Alec Reid Radio Broadcasts

Alec Reid combines creative and corporate work across a range of media.

At nineteen, he became a studio manager with BBC radio and at twenty-one was broadcasting as an art critic. Three years later, he was responsible for relaying the pictures of the first moon-walk to broadcasters throughout Europe. After a brief spell with BBC2’s "Late Night Line-Up", he went to Radios 1 & 2, producing "Night Ride". There he discovered and gave first broadcasts to many bands, including Genesis and Lindisfarne. That original Genesis session has been released as part of a set of compilation CDs.

He was editor-producer of Radio 4's "With Great Pleasure" and "Time for Verse", and became a well-known creator of documentaries and features. At one point, this necessitated spending a week with the French Foreign Legion! Subsequently he became an award winning director of radio drama.

Later he ran the radio division of the BBC's Corporate Promotions Unit, and wrote and directed a series of fifteen promotions for Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, extolling the BBC's value for money. He also wrote and directed videos.

Throughout his time with the BBC Alec carried on with freelance work. He was involved with the poetry circuit, then wrote and directed two musicals for radio, "Misrule" starring Max Wall and "Gilgamesh" with Ian Holm. He also ran a record company, producing and engineering everything from brass bands to a poetry and music anthology.

Publications include two anthologies based on "With Great Pleasure", magazine articles, and poems in "The Sunday Times". An article about audiobooks and the internet was recently published in the Society of Authors magazine.

In recent years he has developed a niche adapting television and film soundtracks for audio release. This has involved writing and directing narrations, sometimes in character - for Clegg in "Last of the Summer Wine", for the downtrodden Richard in "Keeping up Appearances" and for Norman Wisdom. For "Inspector Morse" and "Kavanagh QC" the narration was more of a novelisation. He has recently adapted episodes of the ‘Inspector Lynley Mysteries’ and ‘Dalziel and Pascoe’. There was one month when his productions were the top three in W. H. Smith's spoken word charts. His production for the BBC of "Diana: A Tribute" won the 1998 Audie award in New York for Original Work. Subsequently he wrote and produced a double CD tribute for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday, also for the BBC.

Alec has produced hundreds of audiobooks, for Chivers, Audiobooksforfree.com and BBC Audiobooks. He has directed at the Bristol Old Vic, the Arts Theatre in London and the Kings Head in Islington. As a teacher, he coached (and wrote plays for) students at the Birmingham School of Acting and has run workshops at writers’ conferences.

With John Telfer as composer, he wrote book and lyrics for ‘Muscles! The Musical’. The show was premiered at The Landor Theatre in London. Now completely re-written, a larger production is in preparation. In the meantime, Alec and John are busy songwriting. As far as Alec’s family is concerned, however, he has finally arrived in the business, as a guest director of "The Archers". .......N.D., from info. supplied by Alec Reid

1976 Misrule
1979 Social Welfare, by Barry Bermange
1981 The row over La Ronde, by Frank Marcus
1983 The Wild Man of Oroville, by Tim Grana
1983 The Epic of Gilgamish
1984-87 The Father Brown stories (thirteen plays)
1986 Ice, by James Follett
1988 Bitter Chalice, by Christopher Jones
1988 The Little House, by John Hall
1990 The Machine, by Tony Bagley


Christmassy music drama with Max Wall and Billy Boyle. Directed by A.R.

- a play; produced by Alec Reid R3 06-May-1979. Cast List : Sean Barrett, Jill Balcon, Peter Wickham.

A dramatisation trial for obscenity of Arthur Schnitzler's play, written by Frank Marcus, writer of 'The Killing of Sister George'. 'The Row' starred Valentine Dyall, Alan Dobie and Jill Balcon. Alec Reid adds........We set up an approximation of a courtroom in the BH Council Chamber, scattering microphones everywhere and placing an invited audience in the 'public gallery', encouraging them to respond with shock, horror or distaste. It was a bitterly cold winter day; some of the more far-flung cast had to struggle through thick snow to get to London.

The Wild Man Of Oroville....1983
By Tim Grana 20.8.1983 With Geronimo Sehmi, Kerry Shale.

Sumerian epic, realised for radio by Alec Reid. Superb cast includes Max Wall (as the ferryman), Ian Holm, Sean Barratt, Rod Beacham, Sean Probert, Heather Bell, Christopher Scott.

Gilgamish (Gilgamesh - spellings vary) is the oldest story of which we have a written record. A tale 4,000 years old, of the creation of the world - warlike gods, and their creatures, men. Gilgamesh is both god and man, and therein lies his discontent. He goes on a journey to the underworld, looking for the secret of eternal life. The story contains a flood, fire, serpents, monsters; a wonderful moment when Max Wall ferries Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu across to the underworld....and the finding, and losing, of a magical prize.......N.D. .... Recorded in "ambisonics": surround-sound stereo with 'width' and 'height'. The ambisonics master tapes were not kept, but the broadcast still exists in surround-sound.

The Quest of Gilgamesh, a feature programme on the same epic, written & produced by D.G. Bridson, went out on 24.7.56 and is held by VRPCC.

Broadcast in two separate series, followed by a single play a year later. In the "Radio Times" issue covering programmes from 1 to 7 December, 1984, was an article entitled "Holy Innocence" by D.A.N. Jones, who commented :-

"Father Brown is one of the great British detectives. He links Sherlock Holmes with Miss Marple. All three are good at exposing the 'least likely person'...............all three detectives in their time seemed the least likely to catch criminals. Holmes was a solitary intellectual, playing the violin unaccompanied, taking drugs on his own and quick to follow every scientific theory. Chesterton became a Roman Catholic whereas Doyle had become a Scientific Spiritualist, who disapproved of unmarried priests advising young girls in ignorance. So Chesterton invented Father Brown as an alternative to Sherlock Holmes.”

Father Brown knows about sin and crime because he has heard so many confessions. His rich friends tend to ignore the working class, but Father Brown knows their virtues and temptations. He is outside the class system; innocent but not ignorant.

Andrew Sachs, who plays Father Brown, says that he read the stories when he was a schoolboy. He considered himself a somewhat unlikely casting : "I've always thought of him as essentially English and I never think of myself as a very English actor nor, indeed, a very English person".

The adapter was John Scotney, and he has caught Chesterton's style well.

Series 1

No. 1 - 02.12.1984 : "The Blue Cross"
No. 2 - 09.12.1984 : "The Queer Feet"
No. 3 - 16.12.1984 : "The Eye of Apollo"
No. 4 - 06.01.1985 : "The Invisible Man"
No. 5 - 13.01.1985 : "The Honour of Israel Gow"
No. 6 - 20.01.1985 : "The Hammer of God"
No. 7 - 27.01.1985 : "The Sins of Prince Saradine"

Series 2

No. 1 - 05.10.1986 : "The Perishing of The Pendragons"
No. 2 - 12.10.1986 : "The Arrow of Heaven"
No. 3 - 19.10.1986 : "The Mistake of the Machine"
No. 4 - 26.10.1986 : "The Curse of the Golden Cross"
No. 5 - 02.11.1986 : "The Actor & The Alibi"

29.11.87 “The Absence of Mr. Glass"

The "arch-villain and consummate master of disguise", Flambeau, was played by Oliver Pierre; the producer was Alec Reid at BBC Bristol.

Thousands of square miles of ice have broken off from the Southern Continent and are drifting towards New York. Can the collision be averted? By James Follett; produced by Alec Reid.

By Christopher Jones. Recorded May 88, Bristol. Dark deeds in the past wreak havoc in the present. Producer Alec Reid; SMs Dave Tombs, Graham Hoyland, John Devine. Tx 28.10.1989(rpt?), 90min; afternoon play; with Charles Kay/Angela Down.

By John Hall. Recorded May 88, Christchurch Hall, Bristol. Producer Alec Reid. SMs Dave Tombs, Tony Briskham.

Not a play - a reading by Andrew Sachs. 5 part abridgement of the novel by Vahan Totovent about an aged potter. Producer Alec Reid.

THE MACHINE....1990, rpt. 1991
R4, rpt. 22 Jul 91: by Tony Bagley - James Bolam as the bailiff in an interesting play set in 1602. The bailiff is in charge of the masterless men who end up on his doorstep, often on the scrounge. But he is obsessed by a machine he has built which can record the human voice. Produced by Alec Reid. Giles Cooper Award 1990.

compiled by N.D from information supplied by Alec Reid, Roger Bickerton, Barry Pike, Ken Cumberlidge

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