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The Listeners' Archive: What we have so far

Will Jackson

Project manager

Listeners' Archive: the team at work in a windowless room

A week on from the successful Listeners’ Archive open days, and the boxes of cassettes and reels of tape (and one minidisc!) are starting to arrive at our digitisation centre at the BBC’s historic Maida Vale studios. We’re enormously grateful to listeners and colleagues across the BBC for their help with the project to date.

Now, in a windowless room packed with equipment including some vintage reel-to-reel machines, our team are setting to work reviewing audio and starting the process of transferring it to digital.

We already know we’ve ticked a few things off our “wants” list. We’ve found everything from “Have A Go” from the Light Programme in the late 50s, to “Out On Blue Six”, Mark Radcliffe’s first shows on national radio. As I type, one workstation is playing out Steve Wright on the Radio 1 roadshow in Bournemouth from 1993; another is running Alan Freeman and Kenny Everett recordings.

We also have an astonishing discovery of one man’s extensive collection of recordings of BBC radio in the late 50s and early 60s, now held by the British Library. It includes editions of “Skiffle Club” from 1958 and “Sing Something Simple” from 1960. We’ll feature this in our programme to be broadcast on the 90th anniversary of BBC radio on November 14th. Trevor Dann is on the case, speaking to the collector’s relatives and neighbours.

And we’re following up leads on significant collections of Goons shows, Peel sessions, “Music While You Work”, Charlie Chester, and an entire archive of Benny Green jazz shows. But we’re still happy to hear from you if you’ve just dusted off a recording we might be interested in.

Email us at or we’re on Twitter @BBCListeners.

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