RADIO ACTIVE
The only national local radio station

Back in 1980, commercial radio had only been running in the UK for a few years when a new local station burst onto the airwaves Ö Radio Active. Being difficult (if not impossible) to pick up with conventional radios, they had to make do with a series of live link ups with BBC Radio 4. Or so the perpetrators would have us believe Ö it was actually a novel sendup of the fledgling industry inspired by the 1978 Oxford University student show which was adapted for the 1979 Edinburgh Fringe.

The first of these so-called "simulcasts" took place on April 8th 1980 as part of The Oxford Review, and starred Helen Atkinson Wood, Angus Deayton, Philip Pope, Karen Rasmussen, Michael Stevens, and David Jackson Young. The BBC subsequently commissioned a series of six further link ups under the title Radio Active which were aired eighteen months later. In the series, Rasmussen and Young were replaced by Geoffrey Perkins and (occasionally) Morwenna Banks. Eventually the programme would run to some fifty editions (plus a couple of specials).

THE RADIO ACTIVE STAFF

ANGUS DEAYTON.....Mike Channel - the stationís "imploding" personality, who started out as a presenter of a peak time weekday show, was moved to the Sunday morning 4am time slot, and ended up as Aaron The Aardvark on the Saturday morning kiddies show.
..Sir Norman Tonsil - the pompous, opinionated and downright obnoxious Chairman.
..The Right Reverend Reverend Wright - the resident Head of Religious Affairs, with a liking for heavy metal hymns.
 
GEOFFREY PERKINS.....Mike Flex - the cocky presenter whose career was heading in the opposite direction to Channelís.
..Oivind Vinstra -a Norwegian DJ with a poor command of English (an inexpensive announcer).
 
HELEN ATKINSON WOOD.....Anna Daptor - the podgy host of the midday show, whose obsession with food caused all sorts of problems.
..Anna Rabies - the very aggressive agony aunt, whose solution was usually to kill the source of the problem.
 
MICHAEL FENTON-STEVENS....."Uncle" Mike Stand - the 'kiddies favourite', whose well-intended actions inevitably lead to his arrest for child molesting.
..Martin Brown - the shyest DJ on radio who started out on the local hospital radio 4am show and was employed for one reason - he was cheap.
 
PHILIP POPE..(Oh so daring) Mike Hunt. - the station's daredevil, who performed stunts which even a five-year-old would consider tame.
..Nigel Pry - a one-man accident black-spot who often demolished the studio within seconds of starting his show.
..Dr Philip Percygo - the singing medico.

Over the years the show sent up just about every sort of radio programme, ranging from mass debates (Are you in favour of all-out nuclear destruction?), cookery (I thought everybody knew coq au vin was a recipe with chicken and I can't be held responsible for what has happened to your husband) and unbiased election specials (with the station chairman, Sir Norman Tonsil, standing as the candidate for the Free - Enterprise - Bring - Back - The - Rack - And - Send - Home - All - Those - With - A - Touch - Of - The - Tar - Brush - In - Them - Democratic - Party in the Thodding by-election) to a fly on the wall documentary about an average family (Mr and Mrs Famley) with intimate details of their disintegration, nervous breakdowns and the major fire caused by a faulty microphone lead.

Each episode had a musical break usually written by Philip Pope, but over the series, Steve Brown, Angus Deayton and Keith McCullock all contributed, which consisted of a send up of a popular group or artist. One of these groups was the Hee-Bee-Gee-Bees, that well-known trio of Norris, Dobbin and Garry Cribb as portrayed by Pope, Deayton and Stevens. The trio began releasing commercial recordings even before Radio Active began and their "life story" was profiled in a Radio 2 documentary broadcast in 1981.

The shows were broken up by a wide range of advertisements including send ups of real ads (the sound of someone being violently sick followed by "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label") and exclusive products (suck Quillies throat lozenges). A regular advertiser was Honest Ron (Stevens), who threw in a visit from six out-of-work jockies bent on rearranging parts of your anatomy if you didn't pay up on time.

Also broadcast were blindingly obvious public information advertisements to warn you against such activities as letting small children play in the fast lane of a motorway.

Radio Active tried to help the community with a wide range of telephone help-lines including the I'm In Trouble Line, the Oh God, I'm Unemployed Line and the Christ Almighty, I'm Starving To Death Here And You Bastards Don't Seem To Be Able To Do Anything About It Line.

Radio Active was immensely popular but had it's controversial moments. The satire on religious broadcasting (aired on September 12 1987) provoked a series of complaint letters in the Radio Times when some took it the wrong way. The D-Day show (November 1 1986) also received complaints with apologies being demanded by some of those who had fought at Normandy.

The show ran for a total of seven seasons. There were rumours of an eighth season, but instead the team transferred to television in May 1989 as part of the Comic Asides series. This was a showcase for five 'pilot' programmes (akin to the Comedy Playhouse series which spawned Steptoe And Son and many others back in the 1960s and 1970s).

