Information Please

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Information Please was a BBC radio programme in the 1960s, in which listeners' questions were answered.

In 1964, Delia provided the answer to the question "How is electronic music produced?".


Actress in a Scottish accent: We often hear in mystery or science plays strange eerie music which, I understand, is not produced by ordinary musical instruments, but electronically. How is that done? -Miss Anne MacMillan, Perth.

Presenter: So, to explain how these strange sounds come about we're going to a most interesting department of the BBC, their Radiophonic Workshop where, for instance, the title music of Doctor Who and many other special sounds and incidental music for sound and television plays are produced and to explain how this is done we have with us Miss Delia Derbyshire, a very versatile girl who has a good technical knowledge combined with a musical training and a sense of dramatic ability. (To Delia) So, in this workshop you can turn practically any sound into a form of music?

Delia: Yes, if we take the Greenwich pips, for example, we can speed them up and slow them down and alter the quality and we can, by mixing various tracks together, make a little piece like this:

[ Oranges and Lemons plays... ]

Presenter: Well, that was a very nice arrangement and I can distinctly recognise the theme of it, the "Oranges and Lemon" themes. I'd never expected to hear it with the Greenwich pips as the instrument, as it were. Well, thank you very much for your explanations and for the very interesting things you've shown me while I've been in your workshop here. Hey, what are you doing to my voice, Miss Derbyshire?

Delia: I've turned you into a fish!

Presenter: Thank you very much indeed, Miss Derbyshire.


  • DD177: Copy of radio programme.