Unlike the accepted view that Anne and Webster were losing popularity because of the rise of American entertainers and rock ‘n roll, they still had plenty of work from 1953 to 1956. Through no fault of their own they were struggling with the Inland Revenue so decided to move to South Africa in July of 1956.

18 February 1953 Ash Wednesday.
Elected Joint presidents of Concert Artistes’ Association.

Webster Booth was the guest of Roy Plomley on Desert Island Discs on the BBC Home Service on 3 April 1953.


Opening of Desert Island Discs script. Sadly the recording is not available on the BBC webpage.
11 April 1953 – hardly something to commend him!

Anne as Mistress Knight and Webster as King Charles II in And So to Bed.

24 April 1953 – a poor crit for And so to Bed
in Coventry.
Diamond Wedding anniversary of Anne’s parents April 1953.
Anne and Webster went on an extensive tour of And So to Bed in the midst of many other commitments, particularly Merrie England in the Coronation Year.
Booths sing in concert version of Merrie England in Calgary on May 9 1953.
Merrie England at Luton Hoo with Douglas Fairbanks Junior

Merrie England at Luton Hoo.
CAA dinner 1953 Anne and Webster as presidents.
Advert – 1954

8 April 1954
15 April 1954

30 April 1954
16 May 1954

May 1954
Hiawatha concert had been cancelled for lack of interest. It was replaced by an extract from Aida.

21 September 1954 – Attack of Shingles. Far from “staying indoors for four or five days,” the pain troubled him periodically for many years to come.

28 October 1954
24 November 1954 – Victoria Congregational Church, Derby from Webster’s score.
15 December 1954

Webster’s score 10 December 1954
31 December 1954
I do not know whether Webster and Anne had any singing pupils in the UK.

27 May 1955 Gilbert and Sullivan concert.
29 April 1955 – Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert.
24 June 1955 – St Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow.
27 July 1955. Anne and Webster were presented to Princess Alexandra.

13 August 1955 Promenade Concert.
13 October 1955 Lady Audley’s Secret.
25 October 1955
November 1955 0n the way to South Africa for tour of Cape Province.

12 December 1955 – Arriving back in the UK again.

15 December 1955 Messiah, Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Town Hall

Return to South Africa for a further tour.

2 February 1956 Crit by Dora L. Sowden in Rand Daily Mail.

On “platteland tour”. Having tea in Bethal with accompanist, Arthur Tatler.
27 June 1956

Passenger List, Pretoria Castle – 12 July 1956.

On board the Pretoria Castle, 12 July 1956.

Signing the menu on board ship.
15 August 1956


The Booth’s joint autobiography was published in 1951 and is now long out of print. I digitised the book several years ago and John Marwood was kind enough to proofread it for me. It is now available in paperback and as an epub at:

30 March 1952 – Merely Players at Drury Lane
23 March 1951
April 1951
May 1951 from a talk on the BBC.
HIAWATHA – Croydon – 31 May 1951
11 July 1951
12 July 1951
3 August 1951, Webster and Anne with accompanist, Geoffrey Parsons. Unfortunately the photo is very poor but the only one I could find of them together. Geoffrey Parsons went on to be the natural successor to Gerald Moore.
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15 September 1951 – Blackburn
From Webster’s score – 20 October 1951

Duet – first published on `15 September 1951 by Stanley Paul.

The Booth’s joint autobiography was published in 1951 and is now long out of print. I digitised the book several years ago and John Marwood was kind enough to proofread it for me. It is now available in paperback and as an epub at:

16 October 1951.

Webster’s voice was heard twice – dubbed in a scene from Yeomen of the Guard and at the end, singing an echoey version of A Wand’ring Minstrel. He was not very pleased with his billing in the film.

22 January 1952

Creation 29 April 1952 – Sir Malcolm’s birthday.
May 1952 – Anne and Webster featured in an article in the magazine.
Photo in the John Bull article. Anne and Webster with Smokey.
22 June 1952
Anne in Merrie England at Chichester.
21 August 1952
27 October 1952

26 December 1952 – Warwick Castle. Webster’s second cousin, Trevor Luckcuck and a friend cycled to the event from their home in Solihull.


Webster comes in with Lemon, wearing his white sports jacket and they decide to hear the two aspirants. Peter goes in first and I talk to Lucille Ackerman. Peter is accepted and will start on 6 January. Lucille sings Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life. She has a fantastic voice. She is 19. All her family arrive and intend to sit and talk about the glories of Lucille. However, Anne remembers me and tells them that she’ll have to ask them to go as, “The poor child has been waiting an hour for her lesson.”

