Category Archives: Radio

Hear Here 6: World Radio Day

I’ve discovered February 13th is World Radio Day, and I’d like to celebrate a medium that has been a lifelong friend, an ever present companion, and a source of connection between millions around the world. Radio has certainly shaped and influenced my life from a very young age, so in honour of this, I’d like to share some of my personal radio memories.

My earliest recollection is the sound of music emanating from the family “radiogram”, a wooden piece of furniture standing on four legs, with a built in radio receiver and a record player cabinet.  I distinctly remember hearing Tony Blackburn’s voice and “Arnold” the barking dog on Radio 1, and I’ve loved Tony ever since. Radio Luxembourg a pirate station had a regular bingo broadcast which my mammy listened to? I thought this was a rogue piece of imagination on my part, but my husband (a pirate radio buff himself) assures me this did happen! This would have been around 1971-73 before commercial radio began in the UK.

When the commercial Radio Clyde was born on 31st December 1973 broadcasting to Glasgow and West Central Scotland, my radio experience grew, especially when a tape recorder machine and small microphone were purchased not long after. Before a year had passed, and I still hadn’t started school, I had graduated from being the Hogmanay DJ playing records, to an adept “radio producer” creating tapes of music and chat for a beloved uncle in Australia. Mammy’s record collection was my main source of material, and I practiced hard, because birthday requests for Uncle Harry were sent to Radio Clyde and I was responsible for recording the greetings. Many years were spent listening to Frank Skerritt and Sydney Devine Saturday morning shows, capturing these missives, so the tape could be sent to Australia in time for 11th November. So long before January 1975 when I turned five years old, I was well accustomed to having headphones on, listening to the radio voices and capturing big moments.

Aged around 7 I got my very own radio cassette recorder machine inherited from a work colleague of my Dad’s, as he was upgrading his music system. The radio had a short-wave band, a new encounter, which literally opened up the world for me to explore from my bedroom in a small Scottish village. Turning the dial slowly, different music styles and foreign voices speaking unknown languages would come through between areas of static noise and interference. Then people with beautiful English and the hint of an accent were discovered, and I was introduced to the English language broadcasts from several countries around the world, predominantly Europe. The Cold War between West and East European ideologies was at its height, and so the likes of Radio Moscow and Radio Tirana could easily be picked up loud and proud. I know they had an agenda (who doesn’t if we are honest) but hearing such a different approach to the news was a real eye opener to my younger self. It broadened my mind to other cultures with different ideas, and made me realise that despite the differences, we were all essentially the same.

I recall searching for the American Forces Network broadcasts of baseball matches to service personnel based in Europe. Something about Friday night’s listening to a game springs to mind, even though I didn’t fully understand the terminology of the sport. For over a decade, an hour was spent with Radio Moscow’s English program early on Saturday mornings. Sunday afternoons, before the Top 40 show and after attending my Baptist Sunday School, were spent in the company of Vatican Radio’s Latin Mass. The ultimate blend of Ying & Yang, West verses East, Protestant verses Catholic, and emblematic of my refusal to be stereotyped in any way.

I kept a radio logbook which alas disappeared years ago, but when I met my husband, I delighted in seeing his radio memorabilia instead. He had also been an avid listener as a child/teenager and we discovered a shared love for short-wave radio. Over the years we have bought some very nice SW radios with ever greater range capabilities. To this day, and I’m fifty years old now, I’ve never lost that wondrous thrill I experienced as a seven year old, on hearing something different from an unexpected distant place.

Sadly, especially in the last decade, my SW radio hobby has got harder to sustain. Many SW stations have ceased broadcasting completely, and the internet age seems to have created a nightmare listening scenario, with household Wi-Fi connections causing hideous interference. Living in a ground floor flat probably exacerbates this problem, even though we don’t have an internet home connection ourselves. Before widespread personal internet connectivity and mobile phone use, my handheld SW radios could provide excellent to moderately interfered sound quality, making the listening experience enjoyable. Just switching them on today finds your ears assaulted by white noise that seems almost impenetrable, however hard you try and tune into a station. Going 21stC I’ve discovered a mobile app called Radio Garden that allows you to find radio stations worldwide. This has soothed my aching heart a little, although they are regular broadcast outputs, rather than the distinct programs made for a global audience that SW radio specialised in.

For the last 16 years I’ve been involved in hospital radio and enjoy the freedom to play a wide and varied selection of music. Many of the UK’s domestic radio stations seem to be networked these days, and the music output in particular seems to be quite formulaic as a result. Hospital radio provides a unique environment to communicate with and entertain patients, and the limits are defined by your music collection sources and the presenter’s imagination. In a way, this platform has enabled me to return to my childhood radio roots.

         Celebrating World Radio Day. Image credit abmj

Hear Here 5: Elementally Yours Broadcast Three

This is the final IYPT show and this month’s playlist is inspired by the TV program Seven Wonders One Planet by David Attenborough, and chemical elements named after places. Combined together I’m going to travel on a musical odyssey around the globe visiting the seven continents, as well as travelling into outer space, to take in some stellar areas that have helped name elements. With such a heavy itinerary to accomplish, the show took 2 hours and 50 minutes to do. Some historical events, one death and two birthdays influence the song choices too. These are my complete lab book notes.

