BBC Transcription Service
BBC Transcription Service : The department which came into being in the Thirties following the advent of the Empire Service to package and sell BBC Radio programmes to overseas broadcasters who subscribed to the Service.
Administratively it was part of the General Overseas Service, but programmatically closely allied to the Domestic output. All programme streams were represented in its output: Light Music, Serious Music, Rock and Pop, Drama, Religious, Children’s Programmes, Talks, etc, each having a producer to select from the domestic output or (particularly in the various music spheres) to record specifically, usually from British prestigious musical events and festivals.
Because the subscribers had demanded material in stereo, TS was the first to go stereo and this laid the foundation for it “doing its own thing” as a separate operation at major musical events such as at the Promenade Concerts. TS Rights to performances were “permanent”, allowing it to develop an impressive catalogue. Many domestic broadcasts which had been scrapped are still in the TS catalogue; this has allowed for instance, the finding of many of the old Goon Shows.
Programmes were cut on disc by one of the two disc channels at TS, the lacquers cut at TS plus their printed labels going to Nimbus for a short (100) press run - originally 78s, then 33rpm LPs, as disc reproducers were the common equipment found in all subscribers’ studios, be they a shack in the bush or a high tech. American station. The discs all had the same appearance and were accompanied by the appropriate Catalogue Pages which acted as “sleeve notes” and verbatim script if it was “presented”.
Because of the permanence of the catalogue, the date of recording was slightly disguised by, for instance, recordings be issued from The 46th Edinburgh Festival rather than the year. Now on CD. Originally housed in a retired convent, St. Hilda's, at the back of the Maida Vale studio complex, it relocated to Kensington House on the south side of Shepherd’s Bush Green in 1962?, thence in the 90s to part of the SE Wing of Bush House.