(The incomplete) Ivor Cutler at the BBC

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As an appendix to my previous blog on Ivor Cutler, I thought I’d attempt to assemble a chronological list of Cutler’s BBC radio and television appearances. Oh yes.

At the moment, this is only a skeleton guide. There’s stuff missing. An awful lot. At the moment, I’m relying mainly on the BBC’s Genome site for information – it’s a superb resource, but it has a few drawbacks. Firstly, it only lists what was physically published in the Radio Times, so I’ve only been able to list appearances where Cutler was (a) scheduled and (b) billed. His first TV appearances were on Cliff Michelmore’s Tonight programme, for example, but right now I have no details on them. Secondly, scanning technology is never perfect, meaning that the likes of ‘Ivro Cvtler’ will fail to be picked up by the search engine. To do the archaeology properly, I’d need to visit the BBC’s Written Archives Centre and go through all the programme-as-broadcast sheets.

But it’s a start. My hope is that this guide will gradually get fleshed out as more information comes to light. If you know immediately of any glaring omissions, please let me know. (My thanks already to Justin Lewis for the Whistle Test tx date.)

Even with the gaps, it’s an interesting guide. His major radio work (Cutler the Lax, A Wet Handle, Jelly Mountain et al) are fairly well-known, but it surprised me how many one-off radio oddities he did – often erratically scheduled late at night on Radio 3. I didn’t know he and Phyllis King did a show together in 1981 before King Cutler, for example. It’s also pleasing to know that he was in the first full-length programme broadcast on BBC2.

A few notes. I chose not to include ‘needle time’ appearances  (eg, ‘My Disposition’ in the first edition of Blue Jam, or the clips used in Radio 4’s Archive Hour ‘Stuff and Nonsense’), restricting the guide to original/exclusive appearances only. I also decided not to include all of the BBC7/Radio 4 Extra repeats.

I’ve listed the Radio 1 sessions separately, and for this information I’m indebted to the research of Ken Garner. His 1993 book In Session Tonight (revised and expanded as The Peel Sessions in 2007) was described by John Peel himself as ‘an extraordinary work of scholarship’ and he wasn’t wrong.

So anyway. Strap yourself in.

1 (i). RADIO

ivor-harmonium

MONDAY NIGHT AT HOME
Home Service, Mon 8pm (7:30pm from 1960)
Sometimes repeated later in the week as HOME ON SATURDAY

Note: Cutler was often billed as ‘Ivor Cutler of Y’Hup’ or ‘Ivor Cutler of Y’Hup, OMP’. This 60-minute show ran from April 1959 to July 1962 – these are Cutler’s billed appearances, with the titles listed if known:

19/10/59
26/10/59: First Love
9/11/59:  Egg-Meat
16/11/59: Coughing Competition
23/11/59: Gruts for Tea
30/11/59: Windpipe MacDonald
7/12/59: The Way
14/12/59: Turkish Bath Play
21/12/59: Gruts for Tea
28/12/59: New Nose
4/1/60: Fish-Fright
11/1/60: The Tureen
18/1/60: Grass Seed
25/1/60: Bespoke Children
1/2/60: The Prisoner’s Secret
22/2/60: Unknown
29/2/60: Songs of an OMP
7/3/60: Songs of an OMP
28/3/60: Songs of an OMP
11/4/60: Songs of an OMP
25/4/60: Songs of an OMP
9/5/60 : Songs of an OMP
23/5/60: Songs of an OMP
13/6/60: Songs of an OMP
20/6/60: Songs of an OMP
27/6/60: A Red Flower
11/7/60: A Beserk Leg
31/10/60: A Steady Job
14/11/60: Spoon Control
21/11/61: A Distant Pain
28/11/60: The Feather Field’
5/12/60: Cold Potato
19/12/60: Scratch My Back
26/12/60
2/1/61: The Embarrassed Handywoman
9/1/61: I Want to Join
16/1/61: Letter from a Grannie
23/1/61: The Footkerchief
20/2/60: How to Make a Friend
27/2/61: The Hoorgi House
6/3/61: The Human Awl
3/4/61: Dirty Dinner
1/5/61: The Impressario
8/5/61: Old Cups of Tea
29/5/61: The Ouch-Stoppit Merriman Quartet
5/6/61: The Thinker
19/6/61: The Jamme-Beanabody Affair
10/7/61: The False God
17/7/61: The Tum-Tum Reader
16/10/61: Shapely Balloon
23/10/61: A National Disgrace
30/10/61: Beatrice and her Dirty Knees
6/11/61: The Fickle Sago Scrooper
13/11/61: Jellypocket
25/61: The Distant Pain
15/1/62: The Aimless Dawn-Runner
22/1/62: Push-Kidney
29/1/62: Agitated Pianist
5/2/62: Two Weary Professionals
19/2/62: Mary’s Drawer
5/3/62: The Aggressive Onion Seller
12/3/62
19/3/62
26/3/62: Suskia Copier
2/4/62: The Youthy Rubbish Judger
23/4/62: Not Again!
7/5/62: Frontways Flute
28/5/62: Meaty Bones
4/6/62: The Bemused Woman-Chaser
11/6/62: The Jeopardised Farm
18/6/62: What’s Your Price
25/6/62: Venus in Room XVIII
2/7/62: Nothing for Sale

