John Peel Wiki
BFBS Calendars
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001

Bfbs germany

Forces' Radio began during the Second World War in 1943 as a morale-boosting experiment for the troops on active service, and was renamed BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) in 1965. It is still active today.

Peel recorded weekly weekend night programmes latterly going out between 9 and 11 p.m., for the German part of the network, along with other British DJs such as Tommy Vance and Kenny Everett. (These programmes also went out on BFBS in Hong Kong until the handover to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997.) From comments made by his producer Charles Foster, it appears he started doing this in 1972 (though on his show of 29 November 1981 (BFBS) he asks Eggy Ley how long he's been doing the show, and thinks it's about five years, or maybe four) and continued until the show was summarily cancelled in 2001. [1] Nonetheless, John spoke fondly of his time on the station, claiming that it transformed his life by expanding his circle of acquaintances [1].


Pink Floyd - Interstellar Overdrive HQ

1. Pink Floyd, 'Interstellar Overdrive' (from the LP Piper At The Gates Of Dawn) (1972-1979)


Public Image Ltd.- Socialist

2. Public Image Limited, 'Socialist' (from 3x12" Metal Box) (1980-1984)


Daniel Sofer - One Hundred Speakers 1984 vinyl 12"

3. Daniel Sofer, 'Rhythm Rock Rapp' (1984-1989)


Johnny Fortune - Dragster

4. Johnny Fortune, 'Dragster' (1989-2001)

The show was originally titled "Rock Today" and lasted for 1 hour using Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" as its signature tune. In January 1980 the show gained an extra hour and was renamed "John Peel's Music On BFBS", although it lost this extra hour for a period during the mid to late 1980s (i.e. from September 1984 to June 1989). The signature tune was also updated, to PiL's "Socialist" with their "Careering" closing the show. The signature tune was updated once again when the shows reverted to one hour on 30th September 1984 to Daniel Sofer's "Rhythm Rock Rapp".[2] From the 1st July 1989 until the end of the programmes' run, John's sig was 'Dragster' by Johnny Fortune (the single was later found in John Peel's Record Box) and the programme regained its second hour.

Peel admitted that no records were available of the early years and was unsure of how long the programme had been on the air (or even what the original name was).

Charles Foster produced the programmes "on and off" [3] from 1984 onwards (even though they occasionally disagreed about John's choice of music [4]), and Peel also frequently consults a recording engineer (possibly Denis O'Keeffe). [5]

One facet of these shows (aside from the lack of sessions, only played when they had been officially released, as in the notorious set by Die Toten Hosen) marked them out from others in his entire output: he sporadically interposed excerpts (presumably written by him) from stories written in a kind of cod noir thriller style which invariably ended up with some reference to his shows. This was gradually dropped when he began making programmes from home.

Also uniquely for his overseas shows, he included, following a listener request, a potted version of the 1995 Festive Fifty in his 30 December 1995 (BFBS) and 07 January 1996 (BFBS) programmes. By this time, he had begun to record some of his Radio 1 material at Peel Acres, and by August 1997 was strongly suggesting to BFBS listeners that the same thing might be possible. The first such show went out on 11 September 1997 (BFBS). In December 1997, when due to circumstances detailed by him on 08 January 1998 (BFBS), one was repeated and on another date (18 December 1997 (BFBS)) Foster presented an 'Unpeeled' show of concert repeats. BBC Radio One colleague and Rock Show presenter Claire Sturgess also sat in for him on occasions (e.g. 05 November 2000 (BFBS)).

Despite comments indicating the existence of special request shows, long-time listener and prolific taper Dirk notes: "there never were 'special request' editions per se on BFBS: what happened in fact was that he would 'collect' requests for a few weeks, due to various reasons (mostly because he simply forgot the bag with the requested records he had picked at home and/or he didn't find the time to search his shelves from one programme to the next). This would lead to the fact that occasionally one programme had more requests than the next one .... but this was never intentional." Despite this, John did refer to request shows, for example apologising that 31 May 1980 (BFBS) wasn't a request show as planned due to him leaving the requests at home.

JP cavilled at the fact that he received little or no feedback concerning his shows from the military, for whom the programmes were primarily intended, but had a large fanbase of civilians. (He recounted one story of a sole fan on an aircraft carrier during the Falklands conflict who was given BFBS tapes to avoid the shows being played on the tannoy. [2]) In addition, Peel Mailing Listuser Maartens has less than fond memories of his listening experiences:

"They went out on Friday or Saturday, late at night and were repeated very early on a Tuesday morning. BFBS was quite sloppy, playing the wrong tapes or when something went wrong at the start. Or play the second hour first."

