Dear Diary – Page 14 (Mid 1950’s – Radio)

Having no television back then, the radio was on quite a lot however, the BBC* had a total monopoly on broadcasting from within the U.K. at that time.

Radio Luxembourg** decided to capitalize on the shortcomings of the BBC’s radio programming (no current popular music) and from 6:00pm they switched to English language broadcasting and played the popular songs of the day together with other variety shows which the BBC were overlooking.

Some evenings, I would lay on the top bunk and listen to “Dan Dare – Pilot Of The Future***” on Radio Luxembourg in the early evening. The program was sponsored by Horlicks who had a promotion going that involved sending them money together with a label from a Horlicks jar. In return you would get a bright red plastic rocket shaped drinking cup.

 1950s dan dare mug

Photo courtesy

The nose cone was removable to allow filling, and it stood on legs just like Dan Dare’s rocket! I remember being so thrilled to get my bright red Dan Dare rocket mug.

After Valerie and I had gone to bed, Mum and Dad used to listen to all kinds of programs which, of course, could be heard by us in our bedroom. There would be much classical music, but also some lighter pieces. They also listened to “The Goon Show” which we quietly (?) enjoyed as much as they did. It was a major departure from the usual humor presented on the radio and in theatre at that time and we loved it! One can imagine Mum and Dad having a chuckle at some “Goonery”, and then hearing us giggling away in our bedroom!

One time we were listening to “Journey into Space” from our respective bunks and I am not sure how it happened, but I fell out of my top bunk head first! I was either trying to talk to Valerie and  was leaning right over the end of my bunk, or perhaps just trying to hear better because at the foot of our beds was the door into the living room. I think the former was most likely! However, having no recollection of any medical attention, I think it can be assumed that no serious harm was done!

*British Broadcasting Corporation.

**Radio Luxembourg, being outside of the U.K.’s 3-mile limit, simply “beamed” their signal over to the U.K.  This idea was later adopted by other radio stations who would transmit from ships just outside the  3-mile limit.  These became known as “pirate radio stations”. The first, and probably the most popular, was Radio Caroline which had a ship off the East Coast  in the South of England and another off the West Coast in the North of England.

***Dan Dare was a character in the boys comic The Eagle.


7 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 14 (Mid 1950’s – Radio)

  1. Okay now, Colin — that is one cool red cup! I know for sure I, too, would have wanted one if I’d only known about them. 🙂 Very interesting post today. I learned much about the BBC, and your writing “took me back,” as they say, to a very descriptive time and place. Enjoyed immensely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Happy Days!
    I remember Radio Caroline, and the first time they broadcast Radio 1 with Tony Blackburn and ‘Arnold’. I also remember Radio Luxembourg which was forever fading in and out, and I used to put my tranny under the pillow and listen to it as I fell asleep. Flat batteries most mornings!
    When Elvis died in August 77, I was listening to Radio Luxembourg and they cancelled all adverts, playing nothing but The King. I’m afraid the popular music of today is rarely music to my ears. Sign of my age I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

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