1999

by THE NIGHT SHIFT

 

The Learning Zone commenced a welcome Christmas and Millennium break after a final fling in the early hours of Saturday 18th December 1999, paving the way for a three-week spell of longer closedown periods on BBC2. As ever, this posed the question:- would the BBC fill the gap to (our) advantage?

The audible accompaniment to Ceefax pages over the holiday period started off encouragingly with a very distinct sandwich pattern - musical bread with a rather unsavoury tone filling!

However, some of the bread was thick-sliced! The policy had been to play a mini-disc in its entirety at the start of the closedown period, followed immediately by tone. After a somewhat hesitant start, the thickness of the other slice of bread also increased on two occasions to incorporate a second complete mini-disc, back-timed to fill the final hour or so of the gap. Such a policy resulted in the first ever airing of a complete Secret Crystal on Wednesday 22nd December.

 

Date

Bread 1

Filling

Bread 2

19/12/99

In the Open

(complete)

Tone

Wild Wind

(12 mins)

20/12/99

Rolling Along

(complete)

Tone

Before the Breeze

(20 mins)

21/12/99

Europa Time

(complete)

Tone

Choco Coca

(complete)

22/12/99

New York Train

(complete)

Tone

Secret Crystal

(complete)

23/12/99

Europa Time

(15mins)

Tone

Choco Coca

(15 mins)

 

Festive music replaced the usual sequence on Christmas Eve, and given the record of the previous few days, it was looking encouraging for a complete performance of the official Christmas mini-disc which first appeared a year ago - Jingle Bells, orchestral (Production Number 673). But that was not to be - it wasn't played at all; the sandwich disappeared, and music from CD featured during the last twenty to twenty-five minutes before the start of programmes, with tone at all other times. The Jingle Bells medley on Boxing Day was apparently not long enough for the time slot allocated to it - after about twenty minutes there was a pause before it was restarted again from the beginning! It opened with a thirty-second "sting" which managed to cram Jingle Bells and several other items of Christmas music into its brief time span!

Date

Music

24/12/99

Joy to the World (21 mins)

25/12/99

Joy to the World (24 mins)

26/12/99

Jingle Bells Medley (23 mins)

 

By 27th December normal service had resumed, but without the sandwich - just tone until the last twenty minutes or so. That was not strictly true in Scotland; a mini opt-out occurred during the last two or three minutes of the national music sequence, thanks to enterprising continuity announcer, Tony Currie. This acted as a prelude to a Scotland-only trailer before the first programme of the morning. On 27th December this resulted in Secret Crystal switching after Track 8 into a Jingle Bells Christmas medley, and the following morning New York Train faded during its fifth track into the slightly festive-sounding Swinging Pizzicato from BBC2 Tape U (High Life)!

Year 2000 started badly, with only 15 minutes of music per day. However, after an unusually early closedown at 00.45 on 5th January, two and a half hours of tone were followed by a record-breaking three and three quarter hours of music!

Date

Music

27/12/99

Secret Crystal (24 mins)

28/12/99

New York Train (24 mins)

29/12/99

Hazel Crest (30 mins)

30/12/99

In the Open (25 mins)

31/12/99

Wild Wind (20 mins)

01/01/00

BBC News 24

02/01/00

Rolling Along (15 mins)

03/01/00

Before the Breeze (15 mins)

04/01/00

Europa Time (15 mins)

05/01/00

Choco Coca (complete)

New York Train (complete)

Secret Crystal (complete)

Slide Rule (49 mins)

06/01/00

Hazel Crest (14 mins)

07/01/00

In the Open (15 mins)

08/01/00

Wild Wind (19 mins)

 

 

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Latest Update: 22/04/06


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