Baddow & Galleywood

March 2018 Speaker

Over 120 members attended the March meeting of Baddow & Galleywood U3A and we were delighted to welcome Steve Scruton from BBC Essex radio who told us about his ‘Life in Radio’. He was assisted by Ian Wyatt also from BBC Essex who co-ordinated the technical recordings which Steve used to demonstrate his talk.

Four of our members had previously worked on the Help Line at BBC Essex and Steve was pleased to meet them again at our meeting.

Steve began the afternoon by getting Ian to play old theme tunes from 1951 onwards from the BBC light programme and getting us to guess which BBC radio programmes they came from - theme tunes from Children’s Favourites, Housewives Choice, The Archers, Pick of the Pops with Alan Freeman, which had a big audience in Europe as well as in the UK, also Radio 5 broadcast Sports report at 5pm on Saturday evenings and Radio 4 Desert Island Discs. In the 1970s the Jimmy Young Show was very popular as was Family Favourites on Sunday lunchtimes. All these recording brought back many memories for everyone.

Steve then told us how from his early teenage years he wanted to become a TV camera man but when he left school he took up an apprenticeship in TV repair with Rediffusion who ran ITV London. In the 1960s he also worked for a while on the Pirate radio ships off the coast, until in 1967 the Government Marine Defences Act closed down the stations and Radio Caroline moved to Holland. Steve played us a recording of the sad close down on 14th August 1967 at 3pm, but in 2017 Steve and Ian were involved in recreating pirate radio off Harwich and Walton Pier by acquiring a Lighthouse Ship to broadcast from, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of Pirate Radio.

After Radio Caroline Steve became a volunteer working in hospital radio presenting programmes from all three Chelmsford Hospitals. In 1986 BBC radio opened in New London Road and a couple of years later he was offered a job as a studio assistant to operate casette tapes for evening programmes on Jazz, Folk music and Country and Western. Steve then presented some afternoon shows as a relief DJ when other DJs were not available. Eventually in 1990 Steve was given his own afternoon show.

One of his claims to fame was the Charity walk with Angela Lodge from Epping to Harwich visiting village halls, and villagers homes and gardens and raising £10,000 for Essex Air Ambulance. These programmes were broadcast live and gave the listeners an insight into the activities in various villages in our county. Steve and Ian were also very involved in producing and presenting the Clacton and Southend Air Shows over the years.

After an enthralling hour of entertainment, which bought back many happy memories for us all, the members retired to have their refreshments in the small hall.