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Offshore Radio on the Big (and Small) Screen


Arena (BBC2) - Caroline 199: A Pirates Tale

Arena  is a documentary series focusing on the arts and entertainment which has been  broadcast by the BBC  since October 1975

This episode is about the story of Radio Caroline which led to an explosion of popular music in the 1960’s and the opening up of the airwaves. It shows how Ronan O'Rahilly, desperate at the lack of airtime on existing radio stations to hear the new emerging music, came up with a plan to anchor a ship in international waters and broadcast pop and rock into the UK - in defiance of the authorities.

Featuring contributions from  Simon Dee, Mickie Most, Ronan O'Rahilly, Jocelyn Stevens and Ian Ross


Producer - Ultan Guilfoyle

Cinematography -  George Tiffin  

Film Editing - Nigel Finch


First Transmitted (UK) - 1st March 1991

Running time - 30 minutes


Offshore Radio Connection

The programme was made by Bob Geldoff's film company Planet Pictures for BBC 2's Arena programme.

Three days before its broadcast, the producers were contacted by the legal department of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), warning them that they could be committing an offence.

The BBC bowed to pressure and some cuts were made to the programme’s footage.

Clip from Caroline 199: A Pirates Tale

© BBC

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