Angie’s Allsorts Show 233 Hospital Radio Leighton 26th November 2019


1. NEIL DIAMOND with AMERICA (Am-AMERICIUM 95): Continent 1 Americas)

2. TINA TURNER with NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS (Birthday 1939 so 80 today, born Nutbush Tennessee)


4. MAMAS & PAPAS with CALIFORNIA DREAMIN (Cf-CALIFORNIUM 98, Bk-BERKELIUM 97, Lv-LIVERMORIUM 116 after the Lawrence Livermore Lab in California.

5. JOHN DENVER with ALASKA & ME (Continent 2 Arctic)

6. MATT MONRO with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (Ru-RUTHENIUM 44 from Latin for Russia Rhuthenia; Db-DUBNIUM 105 from Dubna in Russia, Fl-FLEROVIUM 114 for Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions located in Dubna Russia. : Continent 2 Arctic & Continent 3 Europe)


Travel Odyssey Phase One. Image credit abmj

CONNECTION CONUNDRUM (travel down to Baikonur Kazakhstan for launch across the universe)

8. BEATLES with ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (He-HELIUM 2 for Helios Greek for Sun, Se-SELENIUM 34 from Selene Greek for the moon, Pd-PALLADIUM 46 for Pallas an asteroid, Ce-CERIUM 58 for dwarf planet Ceres, Hg-MERCURY 80-the swift Roman God rather than the planet, U-URANIUM 92 for planet Uranus, Np-NEPTUNIUM 93 for Neptune, Pu-PLUTONIUM 94 for dwarf planet Pluto.

9. CILLA BLACK with WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE (Latin for Earth Tellus gives Te-TELLURIUM 52)

10. NATASHA BEDINGFIELD with SINGLE (Birthday born 1981 so 38 today)

Answer: NOT Both Cilla and all the Beatles hail from Liverpool and shared a manager in Brian Epstein. These two songs were recorded specially as part of a compilation charity album for the World Wildlife Fund WWF. The album was called No One’s Gonna Change Our World and released on December 12th 1969, just in time for Christmas. All the stars which included Rolf Harris, The Hollies, Spike Milligan, The Bee Gees, Lulu, Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick & Titch, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Bruce Forsyth & Harry Secombe offered their services for free. Composers, Publishers, and Recording companies waived their fees as well, to enable all royalties from record sales benefit the World Wildlife Fund.

Launch: 11. FRANK SINATRA (Fr-FRANCIUM 87, Na-SODIUM 11, K-POTASSIUM 19. Si-SILICON 14, N-NITROGEN 7, At-ASTATINE 85, Ra-RADIUM 88 (other variations) with FLY ME TO THE MOON (Se-SELENIUM 34 for the moon)

Rarity Record of the Week: 12.  JIMI HENDRIX with VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE (Np-NEPTUNIUM 93)

Return: 13. PETER SCHILLING with MAJOR TOM (COMING HOME) (Theme for Deutschland 83 & 86)

(Ge-GERMANIUM 32 from Latin Germania for Germany, Re-RHENIUM 75 Latin Rhenus for the Rhine, Ds-DARMSTADTIUM 110 for Darmstadt where it was discovered, Hs-HASSIUM 108  from Latin Hassius for the Hesse region)

Travel Odyssey Phase Two. Image credit abmj

14. BONNIE TYLER with LOST IN FRANCE (Ga-GALLIUM 31 from the Latin Gallia, Fr-FRANCIUM 87)

15. TONY MARTIN with LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (Lu-LUTETIUM 71 from the Latin name for Paris Lutetia)

16. NATALIE COLE with AS TIME GOES BY (Historical Event: Film Casablanca had its World Premier on this day in New York 1942: Continent 4 Africa)

17. TOMMY DORSEY with NIGHT IN SUDAN (Historical Death Dorsey died 1956)

Linking Lyrics Slot: Theme TUTANKHMUN (Exhibition Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at Saatchi Gallery London has 150 objects from his tomb on display from this month until May 2020)



20. TOTO with AFRICA (safari in Kenya, visit Victoria Falls, Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa.

Travel Odyssey Phase Three. Image credit abmj

21. RIMSKY KORSAKOV’S SONG OF INDIA (indirect references: Be-BERYLLIUM 4 from Belur India, In-INDIUM 49 for India: Continent 5 Asia). Note-113 Nihonium is named after Japan-song played in show two.

22. SEEKERS with I AM AUSTRALIAN (Continent 6 Australia)

23. DURAN DURAN with MY ANTARCTICA (Continent 7 Antarctica)

Essential Stopover: Antarctica/South America/Europe:

24. JULIE COVINGTON with DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA (Continent 1 Americas)

25. AMICII with OLYMPIA ETERNAL FLAME (Cu-COPPER 29 for Cyprus, Mg-MAGNESIUM 12 from Magnesia in Thessaly region. Mount Olympus on border area of Thessaly & Macedonia.

