Great BBC doc on the legendary Radiophonic Workshop, producers of amazing soundtracks and out-of-this-world sounds!
Curated by The Sadnesses
Total Runtime: 0:39:48
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, one of the sound effects units of the BBC, was created in 1958 to produce effects and new music for radio, and was originally closed in March 1998, although much of its traditional work had already been outsourced by 1995. The Workshop was revived in 2012, however none of the team involved in the original incarnation will be involved. It was based in the BBC's Maida Vale Studios in Delaware Road, London, growing outwards from the then-legendary Room 13, but from 2012 it is based entirely online.
The Workshop was set up to satisfy the growing demand in the late 1950s for "radiophonic" sounds from a group of producers and studio managers at the BBC, including Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram. For some time there had been much interest in producing innovative music and sounds to go with the pioneering programming of the era, in particular the dramatic output of the BBC Third Programme. Often the sounds required for the atmosphere that programme makers wished to create were unavailable or non-existent through traditional sources and so some, such as the musically trained Oram, would look to new techniques to produce effects and music for their pieces. Much of this interest drew them tomusique concrète and tape manipulation techniques, since using these methods could allow them to create soundscapes suitable for the growing range of unconventional programming. When the BBC noticed the rising popularity of this method they established a Radiophonic Effects Committee, setting up the Workshop in rooms 13 & 14 of the BBC's Maida Vale studios with a budget of £2,000. The Workshop regularly released technical journals of their findings - leading to some of their techniques being borrowed by sixties producers and engineers such as Eddie Kramer.