BBC Radio uses our Bernie Andrews interview

Bill Aitken from BBC Radio Oxford has produced a documentary about one of our interviewees, BBC producer, Bernie Andrews, who broadcast every major UK rock band before they were famous. The documentary makes extensive use of our HP interviews, as much of the programme is built around our two interviews with Bernie Andrews, conducted by Mike Dick.

Some tasters from BBC Radio Oxford’s forthcoming documentary about Bernie Andrews, one of the most influential radio producers of the 20th Century:

  • BBC Broadcasting House in London has a John Peel wing.  Why is there no Bernie Andrews wing?  If it hadn’t been for Bernie Andrews, John Peel might never have had a career.  In defiance of his bosses, Bernie first of all hired John Peel, and then protected him from those at the BBC who wanted to sack John.  Bernie’s own career suffered as a result, and is one of the many reasons why there is no Bernie Andrews wing.  In Bernie’s own words, “I had hell to pay for that…  John Peel did fairly well out of it.”
  • “He [John Peel] couldn’t stand David Bowie…    …thought he was a cheap imitation of Anthony Newley…” John Peel’s verdict on a young David Bowie - as reported by John Peel’s first radio producer, Bernie Andrews.
  • Bernie Andrews entertained the Beatles in his flat in Shepherd Market after BBC sessions, cooking them their favourite meal while they amused themselves with his Mynah bird.
  • Saved the Rolling Stones from a failed BBC audition.
  • Witnessed Cilla Black doing something naughty at his flat in Mayfair.
  • Presided over a BBC recording session during which Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones was given a drumming lesson.
  • Sourced an unusual musical instrument from a nearby building site for a BBC recording session with the Dave Clark Five.
  • Brought Led Zeppelin to a mass audience when the mainstream producers and DJs at the BBC were ignoring them.
  • Tarted up his drab BBC office, painting it in flamboyant colours and installing an eye-catching aquarium complete with fish.
  • Gave David Bowie his first broadcast, much against the wishes of his star DJ, John Peel.
  • Was serially dismissed as producer of a string of very popular, and sometimes poll-topping radio programmes. 
  • Was known to enjoy the occasional jazz cigarette at his desk.
  • Saved many priceless – and now historic - pop and rock music recordings from certain destruction as decreed by the Musician’s Union and the BBC.
  • Once complained about the damp conditions in his office by turning up for work wearing a pair of frogman’s flippers.
  • Broadcast Queen to millions when they were being ignored by the record companies.
  • Thought many of the rules and regulations at the BBC were bizarre, smug and, occasionally, stupid.

The programme was broadcast on 27th December, 2016. Here’s a link to the programme website: Legends of Rock 2 - Bernie Andrews, Legends of Rock - BBC Radio Oxford.
(Note: The programme will be available on iPlayer for a month after broadcast, so the link may not work indefinitely.)