1 December – Work. At night have rather dull evening at guild but I have to go because of playing the hymns. I tell everyone about the SABC choir and act vivaciously!

2 December – Work in the morning. Have a quiet afternoon. Spargos, Strattons and Fred Shaw visit at night and we have fun. I sing solos, and duets with Mr Stratton.

3 December – Sunday school. Diamonds come in the afternoon and have tea in the manse at night.

4 December – Work. At night I go to the SABC and we have a lovely rehearsal. I look around for Ruth Ormond but don’t think she’s here.

5 December – Go for music lesson and meet Gill V. there. Poor Mrs S is very cut up about the death of her mother.

7 December Work. Have lunch with mum in Ansteys. Go to studio after work and Webster answers the door looking fit. Nellie is as bad as ever.

When I go in I ask Webster how he enjoyed Durban and PE. He says he had a wonderful time but was furious that the SABC didn’t broadcast The Dream or Messiah but they put on an Afrikaans Messiah on Sunday which was grim and very poorly done. Handel must have been turning in his grave, says he. “That damned Anton Hartman,” he adds.

I make tea for myself and pay Anne before starting on exercises and scales. In the middle of the vocalisation exercise the phone rings. It is Mum to tell me to meet Dad outside the studio to get a lift home. It is the first time I am in their little office and see all the playbills with their names 50” high and wide!

We go on with the songs and they cannot decide where the grace note in Polly Oliver should go so they take the book home to check up on it.

We do My Mother.. and Webster sings it with me to get the accompaniment right. His singing is more wonderful than ever. Imagine singing with the best tenor in the world (which is what I know he is!)

I depart with Webster in the lift. He moans at me about the SABC not broadcasting the PE oratorios. He says Anton Hartman put his own wife into the Afrikaans Messiah and the bass was putrid with a limited range. At least Gary Allighan stuck up for him.

He stands with me in Pritchard street for a little while and asks if I’ll be all right. I insist I shall so he says goodbye and walks purposefully off to fetch his car. While I’m waiting for Dad Anne comes down and we talk about how lackadaisical the choir is. She decides it’s going to rain so she dashes to the other side of the road. Dad arrives on the other side too so I wave at her and depart.

Go to SABC choir and we record the carol concert for Christmas day. There is a huge crowd there, including Annie Kossman, leader of the orchestra. I sit near Gill V and we sing for all our worth. A photographer takes a number of photographs and Johan conducts beautifully and all is glorious.

At our tea break I look around for Ruth O. See a likely-looking girl – small with deep blue eyes. However, when I go out, all I can do is stare at her and she stares at me. She is sitting all by herself in the foyer. I suffer Gill, Mrs Viljoen, and Rita Oosthuisen and then, when I go back into the studio, I decide to take the bull by the horns.

I go over to her and say, “Are you Ruth Ormond?” She says, yes, she is. I tell her that I’m a pupil of Webster and Anne and I believe she is too. She is quite delighted and tells me that Anne told her about me, saying I was tall and dark and she was very, very fond of me indeed. I tell Ruth what Anne said about her. Ruth says, “I’ll bet she said I was shy-looking.” I deny this, although Anne said she was very intense. She tells me that she plays the piano as well but doesn’t play very well and we both agree that singing is wonderful and we love it more than anything but the piano is a means to an end. She’s been learning with the Booths for a year and a half. We agree too that they are both pets and good teachers, and we talk about him singing in PE.

She is a perfectly lovely girl and terrific fun but she seems a little lonely. She has the same enthusiasm as Roselle but she is quieter. I’m so glad I’ve met her and I’m sure we will be friends.

Return to my place and we manage to finish recording. There’s a party on Monday. Says Johan, “Tea or coffee will be served in the canteen.” There is hollow laughter all round. I hope Ruth goes.

8 December – Work. Listen to tape-recording of Webster’s programme – Kathleen F, Isobel B, Laurence Tibbet, Webster and Anne singing Porgy and Bess, and something specially written for them by Harry Parr-Davies, and Webster singing Give and Forgive.

9 December – Work for the morning and leave about 11.30am. The first person I meet in Pritchard Street is Gill V. She says she’s exhausted after teaching all morning. “Let’s go and have a cold drink.” She takes me into a coffee bar in the arcade between Pritchard and Kerk and we have cokes.

She emotes about how terribly we sang on Thursday and how patient, sweet and kind Johan is. It’ll probably turn out beautifully but we’ll know it isn’t as good as all that. I promise to go to the SABC party on Monday night.

Practise at night. My Mother is coming along after Webster has given me a few ideas about it.

10 December – Go to sing in a combined choral festival of carols at City Hall. There are 300 singers but they don’t sound nearly as good as the SABC choir.

Dora Sowden comes in for a while but soon disappears. During the tea break I meet Elna Hansen who was with me in Lace on Her Petticoat in 1958. She is going to teach ballet next year.

11 December – Go to SABC at night. We all go up to SABC canteen and have tables of eats and tea and coffee. Johan comes in and we sing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. He makes a little speech and says he is very happy with us as a choir and now we can all start eating.

Gill and I talk about music. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like Webster for some reason or other. I say he is a pet and she says nothing further. We go to the studio opposite Springbok Radio to hear our recording. It is not at all bad.

13 December –Feel a bit under the weather at work today. I ask mum to excuse me from piano. I manage to go to table tennis at night and Peter tells me he phoned Webster Booth and has made an arrangement to go to see them.

14 December –. Webster answers the door and tells me to take a cup of tea and I do this while Nellie sings. She wants to sing The Holy City and Webster sings this for her most beautifully. After Nellie’s lesson he goes to put 3d in the meter “so that I won’t be had up,” he tells me.

Anne tells me that the verse with the grace note in Polly Oliver is left out so we can forget about it. She says Ruth told her that she had met me and I say how sweet I thought her.

Webster comes in and sits on the chair opposite the piano while I sing. He says that I’m getting into a bad habit of standing sideways over the piano instead of behind it!

We do My Mother which I mustn’t drag.

After the lesson I ask if they had a call from Peter. I suggest that I could give up ten minutes of my lesson next week if he’d like to audition him then. Anne says that Nellie isn’t coming next week so I could come earlier and Peter can have the audition at 5.20. I say that Peter is very nervous and will be glad to get the audition over before Christmas. Webster says, “Good Lord! How can anyone be nervous of me?” I tell them that he’s studying to be a minister. Anne says, “Now tell him to make sure to come ’cause I’ve got his name written down.’

When I get home I phone Peter and he is thrilled about the arrangement.

Listen to Webster at night. He starts with The Ballad of Diss by Vaughan Williams. He says he was a great friend of Vaughan Williams (who looked more like a farmer than a musician) and that Anne’s uncle was the rector of Diss for many years.

Next he plays his own recording of The Little Road to Bethlehem which makes me cry. He then plays Tales of Hoffman featuring Lili Pons and Richard Tauber. He plays their own duet, Take the Sun. He says that since the copyright on Gilbert’s words has fallen away he has been asked to give a series on G and S on the radio from the beginning of next year.

17 December Sunday school. Peter worries about suitable music so I ask him to come and practise in the afternoon. He sings I’ll Walk Beside You. His voice is sweet enough but rather unusual. He is nervous about singing to Webster. Who wouldn’t be?

18 December – Work hard and have lunch at Ansteys with mum. Our photo is in the SABC bulletin. Choir looks like specks on the horizon. I can see myself on the right-hand side but poor Ruth (on the opposite side) is cut right out of the picture altogether.

20 December – Work hard and long. Go to music in the afternoon and work reasonably well at piano. See Gill and wish her a happy holiday. At night, because of the pressure of work, I get mum to phone the Booths to see if I can go up at a quarter past five with Peter and have lesson afterwards.

Go to party at Betty Johnson’s at night and have a lovely time. Dance mainly with Peter. Come home in the wee small hours of the morning.

21 December – Work hard. Meet Peter outside the studio building. He looks a wee bit nervous. Go up and Anne is wearing a gorgeous pink dress with white spots. I introduce him and she is charming and asks us to have a seat. She is teaching another nice quiet girl with a good soprano voice. When she goes Anne tells us that she’d like Peter to have his audition when Webster comes so I can start on my lesson and go on after the other girl and Peter have their auditions.

I go in and Anne offers me tea which I accept. I have tea with Anne and say how tired I am with the Christmas rush. We start on scales and she takes me over to the mirror and makes me drop my jaw down more. Webster comes in with Lemon, wearing his white sports jacket and they decide to hear the two aspirants. Peter goes in first and I talk to Lucille Ackerman. Peter is accepted and will start on 6 January. Lucille sings Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life. She has a fantastic voice. She is 19. All her family arrive and intend to sit and talk about the glories of Lucille. However, Anne remembers me and tells them that she’ll have to ask them to go as, “The poor child has been waiting an hour for her lesson.”

I go in and say what a wonderful voice Lucille has. Webster says, “Yes, but if she isn’t careful, she’ll strain it and lose it altogether.”

Anne says, “Jean went to a party last night and didn’t get to bed at all and then she had to work hard today!”

