; the North of England — east and west of the Pennines; part of South Wales; the Isle of Wight, parts of Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex. It is also very possible that the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas of Central Scotland will be covered before the end of 1965 by the opening of a new station at Black Hill.

Meanwhile, if all goes to plan, fill-in stations will have opened at Hertford, Tunbridge Wells, Guildford and Reigate, extending and improving the quality of reception in these, currently, ‘fringe’ areas.

Looking even further ahead, 1966 will see the opening of a further seven transmitting stations, extending BBC-2 to viewers in the North East of England, Norfolk, Anglesey, South East Kent, the Aberdeen area of North East Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire not already receiving it.


Not only is this true of BBC-2 but it is also the title of one of its most popular shows. It replaced the highly successful ‘Beat Room’ in February because, as producer Barry Langford puts it: “The formula was tied to a trend which is disappearing. The style of pop music has never been so varied as it is at the moment and the new programme reflects all aspects of it for all the family”


Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Peter Finch head a distinguished cast in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ in the Home Service later this year. The players include Rupert Davies, Patrick Barr, Andrew Sachs and Ralph Truman.

This month, Irene Handl repeats her West End success in ‘Goodnight Mrs. Puffin’ in the Light Programme, and Joan Plowright and Michael Hordern star in Bernard Shaw’s ‘St. Joan’ in the Third Programme in May.

Big Stars in the Small Hours

Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Lionel Bart, Anthony Newley, Bruce Forsyth, Cicely Courtneidge, Burt Bacharach, Fenella Fielding, Kenneth More and Honor Blackman are a few of the guests who have been dropping in to Late Night Saturday with Peter Murray every week in the Light Programme. Miss Dietrich stayed for an hour until 1.30 a.m. reading listeners’ requests and playing them, and offered then to stay and act as interpreter between Peter Murray and Helmut Zacharias of Tokyo Melody fame.

The late night shows are friendly shows, shows like the late live show, on Tuesdays, whose producer, Johnny Kingdon says, ‘We have to create a show that’s not only pleasant to go to bed to, but is also good listening for all those still awake. For a lot of people, midnight is their midday; many are on standby duty all over the country and radio’s their company. We have a radio car out meeting some of them, and by kind permission of the GPO, some have been able to telephone us and have the call transmitted over the air’.

Another is Light Night Extra, on Fridays, beginning at the end of March, with music, news flashes, more radio car link-ups, making the programme a friendly get-together of listeners and all those in it.

Through Till Two, every Thursday, with records all the way, including listeners’ on the spot requests, with Jimmy Young till 12.15, and Steve Race until 2 a.m., is yet another programme in this pattern of late-night listening.

How to get a record played in a programme

Gramophone record requests should be sent on a postcard addressed to the title of the programme concerned, to Broadcasting House, London, W.1. There are also programmes in the General Overseas Service for service men and women wherever they are stationed and for the Merchant Navy, and listeners should write to: ‘Forces’ Favourites’, ‘Listener’s Choice’ or ‘Merchant Navy’, BBC, Bush House, London, W.C.2 giving the serviceman’s number, full name, rank, where stationed, and relationship to the writer.



Have you ever met a walking encyclopaedia? Well, that’s what I try to be! — at least as far as BBC-2 is concerned.

Up to a few months ago, as an interviewer on the new channel’s ‘Line-Up’ programme, my job was to ask the questions. Then, when it was decided we should open up in the Birmingham area, the BBC asked me to change places and personally answer the many queries they were receiving from viewers about the new service.

So that is what I’ve been doing — appearing on their screens and chatting to them at exhibitions, in stores and on the High Street. And now here I am, still doing the same job but from the stage of Studiolympia.

Is BBC-2 for You?

One question I am very often asked by people who have not yet seen BBC-2 is: ‘Are the programmes likely to interest me?’ Well, that’s an easy one to answer because BBC-2 aims at providing something for everyone. Its programmes range from top League Football on Saturday evenings to thriller serials by ace writers such as Francis Durbridge; from the latest ‘pop’ music in ‘Gadzooks! It’s All Happening!’ to direct relays of symphony concerts; from the smash-hit western film series ‘The Virginian’ to major documentaries; from variety programmes like ‘The Hollywood Palace’ to the West End play successes to be seen in ‘Thursday Theatre’; from comedy series like ‘The Likely Lads’ and ‘Many Happy Returns’ to exciting dramatisations of the great classics, such as ‘Madame Bovary’ and ‘Mill on the Floss’.

Mind you, I’m not going to pretend that I like all the programmes you can see on the new channel. Frankly, they are not all my ‘cup of tea’. But then, perhaps that’s the best compliment I can pay — because BBC-2 does not forget the viewers who also have specialised interests. There are programmes for motorists, jazz fans, serious music lovers and enthusiasts of all kinds — and at peak hours! You don’t have to wait until everybody else has gone to bed to see them!

A Real Choice at last

The thing I find is appealing to people most about BBC-2 is the fact that it offers them a wider choice of viewing. How often, in the days of only two channels, have you switched on to find them both putting out the same type of programme —and longed to be able to see something different? Now, because it is planned as far as possible as an alternative to BBC-1, you can be sure of finding that something on BBC-2.

Any Questions

I’m very much looking forward to seeing you personally at Studiolympia and, if you are not yet receiving it, answering your questions about BBC-2.

After I made a similar appearance in Birmingham, a gentleman came up to me and said: ‘When you come to put up my aerial, would you make it a Saturday — when the wife’s out!’ Well!

Why VHF is Better

The BBC still receives complaints from listeners of interference from continental stations with our medium-wave Home Services. The BBC has done everything possible to reduce the interference, but the truth is there are now too many medium-wave broadcasting stations in Europe. In order to defeat this interference, the BBC has built (at the cost of several million pounds) a network of VHF stations covering more than 99 per cent, of the population. VHF stands for Very High Frequency.

Now, the next move is yours. If you want to rid yourself of interference, you’ve got to buy a reliable VHF set from a dealer and have it properly installed. In some areas this may mean a good outside aerial. The VHF set will cost you more than a small transistor medium-wave portable but, given the right set and the right aerial, you really get rid of the whistles, bangs, crackles and bursts of music that turn listening pleasure into a nightmare, especially after dark.

A VHF set means a return to listening with pleasure.

The BBC Engineering Information Department is ready to help and advise you on VHF and radio reception as well as on television reception.

Please write any requests for further information to
Engineering Information Department,
British Broadcasting Corporation,
London, W.1.


‘The game’s afoot, Watson!’ Sherlock Holmes (Douglas Wilmer) and the devoted doctor (Nigel Stock) are on one of 12 trails they are following on BBC-1 in the first British-produced series about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective. In these plays producer David Goddard aims at faithfulness to the original characters and settings: ‘To try to improve the stories would be criminal…’ It is an interesting point of detail in the production that the deerstalker cap and heavy cape in which Holmes is seen here are reserved for country wear.


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