Friday, 18 May 2012

English by radio, Pedagogical Pop and Bush House mice

Extract from my column Radio Websites, May 2012, Radio User, PW Publishing,

Follow the Bush House mice on Twitter for some shrewd and amusing observations of life at the bottom end of a large international broadcaster.  

Whether the mice migrate with the BBC World Service across London to New Broadcasting House is a moot point, but for a tour around the BBC’s swish new offices, studios and meeting rooms go to the following YouTube link  or go to  and look for the W1 tour. Another video of interest here is BBC World Service’s World Have Your Say from Tanzania a couple of years back.

When I was a teenager living in London I used to tune to the BBC World Service on 648kHz. In between the BBC World Service it was always fun to hear the BBC German and French services on that same frequency. Likewise, the BBC English by Radio programmes aired there always amused me, and despite English being my first language, educated me as well. I have found one of the classic BBC English programmes, called Pedagogical Pop, online. This would take a contemporary song and analyse the lyrics, line by line. This is probably more than average BBC Radio 1 listener managed to do.

So head for this Spanish site where you will find Starry Starry Night, Send in the Clowns, Suzanne, Heard it through the Grapevine, I Shot the Sheriff and many more explained in BBC English.

Summer Breeze audio is at  and there’s a transcript of the Ticket To Ride programme at


Andy Walmsley said...

What a find! BBC External Services programme recordings on the web seem to be very rare.

Unknown said...

Is it possible to download these songs from anywhere? I had two of original tape recorded in 1990. London town, and Phil Collins. I would like some more

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