I hope you’ve enjoyed this pocket overview of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. I don’t pretend that this is anywhere near comprehensive, but if this taster has instilled in you a desire to seek out more of the “unsung heroes of British electronica”, then I consider my job successful.
The really interested reader will want to find Louis Niebur’s Special Sound, on which I’ve relied heavily for many details about the history of the Workshop and the lives of its major players. Want to know what equipment was actually in the workshop when it opened on April 1, 1958? Curious about people I’ve only been able to mention in passing, like Paddy Kingsland, Malcolm Clarke, and Elizabeth Parker? It’s all there.
I strongly encourage everyone who’s interested in this subject to seek out the following documentaries:
- Alchemists of Sound: a highly watchable history of the Workshop, full of interviews and archival footage.
- Sculptress of Sound: a very well-made radio biography of Delia Derbyshire with some priceless reminiscences and archival sounds.
- “Inside Out: Delia Derbyshire”: a ten-minute mini-documentary made for TV, good for shorter attention spans, if a bit loosely-written.
- What the Future Sounded Like: a thirty-minute TV documentary about Tristram Cary, Peter Zinovieff, David Cockerell, and EMS.
I’d like to thank Jonny Trunk for taking the time to respond to my Q&A, and if you haven’t already, I urge you to head over to the Trunk Records site right away. Jonny and his operation brought us The John Baker Tapes and It’s Time For Tristram Cary, as well as the thing that started it all for me, The Tomorrow People: Original Television Music.
Other albums I couldn’t have done this without: Doctor Who At the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, vols. 1 and 2; Daphne Oram, Oramics; Delia Derbyshire, Electrosonic; White Noise, An Electric Storm; and BBC Radiophonic Workshop: A Retrospective.
Thanks to the many radiophonics and Doctor Who fans on YouTube and Vimeo whose uploads I borrowed for the posts this week.
Many, many thanks to Hendrik for giving me the chance to share all of this with you. I sort of dropped this proposal on him out of the blue, and I’m very grateful that he took a chance on it.
Enormous thanks and love to my parents, whose decision to get cable back in nineteen-eighty-splunge and patience with my insufferable Anglophilia inadvertently planted the seeds for all this.
And vast, immeasurable buckets of gratitude and love for my husband Bruce “rocketsandrayguns” Levenstein, who has been the Virgil to my Dante in the world of electronic music—in music in general, in fact. He has also been a top-notch research assistant, and his encouragement and support have gotten me through all the moments of stark raving terror to where I could actually do this thing. Bruce, I couldn’t have done it without you. ♥
And thank you, OWOB readers, for your indulgence. This is Karin Kross, signing off.