BBC Productions - Music Features

BBC Radio 1Roni Size

"Dub It Up" - 1998 - 2x30mins

Presented by Roni Size / Produced by Sue Clark


Mercury Music Award winner RONI SIZE reveals the techniques of dub music in the second of two programmes which explore the roots of dub and its influence on the drum 'n' bass sound of the 90s.


BBC Radio 2Gene Vincent

"Race With The Devil - The Gene Vincent Story" - February 2009 - 1x60mins

Presented by Roger Daltry / Produced by Neil Rosser

Roger Daltrey assesses the influence of leatherclad rocker, Gene Vincent.  The series touches on the later recordings but focus on the late 50s, early 60s period and his influence on the British pop scene then and now. 


Berry Gordy

"The King Of Motown - Berry Gordy" - January 2009 - 1x60mins

Presented by Marshall Chess / Produced by Neil Rosser

The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy Jnr is one of Black America's most iconic figures, with a stature similar to that of Martin Luther King, Mohammed Ali and precious few others. Marshall Chess explores and celebrates the man behind Motown Records.


Nat King Cole

"Nat King Cole - From Jazz To Rock n Roll" - March 2009 - 4x30mins

Presented by Clarke Peters / Produced by Neil Rosser

Clarke Peters presents a thorough-going exploration of the piano style of Nat King Cole, on the 90th anniversary of his birth in 1919. He also examines Nat Cole's continuing legacy for later generations of rock 'n' roll, blues and soul performers.



Pete Waterman

"I'll Still Love You Tomorrow" - May 2009 - 3x30mins

Presented by Pete Waterman / Produced by Neil Rosser

Pete Waterman indulges his overriding passion for the female songwriter he considers to be the finest in the history of pop music - Carole King.




Donna Summer

"Feelin' Love - The Donna Summer Story" - July 2009 - 1x60mins

Produced by Neil Rosser

The story of disco legend, Donna Summer, currently touring with a new album in her 60th year. 



Neil Tennant

"The Music of Noel Coward" - July 2007 - 3x30mins

Presented by Neil Tennant / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Songs poured out of Noel Coward, over 400 of them. From the 1920’s to the 1960’s they filled his revues and musicals – love songs like Some Day I’ll Find You or the wit of Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Now they’re overshadowed by his plays. Pet Shop Boys’ lead singer, songwriter and composer Neil Tennant talks to fellow performers and enthusiasts about the enormous range of Coward’s work – tender love songs, yearning melodies, sharp lyrics and skilful wordplay. Coward’s own performances make the songs particularly his own, but Neil Tennant presents versions by today’s singers and bands, and talks to those who recognise his influence as one of the greats of British musical theatre.


Dietz & Schwartz

"The Night & The Music" - January & February 2002 - 4x30mins

Presented by Ruthie Henshall / Produced by James Montgomery

In four instalments, star of the West End Ruthie Henshall recalls and celebrates the composer, Arthur Schwartz and the lyricist, Howard Dietz, who together gave us Dancing In The Dark, That’s Entertainment, The Night And The Music and many more.


Lionel Richie

"The Colour of Music" - January & February 2001 - 8x60mins

Presented by Lionel Richie / Produced by Sue Clark

This landmark series of eight hour-long documentaries charts the true contribution of Black people to the world’s music, through the centuries and up to the present day.



David Jacobs

"Divas of Their Day" - February & March 2001 - 6x30mins

Presented by David Jacobs / Produced by Andy Jordan

David Jacobs pays tribute to six star British female vocalists of the 1950s, who between them enjoyed over fifty chart hits. 





Don Black

"The Best Things In Life" - July & August 2001 - 6x30mins

Presented byDon Black/ Produced by James Montgomery

Don Black presents this six part series which celebrates the lives and careers of three of the most prolific and successful songwriters in the history of Tin Pan Alley - Bobby DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.  