Webster asks, “Are you busy?” and I enlarge on the subject. We go through My Mother a few times, also Bedford May Day Carol and Polly Oliver. He says I can borrow his recording of the latter by Jennifer Vyvyan so that I can get the hang of the acting part of it. I wish them a happy Christmas. Webster wishes me one back and Anne thanks me for my card and comes with me to the door. She wishes me a happy Christmas and kisses me, saying, “God bless you.” When I get out of the studio my eyes fill with tears – she is a darling.

Get Elna on the bus – if I hadn’t had someone to talk to I would have sat howling with emotion! She tells me she met someone at dancing who is staying with Webster and Anne at the moment. She says she adores dancing and couldn’t live without it. We talk in the same strain.

Am now listening and recording Webster’s lovely Christmas programme Next week is the last in the series. How shall I bear it to end?

22 December – Work fairly hard. We go to the Kensington Sanitorium to sing carols with the Guild. After that, we come down to my house and have tea, song, and music.

23 December – Am lucky enough to have the day off. I do some last minute shopping and meet Cressola in John Orrs, also Joy Bodes.

See On the Double with Danny Kaye in the afternoon.

25 December – Go to church with family and everyone kisses everyone else! We go to Diamonds in the afternoon and then come home to listen to SABC choir broadcast. It is really lovely – far better than I expected. Listen to Scrooge at night – very enjoyable Christmas day.

6.15pm Carols for Christmas Night, The SABC Studio Orchestra, Conductor: Johan van der Merwe, with the SABC Choir in a programme of Carols, arranged by Spruhan Kennedy.

Wassail song (trad), O Little Town of Bethlehem (Trad), Whence is that Goodly Fragrance Flowing (Trad), The Cradle (Kennedy), Pat-a-Pan (Trad), I saw three ships come sailing by (Trad), The Son of God (Kennedy), Adeste Fideles (Trad), Pastoral Symphony (Handel)

27 December Work again like mad but get off in time to go to Mrs S for lesson. Gill is there and we discuss broadcast in blasé tones.

Go to table tennis and to Doreen Craig’s for tea afterwards. Peter brings me home.

28 December Work like mad today. Have lunch with mum. In the afternoon I am so busy that I doubt whether I’ll be able to get to my lesson. I phone and Webster answers – loud, loud, “Helloooo!” Anyway, when he hears it’s me he says, “Oh, hello, Jean,” pretty normally. I’m going up at 5.15 but manage to get away in time for my normal lesson. Lemon is there. Nellie starts singing Ye Banks and Braes and Lemon barks along, only to be scolded by Webster.

“Come in, honey,” says Anne. I go in and complain bitterly about work. She is charmingly sympathetic, shoves a biscuit down my throat and orders Webster to make tea.

She talks to me about Peter and says she doesn’t think she’s deaf but when anyone talks quickly with their mouth shut she can’t hear a word they say! She says that he need foster no illusions about his voice. It is very light and at best will only be moderately good. Anne says she loves my hair in a band, “Don’t you, Boo?” We talk about Christmas. She said it was parties all the way. Her maid is on holiday so they have to cook for themselves. Webster comes in with tea and says, “Don’t you two plan to do any work today?”

We start on My Mother and it goes quite well. He tells me to sing through the rests more and watch the “er” vowels and spread them – the only vowel I can spread. He says I must have more facial expression, for heaven’s sake! He stands and stares at me and I feel self-conscious and he knows it!

They sing the May Day carol together. He sings beautifully. Anne still has a tremor in her voice. She says, “The maid got a holiday because I wasn’t in a show this year.”

We work through everything and all goes quite well – considering. Bill Perry doesn’t come but apparently he goes on paying all the same.

I go down with Webster after wishing Anne a happy new year. He tells me he’s so tired he can hardly stand up and his legs are sore. When we’re in the lift I say, ”Tonight is your last programme, Webster.” He says, “Oh yes. I’m sorry it’s ending. I’ve enjoyed the series.” and I say, “So have I. I’ve heard every single programme.” He looks quite impressed, and then remarks, “I haven’t!” He tells me that he got a letter from Douglas Fuchs, the regional director, saying how much he and his wife had enjoyed the programme. He says he’s looking forward to the G and S programme although he doesn’t know if he’s approaching it in the right way, but if he isn’t he can always revise it. We part in Pritchard Street – he going one way, me the other. He’s such a pet.

At night his programme is glorious. He plays something by the Huddersfield Choral Society, I Know That My Redeemer Liveth by Elsie Morison. I’ve recorded everything so I’m not going into great detail. There are two records by Webster and Now is the Hour – it makes me howl.

