In 1999, John Peel presented a series of six documentaries tracing the previous 100 years of folk music, focusing mainly on that from the British Isles. Broadcast on BBC Radio Two, in August and September, repeated in November and December. The shows were produced by John Leonard at the Smooth Operations company and it is not known whether Peel had any input on the scripts. In the first programme he mentions that he has always had "a soft spot" for folk music, and most episodes in the series have contributions from artists previously featured in session or on record on his programmes. The fourth programme in particular includes several artists (such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span) who were played often by Peel and regularly did sessions in the 1960s and 1970s.

Early shows show the same song twice: a clip of an archive recording was played, followed by a more recent recording by a contemporary folk artist.

Pre-WW1 origins of the folk revival

(1 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-08-25, repeated 1999-11-03),

Featuring interview clips of Ashley Hutchings, John Kirkpatrick, Bob Copper, Shirley Collins.

Post-WW1 era to the 1950s

(2 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-09-01, repeated 1999-11-10).

Featuring interview clips of Billy Bragg, Bob Dylan, Wizz Jones, Peggy Seeger.

(Announcer: "Thanks very much John and a belated Happy Birthday.")

Folk club boom of the 1960s-1970s

(3 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-08-08, repeated 1999-11-17)

Featuring interview clips of Roy Bailey, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Christy Moore, Barry Dransfield, Wizz Jones, Peggy Seeger.

Folk Rock

(4 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-09-15, repeated 1999-11-24)

Featuring interview clips of Ashley Hutchings, Nanci Griffith, Simon Nicol, Joe Boyd, Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior, John Kirkpatrick.

Celtic music

(5 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-09-22, repeated 1999-12-01)

Featuring interview clips of Dolores Keane, Paul Brady, Christy Moore, Philip King, Frances Black, John McCusker, Annie Grace.

New directions in folk

(6 of 6. First broadcast: 1999-09-29, repeated 1999-12-08)

Featuring interview clips of Kathryn Tickell, Eliza Carthy, Ian Anderson, June Tabor, Kate Rusby.

See also



Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.