Gary Critcher

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Mr Gary Critcher

I was born in 1958. I began working at the BBC in 1976, my final year at the BBC was 1989.


Hogarth Junior School, Chiswick Comprehensive School.

How I joined the BBC

My family had a friend who had worked for the BBC for years, she knew that I wanted to get in to the Corporation and saw a holiday relief job advertised internally and told us about it, I applied from there.

My first impressions of the BBC

It was so interesting! To be actually INSIDE the place where all my favourite TV and radio programmes came from was amazing for a 17-year old.

Broad BBC career

Despatch Clerk, Intake Clerk, Tape Librarian.

Periods at the BBC

1976 until 1979

I was a Despatch Clerk on a Staff contract earning 1800.0.

We were based at Kensington House, Shepherd's Bush in the Despatch, Transcription Service department., at that time run by George Riggs.

My first job!.

Main memories of the period

I started at Kensington House on a two week temporary job during that long hot summer of 1976, one of the guys was away on holiday and they needed a replacement. Quite quickly I think, I can't remember now, within maybe 6 weeks after I had done the 2 weeks, there was a permnant job advertised, so I applied for that and having already done the job, I got it. I come from Chiswick in West London, so getting to Shepherd's Bush every morning was a short bus ride on the 117 Routemaster, getting off at Shepherd's Bush Green and walking to Ken.House. The office was full of young guys having fun, the work consisted of parcelling up and sending off BBC radio programmes that had been pressed onto 12" LP-sized discs to radio stations in literally all parts of the world. Programmes were sometimes supplied on quarter inch audio tape too. As we were all young guys, the days were spent talking about music, football, TV programmes, women...the usual stuff! The other bonus was that I was then able to get FREE tickets to recordings of both radio and TV programmes. 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' was one of my favourite radio programmes back then and I think I attended my first recordings at the famous Paris Studio in 1977, I must have gone to hundreds of recordings in that studio over the years, and all free! I also went to places like Television Centre, the TV Theatre (on Shepherd's Bush Green), and Golders Green Hippodrome for television recordings. As I was in to music, then getting tickets for something like an 'Old Grey Whistle Test' audience recording was truly something to savour. If the recording was at Television Centre, then there was the added attraction of being able to make use of the BBC Club (both before AND afterwards!), it was always good fun to try and spot the cast from the show you'd just seen recorded winding down and having a drink with us 'normal' people. I think the very first BBC recording I went to was in March 1977 and a programme in the series of 'Sight & Sound In Concert' which was a concert programme recorded in front of a 'live' audience and was filmed for BBC2 but also recorded in stereo for a simulcast on Radio 1. The band were Paice Ashton Lord, who were two guys from my favourite band Deep Purple (drummer Ian Paice and keyboard player Jon Lord) and keyboardist/singer Tony Ashton. This was at the Golders Green Hippodrome and was not without its' troubles. During the recording the lighting rig stopped working twice forcing a halt to the proceedings. I remember the band did a couple of numbers twice and Ian Paice was urged by the audience to perform an impromptu drum solo-which he did for us! Brilliant.


BBC Film Club