31 December – Well, this is the end of another year. What have I achieved?

Passed matric although it must be classed as an extra from 1960.

Learnt shorthand, typing and bookkeeping. Started work and it’s probably good to know that I’m capable of doing a hard day’s work!

Learnt the rudiments of singing. I can keep my tongue flat now and I have a far better idea of how to sing than I did a year ago.

Learnt much about music – mainly from Webster’s radio programme I only knew about 2 pieces from the Messiah before. Now I know the entire work!

Webster and Anne have inspired me to do various things

I sang my first solo and was accepted into the SABC choir.

What would I like to achieve in the new year?

Pass my singing and piano exams and, at least, be able to be good enough to teach music for a living.

Sing like a bird!

I’d like to make real friends with Ruth Ormond and others in the choir.

I wish I had fewer inhibitions. Let me be able to smile when I sing.

I’d like to be a nicer person. I’ve made many mistakes, been bitter and hard at times, but the new year holds a wealth of opportunities!



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Webster did many broadcasts with Anne during this period and these will appear on a separate file. In 1948 the Booths did a concert tour to New Zealand and Australia, and did several broadcasts in South Africa while their ship travelled to various South African ports, so there are not many broadcasts listed for either of them in that year.

MUSIC IN MINIATURE – Light Programme, 23 May 1946 20.30

A musical entertainment, given by Webster Booth (tenor), Margaret Good (piano), Marie Wilson (violin), Jean Stewart (viola), William Pleeth (cello), Geoffrey Gilbert (flute), George Elliott (guitar). Music by J. C. Bach, Schumann, Rossini, Chopin, Richard Strauss, and Schubert.

FANTASIA – Light Programme, 7 October 1946 20.45 A musical feature with the BBC Theatre Orchestra and the BBC Theatre Chorus. This week – The Song of the Rivers with Ida Shepley (contralto) and Webster Booth (tenor). Narrator, Preston Lockwood. Conductor, Walter Goehr. Produced by Harold Neden.

MUSIC IN MINIATURE – BBC Home Service Basic, 12 November 1946 16.15 A musical entertainment given by Phyllis Sellick (piano). Webster Booth (tenor). Pauline Juler (clarinet), Max Salpeter and Colin Sauer (violins), Watson Forbes (viola), John Moore (cello), and J. Edward Merrett (double bass). Programme arranged by Basil Douglas.

TUESDAY SERENADE – BBC Home Service Basic, 19 November 1946 21.15 BBC Theatre Orchestra (Leader, Alfred Barker ) Conductor, Walter Goehr, BBC Theatre Chorus, Irene Eisinger (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor).

FANTASIA – Light Programme, 16 December 1946 20.45 A musical feature with the BBC Theatre Orchestra and Theatre Chorus, conducted by Harold Lowe. This week A Hundred Years Ago with Doris Gambell, Webster Booth, Winifred Davey. Jane Grahame, Doris Nichols. and Roy Plomley. Written by Aubrey Danvers-Walker. Produced by Harold Neden.


TUESDAY SERENADE – BBC Home Service Basic, 11 February 1947 21.15 BBC Theatre Orchestra Conductor, Walter Goehr. BBC Theatre Chorus (Trained by John Clements ) Webster Booth (tenor), Joan and Valerie Trimble – (two pianos) Produced by Eric Fawcett.  

MUSIC IN MINIATURE – Light Programme, 7 August 1947 21.30 A musical entertainment given by Louis Kentner (piano), Webster Booth (tenor), Frederick Thurston and Stephen Waters (clarinets), Paul Draper (bassoon), David Martin (violin), Frederick Riddle (viola), and James Whitehead (cello). Programme arranged by Basil Douglas.

STARLIGHT – BBC Home Service Basic, 27 October 1947 19.15 This week Christopher Stone invites Webster Booth to talk with him and to sing for you.

THE KENTUCKY MINSTRELS – BBC Home Service Basic, 2 December 1947 21.30 A black-faced minstrel show – Jimmy Rich, Fred Yule, John Duncan, and C. Denier Warren and Ike Hatch (Ivory and Ebony). Guest Star, Webster Booth.  Kentucky Banjo Team, Augmented BBC Revue Orchestra and Male Voice Chorus, conducted by Leslie Woodgate. At the organ. Charles Smart. Book written and remembered by C. Denier Warren, Choral arrangements by Doris Arnold. Show devised and produced by Harry S. Pepper

Sir Malcolm Sargent.

THE PLAIN MAN’S GUIDE TO MUSIC-10 – Light Programme, 9 December 1949 21.00 Sir Malcolm Sargent talks about the Oratorio and conducts illustrations from Messiah (Handel), The Creation (Haydn), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Dream of Gerontius (Elgar). Elsie Morison (soprano), Mary Jarred (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Walker (bass), Royal Choral Society, BBC Opera Orchestra, Produced by Roger Fiske.