John Peel

"The True Story of British Pop" - November & December 2001 - 6x60mins

Presented by John Peel / Produced by Sue Clark

This landmark series traces the highs and lows of popular music in this country throughout the twentieth century, and attempts to assess the contribution made by British artists to the world’s listening pleasure. 

David Jacobs

"Life Before Lloyd Webber" - January & February 2000 - 6x30mins

Presented by David Jacobs / Produced by James Montgomery

David Jacobs celebrates British musicals of the 1950's, 60's & 70's over six themed episodes.







Harold Arlen

"World On A String" - June 2000 - 4x30mins

Presented by Don Black/ Produced by James Montgomery

Don Black presents a four-part rediscovery of the songwriter Harold Arlen, whose many compositions include Over The Rainbow, Stormy Weather, I've Got The World On A String, It's Only A Paper Moon, Let's Fall In Love and That Old Black Magic.  



Susan Jeffreys

"Susan Jeffreys says Make It A Double" - 1999 - 6x30mins

Presented by Susan Jeffreys / Produced by Francesca Plowright

SUSAN JEFFREYS presents the first programme in a new series celebrating songs performed by pairs of artistes - from music’s most famous double acts to the least likely couples in recording history.




David Jacobs

"The Rodgers & Hammerstein Story" - 1999 - 6x30mins

Presented by David Jacobs / Produced by Malcolm Prince

A new six-part series celebrating the most successful song-writing partnership in the history of musical theatre, Mary Rodgers - daughter of composer Richard Rodgers - tells David Jacobs the story of the two men who created Carousel, The Sound of Music, The King and I, South Pacific and many more hit shows. 

Stuart Colman

"London American" - 4x60mins

Presented by Stuart Colman / Produced by Andy Jordan

A four part series, presented by STUART COLMAN, which celebrates the unique contribution made to the development of popular music in Britain by the legendary London American record label. Each programme features exclusive interviews, archive material, and a wealth of recordings that helped define the constantly changing sound of popular music in the 1950s and 1960s.




Dorothy Fields with Jermone Kern

"Dorothy Fields - First Woman of Broadway" - 1998 - 6x30mins

Presented by Don Black / Produced by James Montgomery & Neil Gardner

Don Black narrates a six-part biographical tribute to the fellow lyricist he calls his 'all time, ultimate heroine' - the first woman ever elected to The Songwriter's Hall of Fame - Dorothy Fields.

Rodgers & Hart

"Rodgers & Hart - A Thousand Songs" - 1998 - 6x30mins

Presented by Russell Davies / Produced by David Benedictus

Russell Davies presents six programmes celebrating the prolific collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, the Broadway songwriters who wrote twenty-seven musicals together and completed more than a thousand songs.





Cole Porter

"Cole Porter - Night & Day" - 1998 - 7x30mins

Presented by Russell Davies / Produced by David Benedictus

Russell Davies presents seven programmes celebrating another of the major songwriting talents of this century...Cole Porter.





Susan Jeffreys

"Ironic Maidens" - Series 3 - 1998 - 6x30mins

Presented by Susan Jeffreys / Produced by Francesca Plowright

Sony award-winning Susan Jeffreys returns with another six programmes featuring wry, ironic, witty and occasionally outrageous songs by women singers and singer-songwriters.


Qunicy Jones

"Quincy Jones - The Dude & His Music" - 1997 - 3x30mins

Presented by Moira Stuart / Produced by Matt Brown

Moira Stuart celebrates the life, times and hits of America’s giant of music, Quincy Jones.






Danny Kaye

"Knock On Wood - The Danny Kaye Story" - 1997 - 1x60mins

Presented by Max Bygraves / Produced by James Montgomery

In the tenth anniversary year of Danny Kaye’s death, Max Bygraves recalls the life, times and hits of the great American entertainer, with the memories of people who knew and worked with him on both sides of the Atlantic.




"Early Morning Breakfast Show" - Series 2 - 1997 - 16x120mins

Presented by Liz Hobbs / Produced by Priscilla Williams

World, European and British Water Ski-racing Champion during the 1980s, Liz Hobbs MBE returns to the early-morning with a mix of favourite music and relaxed chat.


