I'm interested to know, did you speak on that show? and what was it like?
At the time I worked at BBC Radio Sussex on the 'youth show' Turn It Up (same show as mentioned in Jo Whiley's profile on this site). Three of us asked to sit on a Peel show and he said ok. His studio was in Egton House (now demolished). Funny sort of pre-fab looking building with very cramped corridors and offices (at least that's my memory of it). On the way to the studio Peely took us past a session tapes room which was crammed with reel to reels. I was surprised it wan't kept locked.
When we got in the studio he told us that watching radio shows was pretty boring and we'd soon be counting the ceiling tiles. I don't remember any of the records he played - apart from the repeat of the Can session. I looked at the playlist on your site but it didn't jog any memories. We just sat on this low couch and marvelled at the spectacle of fully funded network radio. He didn't talk to us that much during the show. And - no - we didn't say anything on air.... although I was quite surprised that he never gave any notice when the mic went on so I suppose there could have been an inadvertant half second of off-mic chat.
Afterwards we went underneath a tunnel which led to BH. When we got outside someone was there waiting with a cassette tape for him which he was happy to receive. He asked if we wanted to go for a curry with him - but it was past midnight by this time and we had to drive back to Brighton. Regrets about that.
I suppose it was just another show to him and we were just another trio of 'fans'. He didn't seem particularly engaged witht the show that night but he was friendly enough to us. When I mentioned that my father was a listener he got quite animated and said that he told management that he had a broader audience than was supposed but they didn't believe him.
My father taped Peel shows for over 20 years. Sadly - he used to edit the great man out as he was only interested in the music.
The time I really enjoyed Peel myself was 76/77/78 era when I listened most nights and taped it. I dug the reggae and punk/post punk mainly.
I bumped into Peel at a Head of David gig at the Zap Club Brighton sometime late '80s but I don't think he remembered me (hardly surprising). Then I saw him at Camber Sands ATP 2000 I think it was.
The saddest time I saw him was when he was in Brighton for some R1 event and he was walking 'round town surrounded by a crowd of teenage boys. I was working in a record shop by then and he stood in the threshold where we had a box of cheap vinyl and he vaguely thumbed through it. To be honest - he didn't look very well. I waved at him and smiled but didn't go and talk to him and he didn't come any further into the shop and just sort of drifted away. I thought he looked tired. I don't remember the exact year but possibly 2003, something like that. Another regret. As the Butthole Surfers said - it's best to regret something you did do rather than something you didn't.
A bit later on when I got back into local radio in Brighton The Shend did (still does) a show on the internet station I worked for (Totallyradio). He sat in on Peel shows in the 2000s and in fact I have some recordings of him which I inserted into two Peel tribute shows I recorded a few years back. When I told Shend about them he wasn't interested as he found the whole Peel demise extremely sad and depressing.
I'm curious to know what did you mean by 'He didn't seem particularly engaged with the show that night but he was friendly enough to us'.
Oh just a minor thing .... I thought he seemed just a bit distant and perhaps had his mind on other things. (Bearing in mind it's 31 years ago so memory possibly at fault). I remember trying to talk to him about the Can session but he didn't have anything to say on the matter. I was a big Can fan at the time. Maybe I was slightly put out that he didn't have a Can anecdote to relate.
Doing a lot of shows can be a conveyor belt at times. Especially if it's a one man effort. I did radio for 30 years, sometimes 10 shows a week... and trying to keep going with lack of interest from management, low wages, late nights and trying to find good new music to fill wasn't always easy. I found my enthusiasm would sometimes temporarily dip.... (without comparing myself to the genius of Peel I hasten to add, I've just seen a bit of what it's like).
As I say - he was very nice to us. He hooted with laughter when I mentioned a friend of mine was in the prog band Wally (a band produced by Bob Harris at one point in the early '70s). That seemed to tickle him.
If you live in London, you could request the British Library to listen to the 15 July 1986 show and it would be available to listen at the place. They don't charge money for it, but you have to be a member of the British Library, which they don't charge for. In other words it is free. They just ask for ID's like driving licence, debit card, etc.. and what will you be using the library for, to prove that you are a resident in the UK.