David Spenser Radio Memories :
David Davies & Uncle Mac

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DAVID DAVIES was more of a schoolmaster. I remember him as a more withdrawn producer, who always gave ‘moves’ and notes before the first run-through at the microphone. Looking back, it is strange that he gave ‘moves’ as there was no stereo, and I just stood on my wooden box and could never have moved anywhere, except when a scene was finished, when I would be helped down quietly by the person in charge of studio effects.

David Davies was a grey figure; grey speckled suits; grey hair, eyes and skin, and something grey in his voice. I believe the work that gave him the most pleasure was reading stories. He read extremely well, not reading down to children, but drawing them into the story with a quiet authority that made one listen.

And then there was UNCLE MAC. No one played around in any of his productions. It took me quite a time to get over my nerves with him. When I eventually did, I realised that Derek McCulloch, (Larry the Lamb of “Toytown”) was a special man in many senses. He had one eye, the other being, I believe, glass; he had been severely injured during the First World War, and was almost in constant pain, but when he was pleased with one’s performance he could give one the kind of smile that could last one for weeks.

At first, I would think he was looking at me in anger and displeasure until Mary O’Farrell told me that it had been his glass eye. One of the most memorable serials I did for Uncle Mac, which was broadcast live several times, was to play the sickly, hysterical boy, Colin, in “The Secret Garden”.

The moments before a live transmission were always the same. The microphone would be tested always by a brisk recitation of “Mary had a little lamb…”, then there would be the test always of a recording of “The Teddy bears’ Picnic”. This was memorable for me as it was the first ever record bought for me as a small child in Ceylon and used to terrify the life out of me; those words “Don’t go down in the woods tonight” were enough to give me nightmares. Last of all, the second hand ticking like doom until “Hallo Children - everywhere.”


The Beginning
Actors & Actresses
Mary O'Farrell and James McKechnie
Gladys Young & Marjorie Westbury
Peter Coke, Rolf Lefebvre and others
Radio Producers: early days - Josephine Plummer and May Jenkins
David Davies and Uncle Mac
Howard Rose and Val Gielgud
Donald MacWhinnie and Raymond Raikes
Louis MacNeice and H.B.Fortuin
Douglas Cleverdon and E.J.King-Bull

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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