Anorak | The Fleet’s Lit Up: Live BBC Broadcast Goes Wrong

The Fleet’s Lit Up: Live BBC Broadcast Goes Wrong

by | 23rd, January 2009

ON 20 May 1937, the BBC carried a live commentary on the illumination of the naval fleet, with insight provided retired Naval officer Lieutenant-Command Thomas Woodrooffe.

We went live to the action:


This is the Regional Programme. The Illumination of the Fleet. Once again we’re taking you on board HMS Nelson for a description of the scene at Spithead tonight by Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Woodrooffe.


At the present moment, the whole fleet is lit up. When I say ‘lit up’, I mean lit up by fairy lamps.

We’ve forgotten the whole Royal Review we’ve forgotten the Royal Review the whole thing is lit up by fairy lamps. It’s fantastic, it isn’t the fleet at all. It’s just it’s fairyland, the whole fleet is in fairyland.

Now, if you’ll follow me through if you don’t mind the next few moments… you’ll find the fleet doing odd things (indistinct, but that’s my best guess). At the present moment, the New York, obviously, is lit out and when I say the fleet is lit up in lamps… I mean, she’s outlined. The whole ship’s outlined. In little lamps.

I’m sorry, I was telling some people to shut up talking.

Umm.. what I mean is this. The whole fleet is lit up. In fairy lamps, and each ship is outlined.

Now, as far as I can see is about I suppose I can see down about five or six miles ships are all lit up.

They’re outlined, the whole lot. Even destroyers are outlined. In the old days, y’know, destroyers used to be outlined by a little kind of pyramid of lights. And nowadays destroyers

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Posted: 23rd, January 2009 | In: News Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink