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BBC’s memory radio takes you back to the best news and No. 1 hits of decades gone by

BBC’s memory radio takes you back to the best news and No. 1 hits of decades gone by

What is memory radio?

BBC Memory Radio, hosted by the BBC, offers an immersive experience of days gone by. It features specially selected content from the BBC Radio Archives, decade by decade (1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s).
Each recording has been specially designed to create an audio experience for people living with dementia. (The programmes have been developed using focus groups, involving dementia experts and professional carers.) Each programme is also accompanied by a downloadable activity sheet containing conversation topics, further information and quizzes.

These programmes are available on Alexa devices. To find them, just say ‘Alexa, ask the BBC for Memory Radio’.

There is thought to be a strong correlation between overall wellbeing and musical activities for those living with dementia. To read more about how music can help, see our page on music, the arts, and dementia.

So settle back and listen to the programmes and be transported to some of the best moments of the BBC Archives in past decades. 

A snapshot of UK radio throughout the decades

Click here to listen to 1940s Memory Radio. It starts with a snippet of ‘In the Mood’ with Glenn Miller. Included in the recording are the voices of Winston Churchill, the then Princess Elisabeth, and programmes such as ITMA and the Billy Cotton Bandshow. The programme is 1 hr 29 mins

Press a button and click to hear 1950s Memory Radio. It starts with a big hit movie and its classic music track, ‘Listen with Mother’ and Nat King Cole. The programme is 1 hr 22 mins.

Grab a tea/coffee and tune into 1960s Memory Radio. It starts with a snippet of the Shadows playing Apache, the Easybeat pop programme with Brian Matthews and the Drifters.

The programme is 1 hr 25 mins.

You can also listen to a special compilation covering the South East Region 1960s Memory Radio starting with the Shadows playing their No. 1 smash hit Apache, the landmark court trial concerning the book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and ‘Save the last dance for me’ by the Drifters.

Click on this link to play 1970s Memory Radio. Space hoppers and spangles, Top of the Pops, Miss World Beauty contest and much more. The programme is 1 hr 34 mins.

Bring a smile to your face and hear about the Rubic’s Cube, the Young Ones and the Trade Union Solidarity in 1980s Memory Radio.
The programme is 1 hr and 32 mins.

Click here to listen to the 1990s Memory Radio. Be reminded of Nelson Mandela being released from prison after 27 years, Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, and the film Beauty and the Beast. The programme is 1 hr 30 mins.

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