14 November, 2012 marks the 90th anniversary of the BBC's first-ever broadcast and the beginning of the British love affair with radio. This fascinating book takes as its starting point those early, tentative programmes broadcast from Marconi House on the Strand, and follows the story of those magical radio voices through the years of economic depression, war and austerity, to the swinging 60s and up to the digital era. Above all, it celebrates the great, the forgotten and the notorious voices of radio from the last nine decades, and the programmes they made famous: Marion Cran in the 1920s, who pioneered the first gardening programme; Lord Haw Haw, whose sinister catchphrase 'Germany calling' punctuated broadcasts throughout the Second World War; the Goons and Kenneth Horne, comedy greats of the 1950s; John Peel, Alan Freeman, Kenny Everett and other heroes of Radio Caroline and the pirate stations; all the way up to Eddie Mair, Fi Glover, and Danny Baker, the much-loved voices of today.
The result is a wonderful blend of insight, history, and nostalgia that will appeal to radio's many aficionados.
©2012 Simon Elmes (P)2012 Random House AudioGo
"charming history of the call signs, catch-phrases, repetitions and modulations of tone that make up the world of the radio... The stories behind the voices are told with real affection for the subject." (Who Do You Think You Are Magazine)
"Simon Elmes' latest book... pulses with his own love of the medium.... It's an engaging read" (The Scotsman)
"Elmes' beguiling book offers an appealing blend of history and nostalgia." (Good Book Guide)
"Simon Elmes's gentle compendium of the medium's most evocative and best-loved characters goes some way to restoring the glow of nostalgia that once haloed light entertainment." (Guardian)
"Just about every radio show you've ever loved features somewhere in a book you won't want to put down." (Paperback Book of the Month, Choice Magazine)
One of the best Audible books I've had over the past 5 years. Amusing, informative and throughly engaging. Simon Elmes knows his stuff, writes with intelligence and imagination and reads in an easy and imaginative way. It is a must-listen for any wireless fan!
I really enjoyed this. Simon Elmes reads very well and he is a good mimic of the characters he discusses.
Lots of nostalgia and very informative.Highly recommended.
This is a fascinating story, well told. Elmes has a light touch and an eye for well-chosen examples. The problem with this reading, however, is that it lacks the original recordings. Elmes is not a talented impersonator, so there is only so much that he can convey via a description of the vocal delivery and the way in which different lengths of pause are indicated by the number of dots left in the printed quote. Clearly, this is an audiobook, so it is constrained by being a vocal version of the book, but you will end up feeling that something is lacking and wondering how it might have been conveyed differently.
The repetitive nature of the excerpts sort of works and I enjoyed the listen. The list of characters can get overwhelming but like War and Peace just keep going and the necessary bits fall into place. Downloaded after listening to "Desert Island Discs" which is a similar theme on the history of one radio programme.
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