Podcast – BFBS/VPRO

John Peel BFBS

John Peel wasn’t just on Radio 1 back in the day, he could be heard in Germany and Holland too. This pod – which will now be the first of a two parter – is a sample of some shows broadcast on BFBS and VPRO…

Those acronyms, if you don’t know, stand for British Forces Broadcasting Service (which was broadcasted to members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, primarily in Germany but also Hong Kong) – And what originally was Vrijzinnig Protestantse Radio Omroep (Liberal Protestant Radio Broadcasting Corporation), but eventually dropped their religious origins but kept the acronym. See their Wikipedia entry for more.

John’s BFBS shows were recorded for a weekly weekend broadcast and lasted until 2001. See the Peel Wiki entry for more. (The above photo taken in a BFBS studio) If you’ve got any John Peel BFBS broadcasts, drop us a line.

The VPRO shows were sadly short lived, they were broadcast between October 1984 and September 1986.
The Peel Wiki only has a few of those. Again if you have any John Peel VPRO shows recorded, do get in touch.

Below is a quote from Jan “Gonzo” Donkers, who produced some of his own programmes for VPRO, as well as some photos of Peel in the studio.

“For a few years he would come over to Holland every three weeks. He would do one show live, and record two. Afterwards, he’d stay at my place. He was a very strict vegetarian. If he had to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, he would run through the kitchen. That’s where the cat food was. He found the smell so repulsive he would run away from it even in the dead of night.” ~ Jan Donkers, VPRO

» Read more (via google translate)

John with his son at VPRO

Keeping It Peel Podcast – BFBS/VPRO


  1. (VPRO) Introduction by a Dutch announcer, John welcomes you to his first show on VPRO and plays Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria ( 10th October 1984)
  2. (BFBS) Opening music for show, a welcome from John and then Abana Ba Nasery – Abakambi (15th March 1992)
  3. (VPRO) Knights Of The Turntables – Fresh Mess and after that John talks about reading a Dutch magazine which has a 16 page feature on bands from Liverpool. (22nd May 1985)
  4. (BFBS) Admiral Tibet – Some People Life Is Not Comfortable (16th April 2000)
  5. (BFBS) The Fall – Immortality – followed by a remark by John saying that he thinks that Kenny Dalglish is immortal. (15th March 1992)
  6. (BFBS) Cat Power – Sea Of Love (16th April 2000)
  7. (VPRO) Agitpop – Desk Set   and:
  8. Nicholas Brothers – They Say He Ought To Dance (both from 22nd May 1985)
  9. (VPRO) Wedding Present – Once More and:
  10. Half Man Half Biscuit – Seal Clubbing (both from 29th January 1986)
  11. (BFBS) John talks about having to go and record a TV programme after the show. They require him to read some poetry but nothing from Keats or Blake, so he chose: “Teenage dreams so hard to beat, every time she walks down the street…” Undertones – Teenage Kicks (10th October 1996)
  12. (BSBS) Werefrogs – Forest Of Doves and:
  13. Ivor Cutler – When I Stand On An Open Cart (both from 15th March 1992)
  14. (VPRO) Yeah Yeah Noh – Beware The Weakling Lines John also asks the listeners to write to him and if they are going to write talk about football because that’s what he likes. (10th October 1984) and: John apologises for not knowing Dutch and says he would like to learn because the only words he knows are probably swearwords.
  15. (VPRO) John signs off with: Lonnie Mack – Baby What’s Wrong (22nd May 1985)

» Download (54.11MB / 59mins 6secs)

Because of the self-imposed limit with creating a pod of around 1 hour, there will be a part two very soon.

1 thought on “Podcast – BFBS/VPRO

  1. VPRO could be picked up reasonably well in the UK (well in South Yorkshire at least) and I remember listening to a few of the shows. As with the BFBS shows they tended to be a distillation of what he had been playing recently on Radio 1 and I didn’t record them for pretty much that reason.

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