Welsh Rarebit (radio programme)

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Welsh Rarebit was a radio variety show broadcast from Cardiff by the BBC between February 1940 and December 1952. The title was taken from that of the Welsh dish of the same name. The show's most lasting legacy remains its closing song, We'll Keep a Welcome (in the Hillsides).

Billed as "a programme of variety and topicalities", it began life as a monthly 30-minute feature in the BBC's wartime Forces Programme, and was designed for the entertainment of armed forces personnel, in particular for those whose home was in Wales, but quickly became popular generally, and from June 1941 – when production was taken over by Mai Jones, who was also responsible for such other entertainment shows as Saturday StarlightWelsh Rarebit also featured from time to time in the schedules of the BBC Home Service.

Although chiefly a variety show, the programme also included such regular features as Eynon Evans playing "Tommy Troubles" and Dai's Letter to the Forces, a sentimental reflection of life in Wales read by Lyn Joshua.[1]

Welsh Rarebit featured a host of Welsh entertainers, many of whom became household names; regulars included Wyn Calvin, Maudie Edwards, Eynon Evans, Vera Meazey, Gladys Morgan, Ossie Morris, Harry Secombe, Stan Stennett, and Albert and Les Ward.[1] At its peak the programme attracted 12 million listeners and remains one of the most popular entertainment shows to have been produced from Wales.[2]

The wartime programmes came to an end in December 1944, but Welsh Rarebit returned on Saint David's Day 1948 in the BBC Light Programme and ran (now as an hour-long weekly show) from then until July 1951,[1] with a final "Christmas Special" edition being broadcast in December 1952.

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. 
  2. ^ Dan O'Neill (20 July 2010). "Welsh Rarebit, radio hit to remember". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 7 June 2011.