- Our little group had gathered before the concert in the General Scott Room. Alan and I were the first to arrive. As the other guests checked in, we noticed how suave and cultured they all were and how prone they were to inviting each other to pop in and see them next time they were in Oxford. Alan is in television and can switch on suave and cultured whenever he likes. As the room filled, I could catch him saying, "Ah yes, I worked with Humphrey in the seventies", before going on to tell some tale that had his audience guffawing appreciatively. (JP describing a visit to a Proms concert as part of a BBC party in Radio Times, 12-18 August 1995, quoted in "Sock Syndrome", The Olivetti Chronicles, pp. 278-279)
Alan Ravenscroft (born: 1946) is John Peel's younger brother along with Francis. He is best known to Peel listeners as the family member who appeared most frequently in Peel's anecdotes of family life before he married Sheila Gilhooly and founded a family of his own. During Peel's Radio London programmes he often refers to his brother Alan, whether in connection with memories of an idyllic country childhood (18 July 1967) or the present; we learn that Alan was living in Chelsea, off the King's Road (17 July 1967) and that he lent his brother John a scratchy copy of Donovan's "Fairytale" LP to play on the Perfumed Garden (06 August 1967).
Earlier, Peel had sent the group he had discovered in Calfornia, The Misunderstood, to London in the belief that they would find it easier to achieve fame and audience attention in Britain. As Sheila Ravenscroft narrates in Margrave of the Marshes (pp.221-222), the band turned up quite unexpectedly on his mother's doorstep, Peel having omitted to notify her of their arrival, and it was Alan, then living in the same house, who was able to find them a manager and useful contacts in the music scene.
Peel had recently returned from the United States when he began his Radio London career and, with few contacts in "Swinging London", he obviously appreciated the support of his relatives - particularly his mother and his brother Alan, who continued to be receive mentions on Peel's BBC programmes long after he had established himself on Radio One.
Alan Ravenscroft also gained some public attention when he delivered a memorial speech at Peel's funeral. Yet he has enjoyed a prolific and successful career in television since the early 1970s, with the BFI FIlm and TV Database listing 123 directorial credits and 37 programmes he has produced. These cover a wide variety of subjects and genres, and include a stint as director of the influential London Weekend Television current affairs programme Weekend World in the mid-1970s (the "Humphrey" mentioned in the above extract is probably the arts programme-maker Humphrey Burton, also working at LWT at the time).
His filmography does not include much that is music-related, although in 1983 he produced an edition of BBC2's Late Night In Concert featuring former Peel favourites the Steve Miller Band. More recently, as Head of Production at Eagle Rock Productions he has overseen a number of music films, including two on the work of the Doors. His voice, which resembles Peel's but has retained more of a public school accent, can be heard in the documentary film The Beatles: From Liverpool To San Francisco, which he narrates.
Mentioned In Shows
- 17 July 1967: (JP: "My brother Alan lives off the King's Road, opposite the Chelsea Potter... he goes with friends to Elvis Presley films and guffaws.")
- 28 April 1968: Peel says his brother Alan, got married last Friday to a lady named Frances and mentions he was the photographer at the wedding and thinks the photos maybe the worst taken.
- 17 March 1980: Peel mentions that his brother Alan had once visited Sydney in Australia - "Didn't like it very much though."
- 18 March 1980: John recounts the "humiliating experience" of having to ring around in the evening to find a place to stay after finishing his programme. He claims, "my brother Alan only lives a mile away [and] has now taken to leaving the phone off the hook between the hours of 8 and midnight."
- 09 April 1980: After Chords song ‘Happy Families’, Peel reveals that his brother Alan is coming to stay for six weeks – "We’ve hidden all the silver, mind you."
- 25 March 1981: Peel's brother Alan is in the studio with him.
- 05 June 1985: Peel mentioned that his brother Alan thought at breakfast that he buys second hand clothes, which Peel denies saying that clothes he buys may look second hand, but are not.
- 02 September 1985: Peel mentions the Titanic was found last week and says his brother Alan, has an interest in the British passenger liner that sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- 21 January 1987: Peel mentions that his brother Alan bought a CD player and says embarrassingly that the first CD his brother bought to play it comes from Elaine Paige.
- 26 July 1988: Peel mentions that his brother Alan came back from Botswana and bought four records for him from that country.
- 27 July 1988: John plays some music from records brought back from Botswana by his brother Alan.
- 07 February 1989: Peel mentions telephoning his brother Alan, whether he's got a room to stay in, after his mother told him that there is no room to stay tonight, because she's got someone staying overnight in her apartment.
- Peel 111 (BFBS): In a rambling anecdote involving LL Cool J, Peel refers to an intimate area of the male body, "what my brother Alan referred to as his sub-navel delights."
- 03 November 1990: Peel mentions lending a John Fahey LP to his brother, Alan, who lost it, but was forgiven, when he found the record again
- 30 August 1991 (BFBS): (Peel talks about his son William missing Twin Peaks and brother Alan's obsession with Elvis Presley movies)
- 17 April 1993: "They (Röövel Ööbik) were here for a week and they stayed with my brother Alan and stayed here for a week and recorded the session but then couldn't get a bus back again, so stayed in London for another couple of weeks.... but got very homesick. I suspect one of them may well have lost his job, as a consequence of being away for that length of time."
- 30 April 2002: A listener tells JP by email that he finds it hard to explain Peel’s role in The Things We Do For Love (TV series). Peel says his brother Alan produced it and it would have been "churlish and unbrotherly" not to have done it when asked.
- 17 December 2002: A listener whose birthday it is complains about family members sending him a multi-purpose combined birthday and Christmas card. Peel mentions that it is his brother Alan's birthday the next day. "I'll check with him whether he gets Christmas / birthday presents and cards all in one. I suspect he probably does and it must be very irritating indeed."