Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini (27 March 1908 – 19 January 1990) known by his stage name Alberto Semprini, or Semprini, was an English pianist, composer and conductor, known for his appearances on the BBC, mainly on radio.
Born in Bath, Somerset, England, of Italian ancestry, Semprini showed early talent for both the piano and cello. He graduated from the Verdi Conservatory in Milan in 1928, having studied composition and conducting as well as honing his skills at the piano. He hosted a light music programme, Semprini Serenade, which he introduced with the words: "Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones". The program first aired on BBC Radio in 1957 and continued for around 25 years. Although his 'house band' was the New Abbey Light Symphony Orchestra on his commercial records, on radio he was always accompanied by one of the BBC's own staff orchestras – initially the BBC Revue Orchestra.
Semprini also wrote a number of original compositions on the lighter side of the musical repertoire, including Mediterranean Concerto, which he used as the theme tune for his radio show.
In the Monty Python's Flying Circus segment known as The Chemist Sketch, the BBC allegedly interrupted the show to ban a number of "naughty" words, including "bum," "botty," and "wee-wee." The final prohibited word, a puzzling and random addition to the list, was "Semprini". Immediately when the action resumed, John Cleese used "Semprini" in an odd context and was taken away by policemen. For the rest of the episode, anyone saying "Semprini" was similarly arrested.
- This is Your Life (UK): Alberto Semprini Episode Summary. TV.com (20 April 1979). Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
- Alberto Semprini. Oxforddnb.com. Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
- "Semprini Serenade". Radio Days. Whirligig. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Chemist Sketch / Words Not to be Used Again
Voice Over: The BBC would like to apologize for the poor quality of the writing in that sketch. It is not BBC policy to get easy laughs with words like bum, knickers, botty or wee-wees. (laughs off camera) Ssssh!
BBC Man: These are the words that are not to be used again on this programme.
B*M B*TTY P*X KN*CKERS KN*CKERS W**-W** SEMPRINI
BBC Man: (pointing) Out!
(Cut back to the chemist's shop. The chemist appears again.)
Chemist: Right, who's got a boil on his Semprini, then?
(A policeman appears and bundles him off.)
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