Note: Re-recordings of some of these pieces were included on the 1986 album Gruts.

PARENTS AND CHILDREN
4/12/61 (30m)
Third Programme, Mon 7:30pm

THE I.C. SHOW
Broadcast over one week, 6/1/64 – 10/1/64 (5x15m)
Home Service, Mon-Fri 10:30pm

POETRY D-DAY
23/5/70 (45m)
Radio 3, Sat 6:45pm

IF IT’S WEDNESDAY IT MUST BE…
4/4/73 and 11/4/73 (2x40m)
Radio 4, 9:35pm

SILENCE
4/1/79 (20m)
Radio 3, Thur 10:35pm
(Repeated 23/2/79 and 14/8/79)
Note: Released on the 1986 album Gruts

POETRY NOW
7/12/79 and 8/2/80 (20m)
Radio 3, Fri 8:20/8:15pm)

IVOR CUTLER AND…

SERIES 1
Broadcast across four consecutive nights, 21/6/80 – 24/6/80 (4x10m)
1. ‘…the Mermaid’
2. ‘…the Mole’
3. ‘…the Princess’
4. ‘…his Dad’
Radio 3, Sat-Tue; various times around 10:30pm
(Repeated weekly, 14/11/80 – 5/12/80)

SERIES 2
Broadcast over Christmas 1981 (6x various durations between 5m and 15m)
1. ‘…a Barber’ (22/12/81)
2. ‘…a Paper Seller’ (24/12/81)
3. ‘…a Storeman’ (26/12/81)
4. ‘…a Small Holder’ (28/12/81)
5. ‘A Miner is Approached by Ivor Cutler’ (30/12/81)
6. ‘A Sheet Worker is Approached by Ivor Cutler’ (3/1/82)
Radio 3, Tue- Mon; mostly 8:55pm (final show 7:15pm)
(Repeated 30/10/82 – 4/12/82)

Note: For both runs, each edition is billed with its own separate title. The final two programmes don’t fit with ‘Ivor Cutler and…’ but are clearly part of the same series.

Note: All ten pieces were released on the 1986 album Prince Ivor.

KING AND CUTLER
22/5/81 (30m)
Radio 3, Fri 7pm

ASPECTS OF THE FRINGE
19/12/81 (45m)
Radio 4, Sat 11:15pm
(Repeated 6/1/82)

PRINCE IVOR
20/3/83 (20m)
Radio 3, Sun 3:40pm
Note: Released on the 1986 album Prince Ivor.

PROFILE
17/11/84 (20m)
Radio 4, Sat 9:30pm

BAT BLUES
5/3/87 (20m)
Radio 3, Thur 7:40pm
(Repeated 29/12/87)

CUTLER ON EDUCATION
30/3/89 (15m)
Radio 3, Thur 9:35pm

KING CUTLER
11/1/90 – 15/2/90 (6x30m)
Radio 3, Thur; various times around 9:30pm
(Repeated by BBC7, 17/1/08 – 21/2/08 and 20/9/09 – 25/10/09, although individual episodes were first included on Comedy Winners, broadcast 11/8/07, and Tom Robinson’s shift as Comedy Controller, 22/9/07)
Note: Programmes originally given numbered billing as ‘King Cutler I, King Cutler II’ etc.