Charlotte Rampling

"French Connections" - 1996 - 6x30mins

Presented by Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling celebrates the French tradition of chanson, and the contribution of France's singers and singer-songwriters to the world's popular music.



"Early Morning Breakfast Show" - Series 1 - 1996 - 8x120mins

Presented by Liz Hobbs / Produced by Matt Brown

Following her successes as World, European and British Water Ski-racing Champion during the 1980s, Liz Hobbs MBE has been carving out a fresh career as a TV and radio personality.  She has even appeared on stage in pantomime, with her husband, the actor, Frazer Hines.  But she won’t be donning tights and sequins to bring listeners the perfect early-morning mix of favourite music and relaxed chat.


Susan Jeffreys

"Ironic Maidens" - Series 2 - 1995

Presented by Susan Jeffreys

Six further programmes featuring wry, ironic, witty and occasionally outrageous songs by women singers and singer-songwriters.


"Ironic Maidens" - Series 1 - 1994

Presented by Susan Jeffreys


Six programmes featuring wry, ironic, witty and occasionally outrageous songs by women singers and singer-songwriters.



BBC Radio 3

Lowri Blake

"The Hidden Composers" - November 2009 - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hidden behind their domestic lives, two French women composers challenged the masculine world of French music and are now being discovered. Louise Hiritte-Viardot (1841-1918) and Mel Bonis (1858-1937) were highly creative composers, but their work was largely hidden behind the prejudice against women composers that existed in France at that time, and the demanding nature of their domestic and private lives. They are virtually unknown today, but Lowri Blake talks to members of their families, and to musicians who are enthusiasts for their work, and makes a case for their music. With over six hundred works between them, Hiritte-Viardot and Mel Bonis were prolific, though only a handful of pieces were performed in their lifetime, and the cd catalogue is only just beginning to represent them.



Debussy at the piano

"Debussy's Summer of 1912" - June 2008 - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

It was a very hot summer and Debussy had no time to take his wife and 7 year old daughter Chouchou on their annual trip to the seaside, much to her displeasure. He had a new Diaghilev commission to compose, his last completed orchestral work, the ballet Jeux,  he was trying to finish the second book of the Preludes for piano, was working on numerous other projects, and tussling with the dancer Maud Allen who wanted changes to the ballet Khamma. He also had a visit from Stravinsky and together they played through, as a piano duet, the score of The Rite of Spring. It made a ‘terrifying impression’ on him. Lowri Blake talks to pianists Roy Howat, Peter Hill and Alasdair Beatson and musicologist Robert Orledge, and introduces music from that summer.



Carla Bley

"Jazz File - Carla Bley" - September 2006 - 3x30mins

Presented by John Fordham / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Carla Bley ranks with the finest and most influential jazz personalities from the second half of the 20th Century onwards. John Fordham celebrates this verstile, some would say eccentric talent, who has won an array of international awards and accolades.


Miles Kington

"Jazz File - Swing City" - December 2006 - 3x30mins

Presented by Miles Kington / Produced by Neil Rosser

Kansas City became the focus for the greatest jazz players of the day during the 1920's and 30's, and Miles Kington explores the streets where speak-easies, clubs and honky-tonks thrived, and where alcohol flowed and the Prohibition was largely ignored.


Woody Allen playing jazz clarinet

"Woody Allen's New Orlean's Jazz Clarinet" - January & February 2002 - 8x30mins

Presented by Woody Allen / Produced by Alan Hall & Alyn Shipton

Director and clarinetist Woody Allen, over 8 episodes, makes a personal assessment of Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Jimmy Moon, George Lewis and other great New Orleans-based exponents of the jazz clarinet. 


New York Philharmonic Orchestra

"The Orchestras of North America" - 1999 - 10x75mins

Presented by Natalie Wheen / Produced by Alan Hall

This ground-breaking ten-part series tells the story of five major US orchestras - the Boston Symphony, the Clevenland Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the Chicago Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.