Flyover mainland Europe especially Poland (Po-POLONIUM 84) heading for Denmark.

Travel Odyssey Phase 4. Image credit abmj


27. AVICII with SOMEWHERE IN STOCKHOLM (Ho-HOLMIUM 67 from Latin Holmia for Stockholm) NOTE: Not far from Stockholm the village of Ytterby has named four elements: Y-YTTRIUM 39, Tb-TERBIUM 65, Er-ERBIUM 68, Yb-YTTERBIUM 70,. Six other rare-earth elements were discovered in the village Sc-SCANDIUM 21, Gd-GADOLINIUM 64, Dy-DYSPROSIUM 66, HOLMIUM 67, Tm-THULIUM 69, and LUTETIUM 71.

Travel through Scandinavia & Northern regions such as Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands looking for the Northern Lights.

28. RENAISSANCE with NORTHERN LIGHTS. Back in Scotland we stop off for a good Scots breakfast in the village of Strontian which gave its name to the element Sr-STRONTIUM 38

29. RACHMANINOV PIANO CONCERTO NO 2 EXCERPT (Historical Event: Film Brief Encounter went on general release in 1945)


Hear Here 4: Elementally Yours Broadcast Two

This is the second of three special shows celebrating 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table. Several elements are referred to through artists and song titles. This playlist acknowledges a historical event and two birthday jukebox artists as well.  My lab book noted 30 songs played in just under 2.5 hours, and this is the raw science data once more.

Angie’s Allsorts Show 230 Hospital Radio Leighton 27th August 2019



2. TOM LEHRER with THE ELEMENTS (PERIODIC TABLE) written in 1959, so it goes up to Nobelium 102. Tune Major-General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.

3. PAUL SIMON (P-Phosphorus 15, Au-Gold 79, Li-LITHIUM 3, Sm-SAMARIUM 62, O-OXYGEN 8, N-NITROGEN 7) with YOU CAN CALL ME AL (Al-ALUMINIUM 13)


5. DAVID SOUL (August Birthday Jukebox Artist: David turns 76 tomorrow the 28th) with SILVER LADY (Ag-SILVER 47) living opposite


7. BZMKER (B-BORON 5, K-POTASSIUM 19, Er-ERBIUM 68) with NIHONIUM Original Mix (Nh-NIHONIUM 113 other word for Japan, named in 2016)

8. JOHNNY CASH with RING OF FIRE (Western Alchemy Hermetic Element Fire)

9. DAMIAN RICE with VOLCANO (HISTORICAL EVENT: Eruption of Krakatoa peaked in 1883. Kr-KRYPTON 36, K-POTASSIUM 19, At-ASTATINE 85, O-OXYGEN 8)

10. IRON (Fe-IRON 26) MAIDEN with STORM TROOPER (High 5: No. 5 w/e 27/8/05)

11. JEAN MICHEL JARRE (August Birthday Jukebox Artist: Jean Michel turned 71yrs on the 24th) with OXYGENE II (O-OXYGEN 8)


Rarity Record of the Week:  13. KATE & ANNA McGARRIGLE with NaCl (Na-SODIUM 11, Cl-CHLORINE 17)

14. JULIAN LENNON with SALTWATER (Western Alchemy Hermetic Element Water)




18. ASAP SCIENCE with THE ELEMENTS OF THE PERIODIC TABLE (update 2018: all elements to 118 sung in order) Tune-Can-Can piece from Orphee aux Enfers by Jacque Offenbach.


Elemental Scrabble Artists


10a. KINKS (K-POTASSIUM 19, In-INDIUM 49/or I-IODINE 53 & N-NITROGEN 7, S-SULPHUR 16) with YOU REALLY GOT ME (High 5: No. 4 w/e 27/8/64)

Studio Aug 27th with co-star Doogie Duck. Image credit abmj

Hear Here 3: Elementally Yours Broadcast One

This is the first of three special shows celebrating the International Year of the Periodic Table. The playlist blends a quirky fusion of music and science together by referring to several elements through artists and songs, rather like a game of Elemental Scrabble, whilst acknowledging historical events and birthdays too. I’ve extracted the raw science data from my lab book notes, which detailed a total of 24 songs played over a two hour period.

Angie’s Allsorts Show 229 Hospital Radio Leighton 30th July 2019


  1. BLONDIE (July Birthday Jukebox Artist: Debbie Harry turned 74yrs on the 1st) with ATOMIC

(HISTORICAL BIRTH-Emily Bronte who wrote Wuthering Heights born in 1818) remaining on the literary theme:

SIGNIFICANT FIGURE who passed away on this day is writer Maeve Binchy in 2012.  She wrote several books including Silver Wedding (Ag-SILVER 47) and Copper Beech (Cu-COPPER 29). Looking into other book titles containing elements, (Charles Dickens-David Copperfield, The Silver Chair from Chronicles of Narnia series) I discovered a writer called CAMILLE MINICINO who has a physics PhD and a long teaching and research career. Using her own name she has penned a Periodic Table Mysteries series referring to the first ten elements. Murder titles include Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boric Acid representing Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Fluorine. The final one is called Neon Ornaments. Camille has three other crime series written under the pseudonyms of Margaret Grace, Ada Madison and Jean Flowers.