In the move from radio to tv, the idea switched from being a commercial radio station to a satellite tv company, and in the process gained a new chairman - Sir Kenneth Yellowhammer. Unfortunately another group was already using the name SKY TV, so the "Sir" part was dropped. He lead the station in an aggressive drive for what the Radio Times described as "a headlong chase for ratings at the expense of quality".

Some new characters appeared such as Mad Hattie, the fitness expert, and Rabbi Rabbit - a glove puppet who appeared in the religious broadcasts.

Much of the material in KYTV was taken from Radio Active including a charity fund-raiser, the D-Day special and a fly-on-the-wall documentary (this time featuring Mr and Mrs Walls). TV sendups included Challenge Anna, in which Anna Daptor had to locate a spleen for a life-saving transplant operation and a documentary about the making of the play David Chizzlenut (loosely based on an idea by Charles Dickens). Other Radio Active ideas surfaced in modified form such as Brown Nose Day, sending up the BBC's Red Nose Day. (where twenty-five bare foot East End kiddies set off across Antarctica with KYTV T shirts, sandwiches and buckets and spades to recreate Captain Scott's expedition).

The shows were principally written by Angus Deayton and Geoffrey Perkins, with additional material by Jon Canter, Richard Curtis, John Docherty, Michael Fenton-Stevens, and Moray Hunter, and the series was produced, over the years, but Jimmy Mulville, Jamie Rix and David Taylor.

Radio Active was honoured with the BPI Award for Best Radio Comedy Show of 1981, the Sony Award for Best Light Entertainment Programme of 1982 and the Premio Ondas of 1983. KYTV won the Silver Rose of Montreaux in 1994.

RADIO ACTIVE

The Hee Bee Jee Bees Story was first broadcast on BBC Radio Two. All of the other shows were first broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

SHOWEPISODE TITLETransmission
PilotThe Oxford Review8/4/80
1/1The Late Show - Mike Channel 8/9/81
1/2Bedrock - The Early Morning Breakfast Show - Mike Flex15/9/81
1/3Midday Show - Anna Daptor22/9/81
1/4The Radio Active Roadshow29/9/81
1/5What's News6/10/81
1/6The Mike Stand Show - Radio Active Awards13/10/81
Special ShowThe Hee Bee Jee Bees Story (Intro.by Paul Burnett) 19/12/81
2/1The History of Radio Active 16/8/82
2/2Charity Radiothon 23/8/82
2/3Good Day Sport 30/8/82
2/4What's Going On 6/9/82
2/5The Nigel Pry Show 13/9/82
2/6Pick of the Week 20/9/82
3/1Euroshow 12/7/83
3/2Probe Round The Back 19/7/83
3/3Funday 26/7/83
3/4Repeat After Three 2/8/83
3/5Lunchtime With Anna 9/8/83
3/6What's Going On at the Edinburgh Festival 16/8/83
Christmas SpecialRadio Active's Christmas Turkey 20/12/83
4/1Salute to New York 9/7/84
4/2The Martin Brown Show 16/7/84
4/3Round Your Parts 23/7/84
4/4Breakfast Show 30/7/84
4/5Minorities Programme 6/8/84
4/6Bio Show 13/8/84
4/7Gigantaquiz 20/8/84
4/8Martin Chizzlenutt 27/8/84
5/1Wimbledon Special 5/7/85
5/2Nuclear Debate 12/7/85
5/3Out of Your Depth 19/7/85
5/4In Australia 26/7/85
5/5Get Away With You 2/8/85
5/6Wey Hey It's Saturday 9/8/85
5/7Music Festival 16/8/85
5/8Did You Catch It? 23/8/85
6/1A Thodding By-Election Special 11/10/86
6/2The Fit and Fat Show 18/10/86
6/3Radio Active's Bogie Awards 25/10/86
6/4The D-Day Show 1/11/86
6/5Radio Active Goes to the Movies 8/11/86
6/6Stop That Crime UK 15/11/86
6/7In House Documentary 22/11/86
6/8Backchat 29/11/86
7/1It Was 20 Years Ago Last Tuesday 29/8/87
7/2Radio Radio Programme 5/9/87
7/3God Alone Knows 12/9/87
7/4Probe Round The Back 19/9/87
7/5Mike Says - Here's a Bit of Talent 26/9/87
7/6Flu Special 3/10/87
7/7You and Your Things 12/10/87
7/8Mega Phone In 19/10/87

KYTV

All of the following were first broadcast on BBC2

EpisodeTitleTransmission
PilotComic Asides 12/5/89
1/1The launch of KYTV 3/5/90
1/2Big Fight Special 10/5/90
1/3The Green Green Show 17/5/90
1/4Those Wonderful War Years 24/5/90
1/5It's A Royal Wedding 31/5/90
1/6Challenge Anna 7/6/90
2/1KY Telethon 17/3/92
2/2God Alone Knows 24/3/92
2/3Good Morning Calais 31/3/92
2/4Crisis Special 7/4/92
2/5Talking Head 14/4/92
2/6Speak For Yourself 21/4/92
3/1Making Of David Chizzlenut 17/9/93
3/2Those Sextiting Sixties 24/9/93
3/3Fly On The Walls 1/10/93
3/42000 'n' Whither 8/10/93
3/5Hot Crimes 15/10/93
3/6Get Away With You 22/10/93


COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL

Meaningless Songs / Posing In the MoonlightOriginal records/R.C.A. single ABO2 (1980)
 
439 Golden Greats - The Original Hee Bee Jee BeesOriginal records/RCA LP TWITS101 (1981)
Meaningless Songs (The Hee Bee Jee Bees) / (Dancing) Up The Wall (Jack Michaelson) / Dead Cicada (The Beagles) / Quite Ahead Of My Time (David Bowwow) / You're My Son (Kenny Rogered) / Boring song (Status Quid) / Ah! (The Hee Bee Jee Bees) / Too Depressed To Commit Suicide (The PeeCees) / Simple Song (Paul McCarthrob and Wangs) / Granma (St Winnalot's Reform School Choir) / Music Machine (Babba) / Oh Me! (Larry Pilsson) / Bird Of Peace (Neil Dung, Bob Vylan, The Bland, Frank Sumatra, Dean Martian, Leonard Crowing, George Harrassing)
 
Too Depressed To Commit Suicide / Up the Wall + Meaningless SongsOriginal Records / R.C.A. single HGBG 1 (1981)
 
Boring Song / Dead CicadaOriginal Records / R.C.A. single HGBG 2 (1981)
 
Radio ActiveBBC LP REH 471 (1983)
Highlights from series 1 and 2: Police File + Shipping Forecast / Commercial Break / Ches And Des / Luscivia In The Foyer / Dedication + Wordplay Jackpot / Radiothon / Kate Bosch / Pensioner At The Ritz / Soap Box Corner / Commercials (Wilsonís Cricket Bat + Martinís Of Bond Street) / S.O.S. Message / Thought For The Day / Sword Fighting / Results Service / Next Time / Incorrect Traffic Report / Commercial Time (Bad Breath Advert) / Bob Dylan Sings / Sootyís Magic Show / David Copperfield / Hymen and Carbuncle / Playhouse / Masterquiz / Commercials (The Basement + Nappies) / Adventure Holiday / Wang Wang / Should You Find Any Fault
 
Hee Bee Gee Bees Present - 20 Big No. 2ísJ&B LP (Australia only) JB197
Pretty Boys On Video (Drone Drone) / Kiss And Make Up (Couture Club) / Purple Pants (Ponce) / When Two Songs Sound The Same (Frankie Goes To the Bank) / Wherever I Lay (Paul Yuk) / Scatological Song (Supertrash) / Down Tools (Men Relaxing) / Dancelot (Poxy Music) / Toyland Rhapsody (Queer) / Gary Clitter Is Back (Gary Clitter) / Get ĎEm Off, Irene (Sexist Midnight Runners) / I Donít Want Your Baby (Human Leak) / Me! (The Kids From Shame) / Bored In The USA (Bruce Springbok) / Song Without A Tune (Billy Idiot) / Curdled Milk And Boot Polish (Paul McCarthrob And Stevie Blunder) / Are Trains Electric? (Gary Inhuman) / Out Of Proportion (Jack Michaelson) / A Donít Wanna Smoke Anymore Dope (Eddy Grunt) / Lies (Spamdown Belly) / We Canít Have Hits Of Our Own Anymore (Stars Over 45: Kenny Rogered, Dolly Hardon, Julio Insidias, Bob Vylan, Frank Sumatra, Paul McCarthrob, John Denture, Jack Michaelson and The HeeBeeJeeBees)
 
When two songs (sound the same) - Frankie Goes To The Bank / Purple pants - Ponce10 Records single TEN61 (1989)
 
Radio ActiveBBC / Canned Laughter ZBBC 1522 (1993)
Features Mega Phone In and Martin Chizzlenut
 
Further Selections From Radio ActiveBBC / Canned Laughter ZBBC 1718 (1995)
 
Radio ActiveBBC/ ZBBC 1718 (ISBN 0563 390549)
This double cassette contains the material previously released on the first canned laughter tape (ZBBC1522) and the BBC Record REH 471

VIDEO

KYTV BBCV 5193
Featuring The Making Of David Chizzlenut / Those Sextiting Sixties / Fly On The Walls

BOOKS

Radio Active Times
Sphere Books paperback, 1986

The Utterly, Utterly Amusing And Pretty Damn Definitive Comic Relief Revue Book
Penguin paperback 1989
(Includes the scripts of Three Way Quiz and Martinsí Of Bond Street)


...a headlong chase for hits at the expense of quality.

A STATEMENT FROM THE SITE MANAGEMENT

In order to expand the site at a rate of knots, it has become necessary to cull information from other, maybe less reputable, sources. Whilst this site does not wish to drop its standards, we feel that we must give the public what they want, and they want prime-time show guides. To this end we feel we are totally justified in buying in pre-prepared show guides from organisations such as Tony Lang, and refute the claims that we are profit driven. Quantity is just as good a word as quality, if anything it is slightly longer so you get more for your money!

Thanks Tony