So, only six days left until the big day. I hope that you are all set. I think I am, as much as I can be. Christmas for more was always a time to scan through the Radio Times to see what was being offered on the radio over the festive season. Of course back in the seventies we did not have the choice that there is today. Indeed, if you were a lover of pop music all you had was Radio 1, Radio North Sea and Radio Luxemburg and the few commecial stations that were starting to appear around the country. But, I spotted a little piece in this week’s edition of the Christmas Radio Times that made me remember that back then when television held little interest for me, the radio produced some very entertaining material. Of course there were always the Christmas specials for popular shows like The Navy Lark and then there were classics dragged out like Hancock’s Half Hour. But, as a teen, and a music lover I was looking for festive goodies that I would be keen to listen to.
One of the short lived Christmas joys were the similcast Christmas Concerts on Radio 1 and BBC1. I can only remember two, Elton John and Queen but, I am sure there were more. Elton’s was the first one. I had to argue long and hard to get my mum and dad to let me watch it and listen to it on the stereo radiogram that we had. But, it was worth it. Obviously the festive season brought the introduction of the Christmas singles. Many of which are still pulled into the playlists even today. I know that even I have loaded a fair few of these into my computer’s playlist for the next couple of weeks so that I can have a backdrop of festive tunes as I go about writing my cards and getting ready for the big day.
But, on the Eve of the big day, a twiddle round the dial found all mannor of festive things. From the traditional, Carols From Kings, to the Radio 1 Christmas Party and Capital Radio’s ‘Nothing But A Houseparty which in those days was the fore runner of the much cursed automation which so many stations rely on so much today. But, in South London, for me, the best part of Christmas was thestart up of some of the regular Sunday pirates that came on air for the Christmas period. Radio Jackie of course was first and by far the most consistant. Followed closely by Radio Kalidescope. I can well remember getting back from midnight mass, having a drink with me mum and then running upstairs to get the radio out to scan the medium wave to see what I could find. Then it was a case of how long I could stay awake. Usually not long. But then they were there all over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. An alternative to Radio 1, and Capital Radio.
I hope you manage to find something good to treat your ears to over Christmas. There is so much choice now, it should not be that hard. But, for me Christmas starst with the Carols from Kings on Radio 4 at 1500 GMT on Christmas Eve. I believe it is on BBC World Service as well. www.bbc.co.uk/radio4