  1. FREDDIE MERCURY (Hg-MERCURY 80) with THE GREAT PRETENDER. Several elements go by a different letter symbol than you would expect. Mercury is one with Hg; others include Potassium-K, Sodium-Na, Tungsten-W, Silver-Ag, Gold-Au, Lead-Pb, Tin-Sn and Antimony-Sb.

Scientific Birthday: French virologist FRANCOISE BARRE-SINOUSSI is 72 today and in 2008 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her work in the identification of HIV.

  1. THE PENGUINS with EARTH ANGEL (HISTORICAL EVENT: The first Penguin Books were published on this day in 1936) Western Alchemy Hermetic Element-Earth.

Linking Lyrics Slot: Theme-MOON (First moon landing 50th anniversary July 20st 1969)



HISTORICAL EVENT: on this day in 1971 Apollo 15 landed on the moon and the first Lunar Rover Vehicle was put into action. HISTORICAL BIRTH: I wonder what THOMAS FORD would have thought about that. The founder of the Ford Motor Company was born on July 30th 1863 and manufactured the first cars that the general American public had a chance to afford. His Model T Ford was affectionately known as a TIN LIZZIE.  

  1. RUFUS WAINWRIGHT (July Birthday Jukebox Artist: he was 46 on 22nd) with HALLELUJAH

(Rufus means red and Rb-RUBIDIUM 37 is named after the Latin rubidus meaning red or Ru-RUTHENIUM 44, F-FLUORINE 9, U-URANIUM 92 S-SULPHUR 16 or Rf-RUTHERFORDIUM 104. W-TUNGSTEN 74, At-ASTATINE 85, In-INDIUM 49, I-IODINE 53, Rg-ROENTGENIUM 111, H-HYDROGEN 1)

  1. THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN with SOMETHING IN THE AIR (High 5: No. 5 w/e 30/7/69) no.1 when Apollo 11 launched on July 16th to journey to the moon. Western Alchemy Hermetic Element-Air
  2. SIA (S-SULPHUR 16, I-IODINE 53 or Si-SILICON 14) with HELIUM (He-HELIUM 2) mentions comic heroes Superwoman/Superman.

HISTORICAL EVENT: The first BEANO (Be-BERYLIUM 4, No-NOBELIUM 102) comic was published in 1938


Rarity Record of the Week: 14. MARY DUFF with MR NOBLE (Neon/Krypton-noble gases)

  1. PAUL ANKA (BIRTHDAY: born 1941-78 yrs) with YOU ARE MY DESTINY


  1. CCS (C-CARBON 6, Cs-CAESIUM 55) with WHOLE LOTTA LOVE (HISTORICAL EVENT-you may recognise this as the Top of the Pops theme tune. The programs last broadcast was on this day July 30th 2006)

Elemental Scrabble Artists

5a. EURYTHMICS with THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (Playing With My Heart) (High 5: No. 2 w/e 3/8/85) (Eu-EUROPIUM 63; Y-YTTRIUM 39; Th-THORIUM 90; I-IODINE 53; Cs-CAESIUM 55 or Eu-EUROPIUM 63, Rh-RHODIUM 45, Y-YTTRIUM 39, Ti-TITANIUM 22, Sm-SAMARIUM 62, C-CARBON 6.


14a. SEAL (Se-SELENIUM 34; Al-ALUMINIUM 13) with KISS FROM A ROSE (High 5: No.4 w/e 5/8/95)

IYPT laser show Keele University Nov 19. Image credit abmj


7.30-9.30pm: Part 1-56m 46s Song 1-11; Part 2-57m Song 12-23

When Radio Leighton began officially broadcasting to patients on November 14th 1968 Hugo Montenegro topped the UK music charts with The Good The Bad and the Ugly. In football, England was half way through its tenure as World Champions, Manchester United were the  European Cup holders and Crewe Alex had division three league status, having gained promotion in the summer. The UK was between Eurovision wins, Prince Charles celebrated his twentieth birthday as a university student, neighbour BBC Radio Stoke was only an 8 month old baby and man had yet to walk on the moon.

To celebrate Radio Leighton’s golden birthday   I’d like to take you on a nostalgic journey playing music and looking back at some of the news and sports headlines from over the years. Welcome to my Angies Allsorts News/Sports & Music Archive, and listen out for my Golden Team references throughout the show.

