Once upon a time, well, back in the seventies actually, there was a very little radio station. This little station travelled around Leicestershire in the English midlands and broadcast music and sillyness to an audience of several.

This station was known as IRL, or Independent Radio Leicester.

Though the evil forces of the dreaded Post Office Radio Investigation Service tried to close it down, the little station broadcast on. Via wobbly cassette decks and steam powered transmitters the signal trickled around Leicestershire on a Sunday afternoon.
An incompetent band of disc jockeys played exactly what they wanted to. They were Dave "cloth-ears" Dean, Tony Black with Alan Dunkley (the drones) and the other bloke er.. now what was his name? oh yes Dave Ross.

The highlight of the IRL year was Christmas, when a special show was done and then broadcast under the name of Radio Christmas (very original I think you'll agree!). You can partake of some of the atmosphere of the 1977 show if you have the RealAudio 3.0 or 5.0 player.

Before you set off I'd better introduce you to the regular cast. The show was hosted by two John Peel or Bob Harris takeoffs with what sounds like poor brummie accents, their names were Tony Black and Alan Dunkley. They attempted to keep order whilst two neighbours of the station kept coming in and interrupting. This year they were doing an outside broadcast from Wally's Bucket and Ladder shop on the Humberstone Road in Leicester. Tony and Alan assumed that they would be safe from interruption out there... how wrong they were! The first interrupter you will hear is grumpy old Frank the cleaner, a typical Leicester miserable bugger. The second is a small squeaky character by the name of Farmer Giles, who has an unhealthy interest in fertiliser. The bloke who shouts a lot on the jingle below is the infamous rock-jock "Cloth-Ears" Dean, a legend in his own little world....

To assist with the experience get the scratchy old seventies records out and play them between the links..... or not (It's all a bit sad really isn't it?).

The famous "Wally's Bucket and Ladder Shop"

From Boxing Day 1977

As usual, click on the crackers for the streaming audio or on the links below for "download and play" mode. Useful if you're cowering behind a firewall!

Let's start with a jingle..

A Jingle...

The intro is rather spoiled by Alan's crap joke...

Alan's joke

Into the first track from 1977, ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky". But how is the show to go on without Frank and Giles? I'm sure they'll manage somehow...

Where are Frank and Giles?

Randy Newman next with "Rider in the rain". Then, purely by chance, Frank turns up and is persuaded to be the shop's very own Father Christmas!

Oh dear, Frank turns up....

After Eric Claton and "Cocaine" we are introduced to the least-worst of the three worst Christmas records of 1977. It's The Starfighters and "Starfighter One to Starfighter Two".... and this is only the third worst!?

How crap can they get?

Tony gets a little over-excited and then Giles turns up, what a coincidence, he's got a Father Christmas suit with him....

Giles is here now, with a red suit.

After "Southbound" by Thin Lizzy Frank tries the suit on with predictable consequences but carries on like the trooper he undoubtedly is!

It's a bit tight!

We then hear Barclay James Harvest and "Friend of mine". Frank gets his first punter but he's not doing too well. Maybe his approach is a little old fashioned. Then comes the second-worst Christmas record of 1977, Jimmy Dean's "The Cowboys Prayer" re-released for no good reason at all!

Frank in full swing, and Jimmy Dean....

Following that Jimmy Dean classic the lads played Status Quo and "For you". Nothing much happened in the link apart from gagging noises after Jimmy Dean so I left it out... Now we find Giles returning and being offered the job of Fairy on the Christmas tree, which he declines...

Giles is made an offer he can refuse.

Talking Heads play "Love goes to building on fire"...? then we listen to Frank dealing with Giles' unruly nephew. More disasters ensue, Frank chases him out of the shop. Racing Cars play "Clever Girl".

Frank gets a "problem child".

Giles returns to remonstrate with Frank regarding the state of his nephew and the suit but he's still out looking for the brat. We can console ourselves by listening to a bit of the worst Christmas record of 1977, "The Trucker's Christmas" by Lee Arnold. Remember that name and if you ever see it on a record, smash it!

A Truckers' Christmas..... trucking awful!

Frank returns in a bit of a mood having been unable to catch up with Giles' nephew and chucks in his Father Christmas job. He's "just about had enough" evidently....

He's "just about had enough" again.

After Graham Parker and the Rumour play "Problem Child" for Alan, Giles decides to take over the Father Christmas position. His choice of Christmas gifts for the little kiddies is perhaps unfortunate! Fleetwood Mac play "Never Going Back Again" from Rumours, one of the biggest selling albums of the decade.

Giles steps into the breeches, bit tight though.....

The finale now. Wally returns to find his shop wrecked, his son has been given an exploding cigar by Giles and he's not too pleased. He's a large Welshman by the way.. Disaster, chaos, punch-up... situation normal at the end of a Black and Dunkley production!

It's all over at last!

Not a bucket undented.

And Finally..

The Dave "Cloth Ears" Dean DJ masterclass. Part 1, "Sound like a Jock"

Cloth Ears Dean was one of IRL's big draws (well big underpants anyway!) but hasn't had a proper job since 1976! How this qualifies him to spout forth about DJ skills beats me but he's done it anyway!

Be A Jock the Cloth Ears way!

Part Two, "how to do local radio adverts and maintain your integrity".

Let Dave guide you through the minefield of conflicting interests that surrounds the cheapo local radio ad... All done to the highest production values, listen and learn.

Dave's tasteful advert

Just to give you some idea of the heights from which this star has fallen, listen to an old show Dave did for Tower Radio (who?) in 1974. The show lasted for 45 minutes but I fell asleep after about 20....

Hear a ropey old DD prog from 1974 (well 1/2 of it...)

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