Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

Sound Effects and TV History

This link from Mark Ayres tells of plans to issue a CD box set celebrating the 50th anniversary of the BBC’s now-defunct Radiophonic Workshop, pioneering in-house department responsible for themes and sound effects across a range of programmes.

Ah, that original version of the Doctor Who theme – described by my godson as “ghosts screaming on a rollercoaster”.

Disbanded ten years ago, the Workshop’s reputation is such that many people assume it’s still in business. The Radiophonic Workshop is a reminder of the days when the BBC had an actual creative culture and wasn’t just a services-buying bureaucracy. When Doctor Who finally returned to such resounding acclaim, what was one of the first things the BBC did?

They closed the Model Unit.


One response to “Sound Effects and TV History”

  1. Thanks for that, Stephen. Like many comedy writers, I started on BBC Radio 4’s “WeekEnding” and learned that the FX were as important as the words. My
    favourite story was when, decades earlier, Spike Milligan was doing the Goons, and he poured custard into his sock to get the effect of someone being hit with a sockful of custard… but it sounded nothing like it! The BBC FX dept immediately created something that did. And I must still have my treasured swanee whistle here somewhere…