We had a plug-in Ultra mains radio, as opposed to the one that ran off an accumulator – a glass-bodied battery-type contraption. The radio had three wavebands – long wave, medium wave and short wave – a long time before things like AM, FM and VHF frequencies. The dial from which you selected the station was a bit like a geography lesson, with names such as Helsinki, Sofia, Hilversum and Daventry. Having, at that time, no idea where these places were, I can remember spinning the knob at great speed, which resulted in foreign gibberish spewing out of the loudspeaker.
From the medium-wave band, you could listen to the BBC programmes. The BBC provided just three stations. The first was known as the ‘Home Service’ which catered for highbrow tastes and had classical music, serious plays, programmes like The Brains Trust and discussion programmes. The second station was the ‘Forces Programme’ – later to be renamed the Light Programme – and this contained news, popular music and programmes like Music While You Work. The third station was the BBC World Service which was actually transmitted on short wave – the waveband for extreme ranges.