Radio Ballads

Related Overviews

Ewan MacColl (1915—1989) songwriter, folk-singer, and playwright


'Radio Ballads' can also refer to...

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A highly influential series of radio programmes devised by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and produced by Charles Parker for the BBC, between 1958 and 1964. The programmes covered a wide range of topics and broke new ground in the extensive use of tape recordings of ordinary people talking and singing, interwoven with songs and music specially written by MacColl and Seeger. The full list of Radio Ballad programmes, with first broadcast dates, is as follows: The Ballad of John Axon (railwayman) (July 1958), Song of the Road (the building of the M1) (Nov. 1959), Singing the Fishing (the herring industry) (Aug. 1960; winner of the Prix d'Italia that year), The Big Hewer (mining) (Aug. 1961), The Body Blow (polio sufferers) (Mar. 1962), On the Edge (teenagers) (Feb. 1963), The Fight Game (boxing) (July 1963), and The Travelling People (Gypsies) (Apr. 1964). Three of these were turned into television programmes by Philip Donellan: Shoals of Herring (1972), The Fight Game (1973), and The Big Hewer (1973). The programmes were re-issued on compact disc in 1999.

Ewan MacColl, Journeyman: An Autobiography (1991), 311–36.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.