CUTLER HAS 15
(‘…minutes in the archives!’)
27/7/90 – 10/8/90 (3x15m)
Radio 4, Fri 11:45pm

CUTLER THE LAX
2/8/91 – 16/8/91 (3x15m)
Radio 4, Fri 11:45pm
(Repeated 10/4/92 – 1/5/92)

KALEIDOSCOPE
4/10/91 (40m)
Radio 4, Fri 4:05pm

IVOR MEETS CRAIG [Murray-Orr]
12/6/93 (10m)
Radio 4, Sat 12:15pm

CULT RADIO
20/7/93 (90m)
Radio 5, Tue 8pm)

A STUGGY PREN
Broadcast over one week, 30/5/94 – 3/6/94 (5x15m)
Radio 3, Mon-Fri; various times around 9:30pm
(Repeated by BBC7, 15/7/08 – 26/8/08)

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE PAST
16/5/96 (35m)
Radio 4, Thur 12:25pm
(Repeated 12/7/97)

JELLY MOUNTAIN
Broadcast over one week, 20/5/96 – 24/5/96 (5x15m)
Radio 3, Mon-Fri; various times between 8:55pm and 9:30pm
(Repeated on BBC7, 7/11/08 – 5/12/08 and 13/8/09 – 10/9/09)

THE AFTERNOON SHIFT
10/9/96 (60m)
Radio 4, Tue 3pm

STANZA ON STAGE
9/11/96 (30m)
Radio 4, Sat 11:30pm

A WET HANDLE
Broadcast over one week, 2/6/97 – 6/6/97 (5x15m)
Radio 3, Mon-Fri; various times between 8:50pm and 9:30pm
(Repeated by BBC7, 8/7/08 – 5/8/08; one episode also picked by Armando Iannucci for BBC7’s Comedy Controller sequence, 24/1/09)

IN TUNE
26/6/98 (150m)
Radio 3, Fri 5pm

GLASGOW DREAMER
4/2/03 (30m)
Radio 4, Tue 11:30am
(Repeated 8/11/05 and 26/3/06, and by BBC7 on 14/10/07)

POETRY PLEASE
9/2/03 (30m)
Radio 4, Sun 4:30pm
(Repeated 15/2/03)

2 (ii). THE RADIO 1 SESSIONS

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These are Cutler’s Radio 1 sessions (recording dates in brackets) as listed in Ken Garner’s The Peel Sessions. I haven’t listed the tracks – if you want those, buy the book.

Note: Genome lists Cutler as a John Peel’s Night Ride guest on 9/5/68 (Radio 1, Thur 0:05pm).

7/5/69 (Wed 8:15pm; rx 5/5/69)
27/2/71 (Sat 3pm; rx 15/2/71)
24/11/71 (Wed 10pm; rx 8/11/71)
25/9/73 (Tue 10pm; rx 3/9/73)
28/11/74 (Thur 10pm; rx 14/11/74)
14/10/75 (Tue 11pm; rx 25/9/75)
31/8/76 (Tue 11pm; rx 17/8/76)
17/8/77 (Wed 10pm; rx 10/8/77)*
12/4/78 (Wed 10pm; rx 3/4/78)
27/2/79 (Tue 10pm; rx 20/2/79)
22/4/81 (Wed 10pm; rx 15/4/81)
3/3/83 (Thur 10pm; rx 23/2/83)
22/2/84 (Wed 10pm; rx 15/2/84)
15/7/85 (Mon 10pm; rx 30/6/85)
21/5/86 (Wed 10pm; rx 11/5/86)
15/6/87 (Mon 10pm; rx 9/6/87)
6/7/91 (Sat 11pm; rx 9/5/91)
15/12/91 (Sun 11pm; rx 31/10/91)
8/1/93 (Fri 11pm; rx 25/11/92)
8/1/94 (Sat 2pm/4:30pm*; rx 16/11/93)**
29/4/95 (Sat 5pm; rx 8/3/95)