  1. ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA (GT 1: 2001 A Space Odyssey film 1968 release)

Elvis Presley used this tune to herald the start of his concerts after he returned to the singing stage following his 68 Comeback Special. Here’s a song from that TV broadcast

  1. ELVIS PRESLEY with IF I CAN DREAM (GT2: Elvis 68 Comeback Special)

Evocative lyrics sung at a time of racial conflict and inequality in the USA when Elvis’s nation was embroiled in the Vietnam War. Back here the Race Equality Act was invoked and the Dagenham Women walked out demanding equal pay rights. Considering the tensions in our society today and seeing people still fighting for equal pay NOT A LOT SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED.  But something that did change for Elvis in 68 was he became a father for the first and only time, when his daughter was born on February 1st. Thanks to modern technology our Golden Team member Lisa Marie sings alongside her Dad:

Rarity Record of the Week: 3. ELVIS PRESLEY/LISA-MARIE PRESLEY with WHERE NO ONE STANDS ALONE (GT3: Lisa-Marie born Feb 1st 1968)

The loneliest people over Christmas 68 were the crew of Apollo 8 who became the first humans to see the dark side of the moon and to witness how beautiful and fragile planet Earth was. Just 7 months after Apollo 8 paved the way to the moon Neil Armstrong took his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” when Apollo 11 went to/ Eagle landed on the moon in July 69

  1. CLIFF RICHARD with FROM A DISTANCE (GT4: Apollo 8 over Xmas 68 became the first manned space flight to leave low earth orbit and travel to the moon)

Extra audio from Stewart: Countdown & “Houston The Eagle Has Landed” announcement

Another man taking a giant leap that summer was James Bond when he got married to Tracy in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Who can forget George Lazenby in his only Bond film being widowed in a drive-by shooting on the way to his honeymoon?


I mentioned James Bond because Daniel Craig the 6th actor to play the role was born in Chester on March 2nd 1968. So Daniel is another Golden Team member/ GT5. Somehow I don’t think his parents would have dreamed their son would grow up to play such an iconic film role, or be called upon as Bond to escort the Queen to the 2012 Olympics.

I’m reminded when I think of the 2012 London Olympics of the many events that have brought a tear to the eyes, such as military conflicts which have been seen on a wide scale throughout the worlds regions. In the sporting world football has had its share of tragedy since 1968 with fans perishing on the terraces of Ibrox in 71, Hillsborough in 89 and Bradford & Heysel in 85, and of course the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes in 72 deeply affected the Olympics that year. Our vulnerability has been particularly exposed when Mother Nature has vented her wrath through volcanoes, earthquakes, famine, flash floods and wild fires. Human error was behind disasters such as the Piper Alpha fire in 88, the Exonn Valdez in 89 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. But it has been human malice that has caused the most devastation with bombings during the troubles, Lockerbie in 88, the Manchester Ariana Grande concert and Westminster Bridge both in 2017, the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the London bombings in July 2005 the day after the city was awarded the Olympics. A small moving tribute to that dark time was included in the opening ceremony in 2012 and I think the hymn is a fitting memorial in acknowledgement to all those lost:


Of course it’s sad to think of those no longer with us but I think it helps to remember the joy and love those people brought into our lives. Celebrity alumni of the November 14th birthday club certainly live on through their achievements and include artist Claude Monet born 1840, US composer Aaron Copeland 1900, first Prime Minister of India Nehru 1889, discoverer of insulin Frederick Banting in 1891, and former first lady Mamie Eisenhower 1896.

There are tears of joy as well as sadness and during 2012 I didn’t half well up at times. Never in decades of watching gymnastics or the Tour de France did I think I’d witness Great Britain achieve the ultimate success in these activities. Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the Tour in 2012, since then Chris Froome is a four time winner and Geraint Thomas won the 2018 Tour de France. British Gymnastics Olympic success that began in 2012 has rolled on unabated to my utter delight. Other happy British sporting moments I recall from Leighton’s 50 years include boxing world champions Jim Watt, Alan Minter, Barry McGuigan, Frank Bruno. Olympic success for Torvill & Dean in 84 and a young rower Steve Redgrave won his first Olympic gold in rowing that summer. He went on to win 4 more golds in the following 4 summer games. I think Sir Steve’s 5 Golds from 5 games surpasses Sir Chris Hoy’s 6 Golds from 3 games for cycling. Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Formula One Drivers Championship this year. In 1985 Boris Becker become the first unseeded and youngest player to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon. And Dennis Taylor won the World Snooker Championship 18-17 frames with the last ball in the last frame, defeating Steve Davis. A good song to summarise the effort and emotion behind all these sporting achievements is:


The birth of a baby is a special moment in time and Radio Leighton shares its special day with French cyclist Bernard Hinault 64, former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice 64, the Prince of Wales 70, British actor Russell Tovey 37 and Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise 85 and reporter Katy Kay 54.

Through medical innovation parenthood became a greater possibility in 1978 when the first test-tube baby Louise Brown was born. The lyrics from my next song I feel sums up parent love of a child very well.

