In the 1970s and early 80s I worked in the Talks & Features Department of the BBC World Service.
Listeners to the BBC World Service will need no introduction to 'Outlook'. But when I was producing this programme three decades ago, it was somewhat different.
For a start, there were three editions every day - two lasting 45 minutes, and the third lasting half an hour. The programme would traditionally start with one or two items relating to current affairs items in the news; there would be a newspaper review; and then perhaps three or four "featurettes" lasting between five and ten minutes each.
The programmes were normally presented by John Tidmarsh or Colin Hamilton.
Flying Pipers - 8th November 1978
British Caledonian Airways used to be the UK's second largest airline - until it's arch rival bought it up in 1987. Whenever they opened a new route, the BCal Bagpipe Band would be flown to the new destination to perform for the local dignitaries. Starting with Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, they also performed in Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Japan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Holland, Germany, France, Italy and many States in North America, from New York to Houston. The Band's final overseas trip on behalf of B.CAL was in Hong Kong and then on to Taiwan.
Calendar Girls - 24th November 1978 The Pirelli Calendar was an annual publication datign back to 1964 as a trade calendar published by the Pirelli company's UK subsidiary. It was famous for its limited availability because it was not sold and was only given as a corporate gift to a restricted number of important Pirelli customers and celebrity VIPs.
Publication was discontinued after the 1974 issue.
Quartermaster Stores - 5th August 1981
In the Nineteen Seventies, a few ex-army colleagues started a surplus store with a mountain of genuine government sell-off gear in a warehouse in Islington, north London. They called it the Quartermaster's Stores...
Highgate Cemetry - 18th August 1981
Highgate Cemetery is a cemetery designated Grade II* on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. Although its most famous occupant is probably Karl Marx there are many other prominent figures,including Douglas Adams - author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
Jacob Bronowski - creator of the television series The Ascent of Man,
John and Elizabeth Dickens - parents of Charles Dickens and models for Micawber and Mrs Nickleby, Michael Faraday - physicist, Sir Ralph Richardson - actor, Christina Rossetti - poet and Max Wall -, comedian.
London Transport Call Centre - 24th August 1981
London Transport has operated a Travel Information Call Centre for over fifty years. It provides 24 hour, seven day per week service with advice on routing, timetables, fares and ticketing for all public transport modes in the Greater London area. The TICC handles over 12 000 queries per day....
Juke Box Museum - 8th October 1981
The Wurlitzer was the iconic jukebox of the Big Band era, often used as a generic name for any jukebox. The designs of engineer Paul Fuller who created many landmark cabinet styles in the "lightup" design idiom are so emblematic of jukeboxes in general that 1940s era Wurlitzers are often used to invoke the Rock n' Roll period in films and television.
German School, West London - 14th October 1981
Built in 1680 for Lord Carlton, Douglas House in Richmond, south west of London, was where John Gay wrote his Beggar's Opera. In 1969 Douglas House was bought by the Federal Republic Of Germany for use as a German School, but the original house and stables are intact and will be preserved.
The Kingdom - 28th October 1981
When I interviewd Robert Lacey in 1981 about his book The Kingdom, little did I imagine that 18 years later I would myself be working in Saudi Arabia. His was one of the best backgrounders I have ever read about Saudi Arabia...
Scrabble - 4th November 1981
In 1938, architect Alfred Mosher Butts created a game as a variation on an earlier word game he invented called Lexiko. Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a game board marked with a 15-by-15 grid. The game is now sold in 121 countries in 29 different language versions.
Pop-Up Books - 4th November 1981
Jan Pieńkowski was born in Warsaw in 1936. He co-founded the greetings card company, Gallery Five and worked in advertising. In his spare time, he started to illustrate books for children. The books took over and his name is now synonymous with po-up books..
St James Park Duck pond - 11th November 1981
Walk the elegant paths of St James's Park today and it is hard to imagine that 470 years ago, it was a swampy wasteland which the River Tyburn often flooded on its way to the Thames. At the west end, near what is now Buckingham Palace, there was a large pool known as Rosamond's Pond.
The park became more formal when Charles II became king in 1660 and ordered the redesign of St James's Park. The centrepiece was a straight canal, lined on each side with avenues of trees. By 1770, Rosamond's Pond had disappeared. The canal became a curving lake. An elegant suspension bridge was built across the lake in 1857 and was replaced 100 years later by the concrete one we see today.
Jersey European Airways - January 1982
Low cost carrier Flybe started operations on 1 November 1979 as Jersey European Airways (JEA), the brainchild of John Habin, a resident of Jersey and the majority investor in JEA. Unlike the majority of the world's airlines, John Habin advertised for air stewardesses up to a maximum of five ft tall...
Flying Kippers - 8th July 1982 If you have ever tried cooking kippers for breakfast, the chances are that your house stinks of the fish for hours afterwards. Yet the popularity of this breakfast dish was such that British Airways decided to attempt to cook the odourless kipper for its passengers on Concorde...
Queen's Guard Rutgers - 14th July 1982
The Queens Guard represents one of the most distinguished traditions at Rutgers University, in the USA. Founded in 1957 as an extracurricular activity for cadets of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program, the team is famed for its extremely precise movements and unique use of the 1903-A3 Springfield Rifle, fitted with a 16 inch stainless steel bayonet, and captured many National Drill Championship titles over the course of the 1960s and 1970s.