Malcolm Sargent conducting the orchestra at a Promenade concert (1954)


HUGH THE DROVER – Third Programme, 13 March 1950 20.40 or Love in the Stocks, A romantic ballad opera in two acts. Words by Harold Child, Music by Vaughan Williams. BBC Opera Chorus, BBC Opera Orchestra Led by John Sharpe. Conductor. Stanford Robinson. Presented by Mark Lubbock.  Narrator, Patrick Troughton. Repetiteur, Leo Wurmser.

The constable: Owen Brannigan

Mary, the constable’s daughter: Joyce Gartside, Aunt Jane. the constable’s sister: Mary Jarred, John, the butcher: Frederick Sharp, The turnkey: Powell Lloyd, A showman: Fabian Smith, A sergeant: Denis Dowling, Hugh, the Drover: Webster Booth, A cheap-jack: George Steam Scott, A shell-fish seller: Fisher Morgan, A primrose seller: Ethel Gedge, A ballad seller: David Holman.

 RING UP THE CURTAIN! – BBC Home Service Basic, 1 July 1951 16.00 Joyce Gartside (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Denis Dowling (baritone) BBC Opera Chorus – Trained by Alan G. Melville, BBC Opera Orchestra – Leader, John Sharpe. Conductor, Stanford Robinson. British Opera – The programme includes items from: The Siege of Rochelle, The Bohemian Girl, Maritana, The Lily of Killarney, Esmeralda, Ivanhoe, Shamus O’Brien,Koanga, The Immortal Hour, Fete Galante, Hugh the Drover, Sir John in Love. Programme devised by Harold Neden.

O, Vision Entrancing from Esmeralda

MUSIC IN MINIATURELight Programme, 28 July 1950 21.30 A musical entertainment given by Webster Booth (tenor), Leon Goossens (oboe),*Julius Isserlis (piano), Alan Loveday (violin), Reginald Morley (violin), Max Gilbert (viola),Harvey Phillips (cello). Ernest Lush (accompanist). Arranged by Basil Douglas.

 *I wonder if Julius Isserlis was the father of the well-known cellist, Steven Isserlis?

THESE RADIO TIMES – Light Programme, 27 October 1951 21.15 A happy history of Everyman’s entertainment. With Henry Hall, Naunton Wayne, Edwin Styles, Howard Marshall, Webster Booth, Claude Dampier, Kenneth Leslie-Smith, Harry S. Pepper and the recorded voices of Davy Burnaby, Stewart MacPherson, John. Snagge, Richard Tauber, Gracie Fields. Nellie Wallace. Everyman, with the wireless set: Anthony Armstrong. Written by Gale Pednick. Producer: Thurstan. Holland


24 May 1952 Light Programme. Malcolm Sargent conducts the BBC Opera Orchestra with Webster Booth in a concert of Empire music for Empire Day.

SONG OF TWO CITIES – Light Programme, 18 November 1952 21.00 Paris and Vienna – Part 8 This story of a musical rivalry that spanned a century ends with music from two masterpieces Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, the idol of Vienna, and The Tales of Hoffmann with which Offenbach triumphed in Paris even after his death.

Gwen Catley, Ruth Packer, Anna Pollak, Webster Booth, Trefor Jones, Roderick Jones. BBC Chorus – Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate. BBC Concert Orchestra – Leader, John Sharpe. Conductor, Gilbert Vinter with Keith Pyott as the Voice of Paris and Rudolph Offenbach as the Voice of Vienna. Devised by Kenneth Pakeman and written by Maurice Gorham. Produced by Malcolm Baker-Smith and Kenneth Pakeman. (Anna Pollak broadcasts by permission of the Governors of Sadler’s Wells)

Haydn – THE CREATION – Third Programme, 4 December 1952 20.05 Ena Mitchell (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Walker (bass), BBC Chorus – Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate. BBC Symphony Orchestra – Leader, Paul Beard. Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent. Parts 1 and 2

MUSIC OF COLERIDGE-TAYLOR – BBC Home Service Basic, 7 December 1952 16.00  Webster Booth (tenor), BBC Concert Orchestra – (Leader, John Sharpe ) Conductor, Gilbert Vinter. Suite: Othello, Song: Eleanore, Three Dream Dances, Song: Onaway!, awake, beloved (Hiawatha)

The story of GILBERT AND SULLIVANLight Programme, 25 December 1952 16.30 An adaptation from the sound-track of the forthcoming Frank Launder-Sidney Gilliat production based on some episodes in the lives of Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert .Written for the screen by Sidney Gilliat and Leslie Baily (by permission of Bridget D’Oyly Carte ) Webster Booth, Martyn Green, Elsie Morison, Margery Thomas, John Cameron, Gordon Clinton, Owen Brannigan, Harold Williams, Tom Round, Muriel Brunskill, Jennifer Vyvyan, Joan Gillingham. London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Programme produced by Thurstan Holland.