  1. ANASTACIA with YOU’LL NEVER BE ALONE (GT6: Anastacia 50 on September 17th)

Another famous birth of 1978 changed the land of soap drama forever when the Ewing’s and Barnes entered our homes in the American soap Dallas:


Yes JR, Bobby, Miss Ellie & Co became household celebrities and The Who Shot JR saga made the national evening news headlines. Until JR and Southfork came along most people would have probably associated the city of Dallas with the assassination of John F Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. He was elected the 35th President of the United States in 1960 and was the youngest to reach that office. He later declared that man would go to the moon by the end of the Sixties. Alas, Kennedy never lived to see his vision fulfilled and the days of “Camelot” with Jack and Jackie ended. Another American couple who captured the world’s imagination were Danny & Sandy from the 1978 film Grease:


40 years after Grease, it wasn’t Danny & Sandy making headlines but Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle when they married at St George’s Chapel Windsor. Here is a song from the wedding ceremony:


Another “Get Together” that got people talking in 2018 was the impromptu appearance of Jason Donovan alongside Kylie Minogue during Proms in the Park. There little dance on the stage had the crowd ecstatic. You know both Jason and Kylie turned 50 this year, as did the musical Joseph:

Linking Lyrics Theme GOLDEN 50 YEAR OLDS (all show)/ Artist of the Week JASON DONOVAN

  1. JASON DONOVAN & KYLIE MINOGUE with ESPECIALLY FOR YOU (GT7 Kylie born May 28th& GT8 Jason Donovan born June 1st 68 both 50) [Note: I said Especially For You the third best selling single of 1988, it was actually fourth. I forgot Kylie’s I Should Be So Lucky was third, Yazz & The Plastic Population with The Only Way Is Up was second and Cliff Richard with Mistletoe & Wine was the top seller of 1988]
  2. JASON DONOVAN with ANY DREAM WILL DO (GT9: Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat performed in its embryonic form Easter 68 thus aged 50)

Extra audio from Stewart-HRL birthday greeting from Alan Harding & the wedding song for Scott & Charlene Robinson in Neighbours. Almost 19.6 million UK viewers tuned in to see this TV soap spectacle in 1988.


The Marine Broadcasting Offences Bill 1967 changed radio history. The act was brought into being in the hope of killing off the pirate radio broadcasts that competed with the BBC services by playing pop music for a younger generation. The BBC decided to bring in Radio 1 to play pop music, whilst Radio 2 would update the Light Programme, Radio 3 would be similar to the Third Programme and Radio 4 the Home Service. Eight regional BBC centres would also be established including a Radio Stoke-on-Trent which began transmissions in March 1968 (GT10). The 1970 elected Conservative government of Heath allowed the concept of commercial radio to begin, and so the transformation of our national radio service was complete.


Back in 67/68 when radio was being revolutionised an unknown horse that would become a household name began his racing career. As a two year-old Red Rum took to the flat circuit at Aintree in 1967, the day before Foinavon became the luckiest Grand National winner at 100-1 after a melee at the 23rd fence. After a year of flat racing Red Rum took to the fences instead and became a champion steeplechaser becoming the most prolific horse to run the Grand National. Rummy won in 1973, 74 & 77 coming second in 75 & 76. Here’s a little known fact, in retirement Red Rum was the first horse ever ridden by comedian Lee Mack who turned 50 on 4th August (GT11). Lee became a stable boy as a teenager because he had the idea of becoming a jockey.  A song that came out a few months before Red Rum’s first National victory was:


One of the most heart warming stories from the Grand National is that of Aldaniti and Bob Champion in 1981. The jockey had been given months to live after being diagnosed with cancer and Aldaniti had been treated for tendon trouble and a fractured hock bone.  By winning the event in 81 having overcome such life threatening hurdles proved that both man and beast had triumphed over the odds. Britain that year won the Eurovision Song Contest with:


1981 saw a young 19 year old by the name of Lady Diana Spencer making her mind up to accept the marriage proposal of Prince Charles. The happy couple married in St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29th 1981. The birth of two sons Prince William in 1982 and Prince harry in 1984 seemed to complete the fairytale story. Sadly their marriage did not survive and they divorced. On August 31st 1997 Diana Princess of Wales was tragically killed in a traffic accident, and the world mourned her loss.


Extra audio from Stewart-Anthea & Shirley singing Happy Birthday

A hit in 1957 the year the Treaty of Rome established the Common Market (EEC, EU) with members Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. The UK came to the party late becoming a member on the 1st January 1973. Unlike Radio Leighton there will be no 50th birthday celebration of EU membership for the UK as the nation is on the brink of withdrawal.


I’ve heard concern over Brexit with regard to the Eurovision Song Contest and football’s European Cup participation. An odd priority in my opinion, but fear not, because we took part in these long before 1973. In 1968 the year Radio Leighton was conceived, Man Utd became European Champions and Cliff Richard with Congratulations came second in Eurovision just one point behind Spain’s entry La La La sung by Massiel. No one probably heard of the Spanish contestant again. At least when Scot Fitzgerald sang Go for the UK in 1988 and suffered the indignity of losing by a point to Switzerland, the young winner Celine Dion became a world-wide sensation.


Extra audio from Stewart-the 1988 UK Eurovision song & Lets Party from Bob

Celine turned 50 on March 30th and sings a song with lyrics we can all relate to in today’s unsettling and turbulent world:

  1. CELINE DION with A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN (GT12: Celine 50 on March 30th)

Extra audio from Stewart-birthday greetings from Leighton Hospital Chief Executive Tracy Bullock

It’s time for me to sign off now and I hope you’ve enjoyed my nostalgic trip down memory lane celebrating some of the highs and lows over Radio Leighton’s 50 years of broadcasting. My Allsorts show tonight began with a 1968 film tune and I end with one here

  1. BARBARA STREISAND with DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE (GT13: Funny Girl 1968 film release)

Good night and Congratulations Hospital Radio Leighton for 50 wonderful years.

