A documentary called Electric Music Machine I found on youtube. I found some information on it a while ago (when I first started this post) but I can’t find the source anymore…
This fly-on-the-wall documentary about five days in the life of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop has a slightly odd history. It was conceived not as a broadcast programme, but as a straight-to-video release, and was originally titled “Opus 10259″ (because the Workshop had worked on 10,259 projects by that point).
Filming took place in early 1985, but then the idea of releasing it as a sell-through video was dropped. Everything went quiet for three years, and then, after some extra filming in late 1987 (the Richard Attree segments), the programme finally saw the light of day on BBC-2 at 3.05pm on Tuesday 29th March 1988 to celebrate the Workshop’s 30th anniversary. To date, that is its one and only transmission.
It’s a nice little narration-free doco that does an excellent job of presenting a snapshot of the work that was going on in the Workshop at a time when the “traditional” methods of manipulating sounds using reels of tape were beginning to be supplanted by new technologies like MIDI.
Just so that the Who fans aren’t unduly disappointed, I should point out that this documentary about the Workshop is possibly unique in that it doesn’t make any mention of Doctor Who whatsoever, although the piece that Peter Howell is seen to be working on – for a Newsnight special called “D-Day To Berlin” – sounds an awful lot like mid-80s Doctor Who incidental music, at least in its early stages.
It’s been split into five parts on youtube: