The Radiophonic Workshop was set up in 1958 by Daphne Oram and Desmond Briscoe to provide sound and electronic music for BBC radio and television drama. The composers and sound designers who made up the workshop — including Delia Derbyshire — were true pioneers, often mentioned in the same breath as Kraftwerk as the real legends of electronic music.
BBC Radiophonic Workshop features in a documentary, A Journey Through Time, in which they talk about the tricks of the trade before electronic instruments with keyboards existed, the studio at BBC Maida Vale, and the real secret to the making of the now legendary Dr Who theme tune.
Since the closure of the BBC studio, Radiophonic Workshop is now a live band and have continued playing the classics as well as new material. Synthesizer company, Arturia, filmed the documentary around their performance at Jazz Café, Camden Town, London, which features interviews with Mark Ayres, Peter Howell, Dick Mills, Roger Limb, and Paddy Kingsland, on how they perform the old songs in a new era. Watch it here:
Also, if you’re interested in early British electronic music, also check out our interview with composer and synth pioneer Peter Zinovieff, the designer of the EMS VCS3, mentioned in the above video.