"The Israel Philharmonic - Orchestra & People" - 1998 - 2x120mins

Presented by Sheena McDonald / Written by Neville Teller / Produced by Martin Cotton

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra came into being as the state of Israel was founded in 1948. To mark their shared 50th anniversary, Sheena McDonald tells the story of the IPO’s growth in tandem with the state’s, celebrating a half-century of music making, triumphs and controversy. Among the leading figures from the classical music scene specially interviewed for the programme are Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman and Noam Sheriff, as well as many members of the orchestra, past and present.




"Blind Tasting" - 1998 - 8x30mins

Presented by Fiona Talkington / Produced by Martin Cotton

In BLIND TASTING, two guests from the worlds of music and the arts discuss with the presenter three different recordings of the same short piece of classical music.  The guests are not told in advance which artists/orchestras feature on which recording - hence the series’ title.  Together with the presenter, the guests nominate the best of the recordings, at which point the performers of all three are revealed for the first time to the guests and to the listeners.  The nominated piece is then played in full.  The entertainment value of BLIND TASTING lies in the guessing-game element, and the chance to hear interpretations by famous names judged “blind” alongside less revered (and even obscure) artists and orchestras.  It’s also an opportunity for listeners to test their critical assessments against those of the guests and presenter. At the same time, the series provides authoritative and sometimes surprising recommendations for listeners who are building up their record collections.


"I Was There" - Series 2 - 1997 - 5x30mins

Presented by Richard Fawkes / Produced by Louise Armitage

After the success of the original series of I WAS THERE, presenter Richard Fawkes returns with the first of five more interviews which bring vividly alive great musical events and celebrities of the past.



Joan Bakewell

"Sound Choice" - 1997 - 8x60mins

Presented by Joan Bakewell / Produced by Martin Cotton & Rosalind Furlong

Joan Bakewell presents a new series aimed at music lovers and record buyers. Over the course of eight programmes, music celebrities such as Thomas Allen, Andrew Davis and Richard Hickox talk about the earliest records that were significant for them, while the likes of Leonard Slatkin, Emma Johnson, Nicholas Daniel and Robert Tear compare notes on recordings they have heard without knowing who the performers are.




Janos Starker

"Janos Starker" - 1997 - 3x90mins

Presented by Moray Welsh / Produced by David Papp

In 1931 Janos Starker entered the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest as a prodigiously gifted six year-old and by the time he was nine, he already had several students. The die was cast. For most of his extraordinary seven decade career, Starker has not only been one of the century’s greatest cellists, but also one of its foremost teachers. In these three programmes, LSO Principal Cellist Moray Welsh talks to Starker and his contemporaries about those formative years at the Academy. Starker also plays music which reflects that time.


"Off The Record" - 1996 - 5x60mins

Presented by Robert Cowan / Produced by Martin Cotton

Robert Cowan presents the a new magazine series about the classical music recording business - the current issues surrounding it, its stars, backroom people, politics, finances, techniques and output.


Howard Goodall

"Key Questions" - Series 2 - 1995

Presented by Howard Goodall / Produced by Jim Hiley

Composer Howard Goodall and a panel of guests return for a second series where they answer questions about music, recorded live at six different lilve music concerts across the UK.


"I Was There" - 1995 - 5x30mins

Presented by Richard Fawkes / Produced by Louise Armitage

A series of five programmes that brings vividly alive great musical events and celebrities of the past, who are recalled by first-hand witnesses and with recordings of their music. 



"Private Passions" - 1995 - 9x30mins

Presented by Michael Berkeley / Produced by David Papp

Michael Berkeley meets 9 guests and discovers their musical passions, including Sir Colin Davis, James MacMillan, Albert Roux, John Peel and David Hare. 


Howard Goodall

"Key Questions" - Series 1 - 1994

Presented by Howard Goodall / Produced by Jim Hiley

Composer Howard Goodall and a panel of guests answer questions about music, recorded live at six different lilve music concerts across the UK.