W S Gilbert: Robert Morley, Mrs Gilbert: Isabel Dean, Arthur Sullivan: Maurice Evans, Richard D’Oyly Carte: Peter Finch, Helen D’Oyly Carte: Eileen Herlie, Mr Marston: Wilfred: Hyde White, Grace Marston: Dinah Sheridan.


THE GOLDEN THRESHOLD –  BBC Home Service Basic, 18 January 1953 16.00 by Liza Lehmann. Elsie Morison (soprano), Audrey Brice (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Frederick Harvey (baritone) BBC Chorus – Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate, BBC Concert Orchestra – Leader, John Sharpe, Conductor, Gilbert Vinter.  

*DESERT ISLAND DISCS – BBC Home Service Basic, 3 April 1953 18.25 Webster Booth – (in a recorded programme) discusses with Roy Plomley the gramophone records he would choose to have with him if he were condemned to spend the rest of his life on a desert island.

*Unfortunately no recording of this broadcast still exists, but we did manage to obtain a script of the programme from the BBC.

 29 April 1953 THE CREATION Royal Choral Society, Webster Booth (tenor) Conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Malcolm Sargent’s birthday (from Webster’s score.)

Monday, 25 May 1953, 12.00 Robert Morley, Maurice Evans and Eileen Herlie in the story of GILBERT AND SULLIVAN (repeat)

An adaptation from the sound-track of the new Frank Launder -Sidney Gilliat production, based on some episodes in the lives of Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert , Written for the screen by Sidney Gilliat and Leslie Baily, (by permission of Bridget D’Oyly Carte) with words and music selected from the operas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan sung by Webster Booth,. Martyn Green, Elsie Morison , Marjorie Thomas, John Cameron, Gordon Clinton, Owen Brannigan, Harold Williams, Tom Round,  Muriel Brunskill, Jennifer Vyvyan. Joan Gillingham, London Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Radio adaptation by Gordon Gow, Produced by Denys Jones.

NIGHTS OF GLADNESS – Light Programme, 22 December 1953 20.00 Tribute to composers whose melodies have enriched the world of operetta, musical comedy, and revue.Written by Gale Pedrick. Introduced by The Man with the Opera Cloak and illustrated by scenes and music Chapter 9 – The music of: Nat D. Ayer, Harry Parr Davies, Emmerich Kalman. Singers: Victoria Elliott, Webster Booth, Joan Young, Dudley Rolph, Billie Baker, Dick James. BBC Chorus – Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate. BBC Concert orchestra Conducted by Guy Daines. Musical adviser, Harold Neden. Produced by Douglas Moodie.

18 December 1953. 21.15 The Christmas Music from Handel’s Messiah Handel Messiah: part 1 (up to & including Glory to God) plus Hallelujah and  Amen choruses from the Town Hall, HUDDERSFIELD.


 3 January 1954 18.30 I KNOW WHAT I LIKE, Personalities of the radio and entertainment world 
introduce music of their own choice. 15—Fred Streeter with Doris Gambell (soprano)
Webster Booth (tenor),  Ian Wallace (bass), BBC Concert Orchestra, (Leader, John Sharpe), 
Conducted by Stanford Robinson. Produced by Harold Neden.

I KNOW WHAT I LIKE – BBC Home Service Basic, 31 January 1954 18.30, Personalities of the radio and entertainment world introduce music of their own choice. 19-James Dyrenforth with Lorely Dyer (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor). BBC Concert Orchestra – Leader, John Sharpe. Conducted by Rae Jenkins. Produced by Harold Neden.

GRAND HOTEL – Light Programme, 11 April 1954 19.30, Tom Jenkins and the Palm Court Orchestra. Webster Booth (tenor).

HENRY WOOD PROMENADE CONCERTS – BBC Home Service Basic, 1 September 1954 19.30 Webster Booth (tenor), Iris Loveridge (piano), Royal Choral Society, BBC Symphony Orchestra  – Leader, Paul Beard, Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent. From the Royal Albert Hall, London.