*Released on vinyl by Strange Fruit, 1989

**A joint Andy Kershaw/John Peel session, shared between the two shows on the same afternoon

After the mid 90s, it gets a bit messy. The following appearances are listed on Genome but not recorded by Garner:

8/4/94 (Fri 10pm): A live appearance on Peel’s show as part of Sound City

16/7/95 (Sun 10pm): An Andy Kershaw session

1/4/96, 2/4/96 and 3/4/96 (Mon/Tue/Wed 10pm): Peel sits in for Mark Radcliffe – Cutler listed as a guest

Seven further Kershaw sessions (the last three for Radio 3), although some of these may have been repeats:

21/7/97 (Mon 10:40pm)
12/11/98 (Thur midnight)*
17/6/99 (Thur midnight)
29/7/99 (Thur midnight)
2/11/01 (Radio 3, Fri 10:15pm)
22/3/02 (Radio 3, Fri 10:15pm)
6/12/02 (Radio 3, Fri 10:15pm)

*Garner lists a session recorded on 12/6/98 and broadcast across various Peel and Kershaw shows (tx dates unknown). This was possibly one of them.

2. TELEVISION

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TONIGHT with Cliff Michelmore
19/2/57 – 18/6/65 (40m)
BBC TV, weeknights; originally 6:05pm
Cutler’s appearances unknown

LET’S IMAGINE: ‘A World of One’s Own’
2/2/62 (35m)
BBC TV, Fri 1:30pm

THE ACKER BILK BAND SHOW
Fortnightly 14/6/62 – 23/8/62 (6x25m)
BBC TV, Thur 5pm

THE ALBERTS’ CHANNEL TOO
21/4/64 (25m)
BBC2, Tue 7:30pm
Note: Part of BBC2’s postponed launch night – originally scheduled for 20/4/64
(Repeated 6/12/64)

SIX: ‘Diary of a Nobody’
12/12/64 (35m)
BBC2, Sat 10:10pm
Note: Cutler composed the music for this Ken Russell adaptation.
(Repeated 23/9/67)

OFF BEAT…
5/2/65 and 3/9/65 (2x30m)
BBC2, Fri 9:15pm and 9:35pm

MUSICSTAND
15/6/65 (25m)
BBC1, Tue 5:05pm

PURE GINGOLD
27/12/65 (30m)
BBC2, 9:30pm

LATE NIGHT LINE-UP
13/1/66 and 9/7/66 (2xc40m)
BBC2, Thur/Sat 11:25pm/11:20pm

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR [Beatles film]
26/12/67 (50m)
BBC1, 8:35pm
(Repeated on BBC2, 5/1/68 and 21/12/79)

SIX AND SEVEN-EIGHTHS
17/9/72 (?30m)
BBC2, Sun 11pm

THE END OF THE PIER SHOW: ‘Rig O’Doom’
1/12/74 (25m)
BBC2, Sun 10:35
(Repeated 24/1/76)

THE INNES BOOK OF RECORDS
12/10/81 (25m)
BBC2, Mon 10:25pm
Note: Filmed performance of ‘Gruts for Tea’

YOU AND ME
1/11/84 (15m)
BBC2, Thur 2pm
Cutler’s ‘Meal One’ is the featured story
(Repeated 27/5/85, 27/10/86, 31/3/87 and 28/11/88)

WHISTLE TEST
3/6/86 (60m)
BBC2, Tue 6pm
Cutler performs ‘Shoplifters’ and ‘My Wee Pet’

HARTY’S CHRISTMAS PARTY
24/12/86 (55m)
BBC2, Wed 10:50pm)

TURN THAT RACKET DOWN [Part of JOHN PEEL NIGHT]
29/8/99 (65m)
BBC2, Sun 9pm

ARENA: FRANCIS BACON’S ARENA
19/3/05 (100m)
BBC2, Sat 9:10pm

LOOKING FOR TRUTH WITH A PIN
15/4/05 (60m)
BBC4, Fri 10pm
(Repeated 16/4/05, 30/12/05, 24/3/06, 26/3/06 and 11/11/06)

CUTLER’S LAST STAND
15/4/05 (30m)
BBC4, Fri 11pm

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