"I was always singing along to the records on our radiogram, and to the songs Uncle Mac played on Saturday morning and Family Favourites on Sunday."
Radiogram viewed from the top
Creative Commons AttributionRadiogram viewed from the top - Credit: Teddlesruss

Radiograms were a popular piece of furniture and source of entertainment in the 1950s. As the name suggests, a radiogram combined a valve radio with a gramophone (record player) that could usually play discs at three speeds - 78rpm (revolutions per minute) for the old-fashioned and brittle shellac records with one song each side, generally known as 78s; the recently-introduced smaller vinyl discs playing at 45rpm, which were either singles (one song each side) or EPs (Extended Plays, with 2 or 3 songs each side); and LPs (Long Players), which were albums of 12 to 20 songs played at 33⅓rpm. By the late 1950s most radiograms boasted an auto-record changer, which could allow up to half a dozen records to be stacked on a spindle and dropped sequentially onto the revolving turntable to play one after another.


Children's Favourites was a popular radio record show broadcast on the BBC Light Programme on Saturday mornings from 1954 to 1967. For most of that time it was presented by the avuncular Derek McCulloch, self-styled Uncle Mac, who generally introduced the programme with a velvety "Hello children, everywhere."

The nostalgia site Radio Days has a long list of favourite song titles from the programme. Author David Williams has picked out his own selection which you can hear below via Spotify.

Little Red Monkey by Rosemary Clooney

The Laughing Policeman by Charles Penrose

Sparky's Magic Piano by Henry Blair

Nellie the Elephant by Mandy Miller

The Ugly Duckling by Danny Kaye

Tubby the Tuba by Danny Kaye

Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzellen Bogen by the Sea by Max Bygraves

The Happy Wanderer by The Obenkirchen Children's Choir

You're a Pink Toothbrush by Max Bygraves

When You Come to the End of a Lollipop by Max Bygraves

The Runaway Train by Vernon Delhart

I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat by Mel Blanc

The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Burl Ives

How Much is that Doggy in the Window? by Patti Page

A Four-Legged Friend by Roy Rogers

The Deadwood Stage by Doris Day

The Black Hills of Dakota by Doris Day

My Old Man's a Dustman by Lonnie Donegan

Little White Bull by Tommy Steele

A Hole in the Bucket by Harry Belafonte and Odetta

Click on the radio to hear the theme tune of Children's Favourites, which was called Puffing Billy.

 For grown-ups on Sunday lunchtimes, the BBC broadcast a radio request show, originally for British forces serving in Germany under the name of Forces Favourites, but later known as Family Favourites. The programme had an audience of 16 million in Britain alone at its peak.

Family Favourites presenters
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumFamily Favourites presenters - Credit: Terry Guntrip

The programme's memorable opening line each week was:  "The time in Britain is twelve noon, in Germany it's two o' clock, but home and away it's time for Two-Way Family Favourites."

The show had many presenters over the years, with the best-remembered being Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore, who met on the programme and subsequently married, though not until Michelmore had left the radio show for an even more celebrated career presenting the Tonight programme for BBC Television (see bookmark p.145).

Listen to the Family Favourites' opening theme tune, an orchestral version of With a Song in my Heart.