BALLAD CONCERT – BBC Home Service Basic, 21 September 1954 18.45 The old songs we still love sung by Marion Lowe (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Raymond Newell (baritone), with David McCallum and the Spa Orchestra. At the organ, Felton Rapley. At the piano, Clifton Helliwell.

The programme includes: Thora, Where my caravan has rested, I hear you calling me, The Company Sergeant Major, A Summer Night. Produced by Harold Neden.

BALLAD CONCERT – BBC Home Service Basic, 21 December 1954 18.35 The old songs we still love, sung by Gwen Catley (soprano), Audrey Brice (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Owen Brannigan (bass-baritone), David McCallum and the Spa Orchestra. At the organ. Felton Rapley. At the piano, Josephine Lee.

Gwen Catley, the diminutive coloratura soprano.

The programme includes Twickenham Ferry,  An Old Garden,The Star of Bethlehem, Until, Japanese Love Song, A Sergeant of the Line, April Morn, Nazareth. Introduced by Lionel Marson. Produced by Harold Neden.

 IN LIGHTER MOOD – BBC Home Service Basic, 27 December 1954 15.15 BBC Concert Orchestra -Leader, John Sharpe, Conductor, Charles Mackerras. Webster Booth (tenor) Programme presented by John Tylee.


April 1955 John Stainer THE CRUCIFIXION A meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer. Webster Booth, John Heddle Nash.

Sir Malcolm Sargent introduces and conducts a GILBERT AND SULLIVAN CONCERT – BBC Television, 30 May 1955 21.15 with Jacqueline Delman (soprano) Marjorie Thomas (contralto) Webster Booth (tenor), John Cameron (bass) and Chorus. The St. Cecilia Orchestra (Leader, Lionel Bentley ) Presented by Philip Bate.

 HENRY WOOD PROMENADE CONCERTSLight Programme, 13 August 1955 19.30  Webster Booth (tenor), Peter Katin (piano) BBC Choral Society – Chorus Master. Leslie Woodgate Royal Choral Society, BBC Symphony Orchestra – Leader, Paul Beard, Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent. From the Royal Albert Hall , London

Part 1. 


GRAND HOTEL – Light Programme, 16 October 1955 21.00 Jean Pougnet and the Palm Court Orchestra. Visiting artist: Webster Booth. 

21 December 1955 7.15 pm Handel’s MESSIAH Part 1  from the Town Hall, HUDDERSFIELD Part 1 at 7.15 : Part 2 at 9.15.

22 December 1955 21.00 The Christmas Music from Handel’s Messiah Conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Jennifer Vyvyan (soprano), Norma Procter (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Hervey Alan (bass), Huddersfield Choral Society (Chorus-Master, Herbert Bardgett), BBC Northern Orchestra, (Leader. Reginald Stead), Ernest Cooper (organ), from the Town Hall, Huddersfield.

GILBERT AND SULLIVAN – BBC Home Service Basic, 25 December 1955 21.15 Hugh Burden, Clive Morton and Richard Humdall. The story of a great partnership in six episodes by Leslie Baily  – 4— The First Quarrel. Other parts played by: Eric Phillips, Olwen Brookes, George Skillan, Ysanne Churchman; and Betty Fleetwood. Narrator, Hugh Burden. The songs from the operas sung by: Webster Booth, Gwen Catley, Victoria Elliott, Arnold Matters, George James, Janet Howe, Denis Bowen , Gilbert Wright. Pianist. Alan Richardson, BBC Chorus – Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate. BBC Concert Orchestra – Leader, John Sharpe, Conductor, Charles Mackerras. Production by Vernon Harris.

(The BBC acknowledges the assistance of Miss Bridget D’Oyly Carte and of Sir Newman Flower , the biographer of Sir Arthur Sullivan.


8 January 1956 21.15 Hugh Burden, Clive Morton and Richard Hurndall in GILBERT AND SULLIVAN The story of a great partnership in six episodes by Leslie Baily. 6: Yeomen, Gondoliers and Goodbye. Other parts played by: Betty Hardy, Dudley Rolph , Ella Milne, Eric Phillips , Humphrey Morton, Narrator, Hugh Burden.The songs from the operas sung by: Webster Booth. Doris Gambell, Anna Pollak, Roderick Jones, George James. Sheila Rex, Gilbert Wright. Pianist: Alan Richardson. BBC Chorus (Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate ), BBC Concert Orchestra (Leader, John Sharpe ). Conductor. Charles Mackerras. Production by Vernon Harris.

 That was the last solo broadcast Webster Booth did in the UK, but he did several more with Anne Ziegler before they sailed for South Africa on board the Pretoria Castle in mid-July, 1956.


Compiled by Jean Collen

May 2017.






Compiled by Jean Collen