Musical Theatre

"The Highest Form of Art" - 1993 - 6x45mins

Presented by Jim Hiley / Produced by Alan Nixon

A series of six 45-minute programmes, in which Jim Hiley presents musical theatre songs, ranging from the most familiar "standards" to the most obscure gems, linked by a perceptive and provocative commentary. 



BBC Radio 4

Eric Coates

"The King of Light Music" - February 2008 - 1x30mins

Presented by Alasdair Malloy / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Eric Coates is best known for his signature tune to Desert Island Discs and The Dambusters March, but his orchestral music is coming back to the concert hall. Alasdair Malloy talks to those who knew him, revealing a man who had to wear shirt, tie and tweed jacket and light up a cigarette before he could sit down and compose, as well as a man keen on photography, fast cars and the Charleston. And he explores the music, from those famous signature tunes to the lesser known songs and suites.


Lowri Blake

"Page To Performance" - July - 3x30mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

A 20th century musical blockbuster, a miniature masterpiece, and a concerto full of Latin-American passion are the three pieces of music that make up the new series of Page to Performance. Lowri Blake opens the series with that gift to advertisers, as well as performers and audiences, Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’. Following that are Delius’s ‘On Hearing The First Cuckoo in Spring’, and Astor Piazzolla’s Concerto for Bandoneon and orchestra.


1812 Overture

"Why Is the 1812 So Popular?" - May 2006 - 1x30mins

Presented by Alasdair Malloy / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Tchaikovsky called it 'very noisy and loud' and considered it to have 'no artistic merit', but with its cannons, muskets and orchestral battlefield, the 1812 Overture has become by far his most popular piece. Alasdair Malloy finds out from the players and the conductor Barry Wordsworth whether its performers emerge ready for battle each time they face it, and how those bangs and effects are co-ordinated at the piece's climax without hazard to players or audience.



Barbara Dickson

"Finding Her Voice" - October 2006 - 1x30mins

Presented by Barbara Dickson / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Barbara Dickson tells the story of female empowerment through music. Women used to sing about 'losing their man' they kick him out and move on!







Lowri Blake

"From Composer to Concert Hall" - December 2006 - 2x30mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Classical musician Lowri Blake investigates a piece of well-loved classical music from the composer's earliest sketch through to the most passionate performance in the concert hall.


Cy Grant in studio

"The Wild Blue" - 2005 - 1x60mins

Presented by Cy Grant / Produced by Paul Kent

Emory Cook was a pioneer of early recording techniques, including developing one of the very first portable stereo recorders. But it was his love for esoteric sounds and the music of the Caribbean that this programme delights in. From the sound of trains and trumpets to the strains of Calypso and more.

Gloria Gaynor

"I Will Survive" - 2005 - 1x30mins

Produced by Richard Bannerman

This iconic song has been the saviour of many a person facing tough times. This moving and amusing montage piece takes a look at those people who have had their own 'Survive' moments, and hears their stories alongside the song's own story, as told by Gloria Gaynor herself.



"Pomp & Circumstance" - 2005 - 1x30mins

Presented by Paul Vaughan / Produced by Richard Bannerman

The truth behind the lyrics of Elgar's masterpiece. Just who wrote them, and what do they really mean? Is their original meaning still relevant today? Featuring Paul Daniel, the conductor of the 2005 Last Night of the Proms.



Alan Lomax

"Lomax At Christmas" - December 2005 - 1x60mins

Presented by Martin Carthy / Produced by Paul Kent

The folk-song collector Alan Lomax loved the traditional songs and carols of Christmas, and sought out music from around the world that summed up the spirit of the season. British folk musician Martin Carthy introduces a vintage radio programme which lomax made in 1957 for the BBC, as well as other music he collected on the theme of Christmas. Lomax brought together artists like Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Seamus Ennis in a celebration of Christmas from different parts of the UK, and further afield. Irish jigs, Christmas calypsos and italian carols are performed alongside the traditional music of Great Britain. The programme includes an interview with Lomax's daughter, Anna Lomax Wood, who talks about her father's work.