Graham Gauld: Miscellany


In 1969 the then Controller of Radio 4, Anthony Whitby, asked me with my recent knowledge of Children's Programmes to mount a weekly Saturday afternoon programme for children. There was a competition for children to name the show (about 4,000 entries) and we chose the title FOURTH DIMENSION which was suggested by Toby Shelley who lived at Harbury, near Leamington Spa. He was ten years old. The programme began in April 1970 and was on the air for four years at 4pm every Saturday on Radio 4. I had my pick of all the BBC announcers and I chose John Dunn. He had often announced my drama programmes and I admired the way his warmth and goodness shone like a beacon over the microphone.

FOURTH DIMENSION consisted of three or four segments. There was always a serial play at 4.30 and the first half of the programme was taken up by an opening five-minute cartoon, REX RADIO being the best and the most popular. That would be followed by, perhaps, a quiz, an astronomy programme (with Patrick Moore), a nature programme, a science programme, a comedy, a competition, a listeners' letter item and so forth.

This was the renamed annual Drama Students' Radio Competition in which all the accredited Drama Schools could enter up to six contestants. About 12-14 Drama Schools competed; from Scotland, Wales, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London. The Award ran over three days in March each year. I ran it from 1980 to 1989 from the moment it was named in honour of the celebrated radio actor. The winning girl and boy were offered a six-month contract with the BBC Radio Drama Company (a good launch pad for a career as it involved playing many different roles, working with famous actors and actresses and various directors and producers. The second prizes were cash awards.

Arising from my stewardship of the CARLETON HOBBS AWARD I was asked to be on the Drama Schools Panel of the NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR DRAMA TRAINING. This involved visits to the drama schools to see if expected standards were being maintained in syllabus, quality of teaching and premises. I was on the panel from 1985 to 1989.

Graham Gauld

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