  23. CLIFF RICHARD with CONGRATULATIONS (GT14: UK Eurovision entry 50 years   ago!)

Off The Beaten Track 6

BBC Radio 4 has a morning Book of the Week slot on week days, it’s not my usual listen, but due to intriguing descriptions in the Radio Times I’ve recently tuned in.  I’ve been enthralled by the stories concerning two remarkable women, one trying to escape Nazi occupied France, the other honestly chronicling the effects of living with early onset Alzheimer’s. Both have deeply touched me and I will definitely be buying the books, although I admit that the subject matter are areas I would normally shy away from, finding them upsetting to think about. But the indomitable spirit of both these women shone through the readings, and I found myself eagerly awaiting the next episode, in a kind of “wondering way”. Those ten 15 minute slots taught me more about life, survival, history and compassion than anything I’ve seen on TV.  The books are as follows:

NO PLACE TO LAY ONE’S HEAD Francoise Frenkell (Pushkin Press, £16.99)

My interest was caught when the Radio Times commented the book was initially published in Geneva 1945, and then seemingly forgotten until discovered in a French attic in 2010. A second edition was issued in French and now an English translation has been made. A firsthand account of a Jewish woman’s survival and escape from the Nazi’s in France, printed perhaps in the first few weeks of Europe peacetime in 1945, and then untouched until re-discovered in a modern day world.  Wow!

Frenkell came from a Polish Jewish family, was highly educated to degree level (I believe) having studied in Paris, and ended up opening a French bookshop in Berlin on discovering no such facility existed. Her clientele was illustrious, business brisk and successful and the future looked bright in early 1930s Berlin. Then the rule of Hitler and the effect of his policies kicked in. I listened as her beloved bookshop managed to avoid destruction as it wasn’t on an official destroy list. How she had to leave it behind and flee in the night, traversing through Europe from city to city, always somehow avoiding major crackdowns, or invasion, by a matter of days. Her skirmishes with authority and her escape attempts to reach Switzerland, finally successful. Frenkell’s words seem to be beautifully translated into an eloquent yet matter of fact way, and I listened with my “heart in my mouth” most of the time. I punched the air when her escape was successful and breathed a sigh of relief. My overall feeling was one of admiration for Francoise and her determined nature to survive in an intolerable society. But there was anger as well at the same society for its blinkered rule of law. It seemed to conveniently ignore, no doubt because of her Jewish ethnicity,  the fact Frenkell had all the necessary documentation (residency papers, visa) to live peacefully in France and to travel with ease to Switzerland.  My listening ended with Francoise setting foot in Switzerland where she survived the war to write her memoir, about her life before Nazi rule in Europe and her escape from it. The French publishing company Gallimard discovered Frenkell passed away in Nice in 1975 at the ripe age of 86 but could find no relatives.

SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW Wendy Mitchell (Bloomsbury £9.99)

My listening journey with Wendy began with her describing a “fog in her head” and inexplicable falls whilst she was out running. Doctors suggested she could have had a stroke, having discovered a heart condition that was fixed through surgery. The fog continued and eventually a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s was made after a seemingly painfully slow series of visits with health clinicians. Her description of looking at online videos of people living with the condition was searing, the initial thought of “but these are old people nearing the end of their lives” before finding one of a man in his late 50s like herself, who described his experiences in a mirror like fashion to her own.

Wendy worked as a NHS administrator known for her powers of recall and organisation skills. Slowly she had become aware that her grasp on things wasn’t the same. When she told management of her diagnosis the only thing offered was early retirement, there was no procedure to try and enable her to work within her remaining mental capabilities, which were still considerable. Her co-workers brilliantly rallied around to make tasks less stressful and more easy to deal with, enabling Wendy to continue in her job as long as possible. With unexpected early retirement foisted upon her Wendy decided to use her time attending conferences, doing speaking engagements and becoming a leading advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Through this work she hopes to educate people to have a better understanding of the condition. I was certainly educated as I listened to excerpts from Mitchell’s book. Hearing how familiar things can suddenly seem strange and confusing, city living becoming too noisy to deal with, the use of technology to help try and trick her condition, the coping strategies Wendy uses to deal with the sudden onset of panic. It was illuminating to literally “see the world through Wendy’s eyes” and to hear how her condition is slowly taking over her mind. Her articulation is heartfelt, honest and at times perhaps unconsciously funny with a wry humour, like her wonderment at experiencing a gliding session and how quiet the flight was, whilst knowing she wouldn’t remember a thing about the safety video if disaster struck. The realisation “if you don’t use it you will lose it” after taking a three week break from her work and finding the computer keyboard incomprehensible for a few hours. How the person she is today is someone she doesn’t really recognise anymore, yet for the joys she has lost (like TV shows, long novels, cooking) an appreciation for new joys (short stories, poetry, old familiar films). I shared Mitchell’s sadness and resigned acceptance when her extra income from government support was removed, having been deemed fit enough to function on a daily basis.  Much of the “medical tests” used depended on the person remembering how they were before, a ludicrous concept when you consider the nature of an Alzheimer’s condition. Wendy’s resilience and determination to live life to the full for as long as possible was utterly compelling. Once again I had found a woman living in a difficult situation, making the best of it and triumphing in a way against the odds. Somehow both Francoise and Wendy made me feel empowered too.

