Delia’s first composer credit in the Radio Times

Last year I bought a back issue of the Radio Times on eBay containing what I believe to be Delia’s first composer credit for BBC television. It was for an episode of the natural history series The World About Us called ‘The Blue-Veiled Men’, broadcast by BBC 2 on 30th June 1968 at 7.25pm.

Prior to this, Delia’s music was credited solely to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, with no individual composer credit. But by the late ’60s her colleague John Baker had helped to bring about a change in BBC policy, when he successfully applied to the Performers Rights Society to claim authorship over his compositions. As Louis Niebur notes in his book Special Sound, Baker’s win ensured that “after this point, Workshop composers retained the “intellectual” copyright over the material, while the BBC kept the mechanical (and financial) exploitation rights. It was a small victory, but shifting to a system of individual credit for compositions had a profound effect on morale within the studio.” (Niebur, p. 111).

This change was reflected in the ‘The Blue-Veiled Men’, for which Delia was credited on-screen and in the Radio Times. Her incidental music for the programme (the haunting Blue Veils and Golden Sands) was some of the most acclaimed in her career, and was later included on an album of BBC Radiophonic Music released in 1968. The documentary itself has never been repeated or commercially released, but there is a brief clip from it (at around 6m 15s) in Kara Blake’s 2009 documentary, The Delian Mode.

The broadcast info for ‘The Blue-Veiled Men’ is available on BBC Genome and reproduced below are scans of the Radio Times, taken from the relevant issue in my personal collection.

(Article © David Huggins, 12th December 2016)

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