Housewives' Choice

"Housewives' Choice" was a BBC radio record request programme broadcast every morning from 1946 to 1967 on the BBC Light Programme. It played a wide range of (mostly popular) music designed to appeal to housewives at home during the day. Like many other BBC radio shows in the era of very limited broadcasting competition, it achieved massive audiences, and is very closely identified in the public mind with its era.

The distinctive theme music was "In A Party Mood" by Jack Strachey. This music (much like "Puffing Billy", the theme to Children's Favourites) has latterly been used frequently in other media as a signifier for "1950s Middle England", for example in a number of TV adverts and in The Comic Strip's parodies of The Famous Five, "Five Go Mad in Dorset" and "Five Go Mad on Mescalin".

It had a different presenter (often referred to at the time as a compere) every week. Among those who returned most often was George Elrick, who sang his own lyrics over the theme music, beginning with "Dooodle-dum-de- doodle- dum" and ending with "I'll be with you all again tomorrow morning". [ [ Obituary: George Elrick] , The Independent, Dec 17, 1999 Denis Gifford. ]

The programme finished when the Light Programme was replaced by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 in 1967. Its short-lived successor, "Family Choice", went out on both Radios 1 and 2, but had itself been discontinued by 1970.

In 1982 a radio series called "When Housewives Had The Choice?", with Russell Davies, Maureen Lipman and Julie Covington, looked back over the "Housewives' Choice" years, and a spin-off album of the most frequently requested tunes was released.

This 1980s radio show also produced a full set of lyrics to the original housewives choice theme tune sung by Julie Covington. The lyrics contrasted the austere life of a housewife in the nineteen forties to that of the affluent nineteen eighties.


* [ Lyrics to the nineteen eighties theme.] Accessed September 2008.

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