Shows Available[]

Please refer to the Calendar pages above


'Peel' Series[]

This is a collection of 300 files taped by Dirk over a period extending from 1984 to the end of the show's run and provideded valuable insights into a period hitherto unavailable. These files are pause-button edits, tailored to the taper's individual tastes (there is no reggae for example). It was not possible to date the first 26 files beyond a vague indication of month and year. From Peel 027 (BFBS) onwards, owing to on-air clues and notes on the original tapes (which were subsequently transferred to a spreadsheet), a carbon dating system has been attempted based on the assumption that the shows were first TX on a Thursday and repeated the following Tuesday (from 1986-10-26, the first airing of the show seems to have moved to the weekend, if the data supplied with Peel 043 (BFBS) and Maartens' recollections are accurate). (though see below). 1987 files have been dated according to John's comments in Peel 055 (BFBS), with first TX being on Friday night between 10 and 12 and a repeat very late on Sunday night / Monday morning.

However, lacking any further information, this is at best tentative and should be regarded as an indication rather than a blueprint for show dates (especially given the station's cavalier attitude to the programmes). The continuing Eddie Berlin series will eventually help date the earlier tapes. By 1999, there was usually a one week gap between recording and TX, but this may well have been longer in the earlier days of the show's life, and there were often unscheduled repeats for no specific reason.

Carsten from Berlin[]

Main article: Carsten Tapes

  • This is a collection of around 210 hours worth of material from BFBS 1995-2001 (plus a couple from Radio Eins) shared by Peel fan Carsten from Berlin. These were sent to So-It-Goes in 2010 and rationed as treats, and the final one to be uploaded was in 2016.


Main article: Max-dat Tapes

  • This is a sizeable collection of shows covering the period 1991-1995 uploaded to the Mooo Server by Maximilian in 2010 and 2015.

Eddie Berlin Tapes[]

  • An extensive and largely complete collection of tracklistings and tapes for shows between 1979 and 1994 from regular correspondent Eddie. This project is ongoing so please check back regularly for new shows. So far up to March 1986 has been shared (as of January 2024). With time these tracklistings will confirm or correct the Dirk series above.
  • From the dates available, it seems that on BFBS Germany, were broadcast as follows:
  • 1979 - Saturday.
  • Jan-Feb 1980 - Saturday repeated Wednesday.
  • Mar-1980-3rd Jan 1981 - Saturday repeated Thursday.
  • 11th Jan 1981-Dec 1981 - Sunday repeated Thursday.
  • 1982 - 10th August 1983 - Sunday repeated Wednesday.
  • 14th August 1983 until 28th July 1984 - Saturday repeated Wednesday.
  • 19th August until 9th September 1984 - Sunday
  • 5th-19th November 1984 - Monday
  • 30th December 1984 - 13th September 1985 - Sunday
  • 1st July - 9th September 1985 - Monday
  • 1986 - Saturday repeated Thursday
  • 1989 - recorded dates 01.01.1989 (Sunday)
  • 07.01.1989 – 25.02.1989 (Saturdays)
  • 07.03.1989 (Tuesday, sic!)
  • 11.03.1989 – 25.03.1989 (Saturdays)
  • 05.04.1989 – 28.06.1989 (Wednesdays)
  • 01.07.1989 (Saturday)
  • 12.07.1989 (Wednesday)
  • 15.07.1989 - 31.12.1989 (Saturdays)
  • Dating is always fraught. One reason for the frequent changes is that the broadcast time was sometimes after midnight so would be allocated to the following day by some listeners. It was broadcast on different days in different parts of the world, and there are repeats to consider too!

Del Tapes[]

  • Another set of complete shows recorded from Berlin, currently being shared via Facebook. Shows from 1979. So far these are a duplicate of the Eddie tapes.



  1. JP was somewhat bitter at the fact that the occasion was not marked in any way by BFBS, considering the length of time he had been doing the show (see comment on 23 October 2002, for example). Moreover, Carsten remembers that John was not even told about the cancellation.
  2. Many thanks to BFBS listeners Eddie {a devoted listener to Peel's BFBS shows and a regular correspondent (Peel often referred to Eddie's letters and postcards)} and 1066 for this information.
  3. Peel mentions a "guest producer" named Lawrence in Peel 043 (BFBS), another called Simon in Peel 045 (BFBS), and yet one more called Richard (Peel 077 (BFBS)).
  4. See Peel 004 (BFBS).
  5. For example, in 29 April 1995 (BFBS).