In closing, I will mention a book that has been on my bookshelf since 2001. It’s called HAPPY TIMES by Lee Radziwill (sister of Jackie Kennedy Onassis). I read about it in a Sunday newspaper supplement, and asked my husband to look for it in America when he visited a few weeks later. There is little dialogue in it and is mainly a gorgeous photo book, rather like a family album. I’ve delved into it many a time, but only really read the dialogue this week. I’ve been happily updating my photo album with recent activity pictures, and from Wendy Mitchell’s book there is a strong element of how important photo’s can be for memories. We live in such uncertain times; I’ve chosen to look for the joy in things as much as possible. Photography is a passion and a joy, and my husband suggested I look at Happy Times again and actually read it. A quote in the introduction says it all for me: “I believe that without memories there is no life, and that our memories should be of happy times. That’s my choice”.

Talking Of Football On Hospital Radio

Football and radio in the 21st century remain intrinsically linked through Hospital Radio Broadcasting and share many similarities. For decades, volunteers have provided live action coverage of games broadcast directly to hospitals, for patients to enjoy. You may wonder if such a service has any relevance anymore, and I would say it is as vital today as it has ever been.  You may also like to read my other blog concerning hospital radio here:

Hospital radio as a concept was born in an era when TV was barely an infant, a personal music player, mobile phones and the internet were futuristic science fiction ideas, and radio was king of entertainment. Patient stays in hospital were far longer, visits severely restricted and contact with the outside world minimal. The BBC only had three programs, commercial radio did not exist, and the only real way of following your football team was to attend the match on a Saturday afternoon.

The core ethos of hospital radio was to provide patients with a service not easily found or available elsewhere.  The development of hospital radio was really to provide a much needed personal, message orientated light entertainment program that was easily accessible by patients. In fact, many hospital radio stations began their existence because of an overwhelming desire to provide sports commentary relevant to local teams, as the BBC didn’t provide a sufficiently detailed service.

The organisation I volunteer for, Radio Leighton in Crewe began as a direct consequence of an experimental broadcast of a Crewe Alexandra FC game in 1966. Our archives don’t record the details of that inaugural broadcast, but I know equipment was borrowed from Forward Radio in nearby Stoke who covered both Stoke City and Port Vale games. An internet search of the 66-67 fixture lists suggest Crewe v Bradford City (1-0) on 8th October 1966 could be a candidate, as both Stoke and Port Vale played away that week.  A second Crewe game was apparently covered on January 7th 1967, a FA Cup game against Darlington (2-1).  Both broadcasts proved so popular that the Mayor Councillor Herbert P Vernon convened a meeting to hear all about these activities.  And so it was on May 4th 1967 in the mayor’s chambers the Crewe and District Hospital Broadcast Service was conceived. Fund raising began and in 1968 on April 20th the Crewe v Wrexham game (0-0) was broadcast using our very own equipment. The following November a full broadcasting program to patients began.

Football clubs can vary from Premiership status to lower league county level and consequently differ in size enormously. Likewise hospitals can be huge complexes spread over several sites down to small county establishments. Teams can have anything from a global appeal to a much more localised support. Similarly hospital radio can be (in theory) available to a worldwide audience through internet broadcasting, cover a wider broadcasting area through FM or AM licences, or just be heard by patients within a specific hospital using an internal loop system (Radio Leighton). Clubs can be run on enormous budgets with huge staff numbers, going down to relying on a small cohort of people to run things on shoe string finances. Larger hospitals can rely on a wider geographical area to find volunteers and have a better chance of attracting sponsorship to enable, for example, 24/7 manned hospital radio stations. Radio Leighton being situated in a small town hospital very much runs on a shoe string budget and relies on a relatively small team of volunteers. Our organisation is indebted to both the Mid-Cheshire Hospital Authority and Crewe Alexandra FC. The hospital authorities ensure we have studio space and cover our daily costs, whilst Crewe Alex finance the costs involved in maintaining our phone link between the studio and stadium. In return for this, our football commentary team link also provides visually-impaired fans full action description.

Modern technology offers unlimited entertainment through streaming and instant connectivity and interaction with the world.  There is a lot of assumption in society that EVERYONE has the means to interact with this modern communication phenomenon. But the average age of patients today still finds the biggest majority of them without this capability, or the funds to sustain a service (such as Hospedia TV) during a longer than expected stay in hospital. In this instance, those excluded from the mobile technology world rely on whatever form of entertainment is provided within a hospital complex. That is why a free to access hospital radio service still remains important and an invaluable social service in the 21st century.