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.


2 August – Another interview – at this rate I will never get the job I want – or even the job I don’t want!

3 August – I am thankful to see Webster looking hale and hearty when I go to studio. I ask how he is and he says in self-pitying little voice, “Well, I’m not as bad as I was but it’s still hanging over me, but I’ll soon shake it off.” He tries to make a cup of tea but a fuse blows so he is upset because we can’t have tea after all. Listen to Dell singing Il Bacio – very well, I must admit. Hear Anne telling her that she started to learn languages as part of her musical training with John Tobin and, of course, she went all over the continent with her family.

Anne tells Dell to sing the last part of the song again and Dells says, “I think I’ve done enough for today, Miss Ziegler – she doesn’t want ME to hear her sing badly. Anne says, “Well, we’ll shut the door!”

When she goes I pay Anne and start on scales. She is thrilled with my tongue in the exercises. We go up quite high – On the high note my voice goes back and she imitates me and then says, “That’s unkind, isn’t it?” and I say, “Yes,” with my tongue in my cheek. She says, “Jean, you’ll have to excuse my hands,” and glances fondly at her lily-white, smooth hands, “But I’ve been gardening like mad yesterday. Someone gave me some plants and they simply had to go in.” I make a polite remark and somehow cannot imagine her digging in the garden.

We start on Oh Love and Anne makes Webster come and sing it with me. He can’t read the words so he sings them incorrectly. She looks around at him and he IS quite injured at being pulled up by her. Anyway, Webster and I get on quite well, but we must have looked a jolly funny couple of duettists as he’s about 43 years older than me. She says I must imagine that I am Delilah, trying to woo Samson and cut his hair off, and look on the aria vulgarly as chorus, verse, chorus, as they do in the jolly old musical comedy. “Singing is like selling Cappuccino stockings in John Orrs. You have to put everything you know into it to sell your songs.” Nice vulgar ideas from an ethereal Sweetheart of Song!

I tell her that I was listening to my voice on the tape and it sounds very cold and she replies with the nice, well-worn lecture, “Smile, use your eyes, have no inhibitions. She writes “Smile” on top of the Delilah song and says, “I should add ‘darn you’ as well, shouldn’t I? Yes?”

I depart and she admires my colour scheme. I say goodbye to Webster and he replies. He’s like a spaniel puppy today.

I go up to choir at night and tell Mr S that I want to sing a solo in the choir sometime. He is delighted and says that he’s crying out for soloists. When we come home, Mr S tells Mrs Weakly that I’m going to sing a solo. I don’t know whether she thinks this is a good idea or not!

Webster at night – I listen and record the programme. He starts off with two items from the Beecham recording of Solomon, a choral piece from the Brahms Requiem to Robert Schumann. Then he plays his own recording from Rigoletto, This One or That One, Care Nome sung by “my old friend, Gwen Catley, one of the most popular coloratura sopranos in Britain.” Gwen Catley has a lovely lyrical voice and she is really gorgeous. Then comes the quartet from Rigoletto – Webster, Edith Coates, Arnold Mattie and Noel Eadie.

King’s Rhapsody. Webster and Anne were asked by Ivor to make duet arrangements of – Someday My Heart will Awake and The Gates of Paradise, and finally We’ll Gather Lilacs from Perchance to Dream.

4 August – At night the guild goes to Fotheringham’s bakery and we have a bread-baking demonstration. I go with Joan, Ann, Dorothy and Mr and Mrs Spargo. Mr S says that instead of gadding about they could be listening to programmes on the radio, “like to your singing teacher, Jean.”

We have an interesting time at the bakery and cakes and drinks afterwards. On the way home Mrs S raves about the Booths. She tells me that she loves his programme. “He’s a lovely, kindly man – is he like that in real life?” “Yes, he’s a honey.”

“Anne Ziegler is sweet too of course. I remember hearing them sing Messiah and they sang it so reverently. They’re a lovely, humble, reverent couple and I love the way he says “Anne and I” on the radio.”  They ask where they live and where their studio is and I tell them about singing with Webster yesterday and about his ‘flu. We part on very good terms.

7 August Go into town to the dentist and meet Muriel Hicks and Michelle Aronstam from Vanderbijlpark. Both are at Teachers’ Training college, as is Janet Lockhart-Ross, and Biddy Lawrence. Jackie Keenan and Irene Stanton are at Natal Varsity. Betsy Draper is doing a Rhodesian matric and Pam Nicolai and Valerie le Cordeur work at Iscor.

8 August. – Go skating in morning and practise in the afternoon. Listen to Ivor Dennis at night and he reaches the very top of my list by playing a record by Webster – by Coleridge-Taylor. He says, “Most of the listeners will probably know that Webster and his charming wife came to settle here some years ago and they are heard often on the radio.” He is a sweet old man and plays very nicely indeed.

10 August – Go for an interview at SABC – very Afrikaans indeed. Talk to Pieter de Waal on the lift. I don’t think I’m going to get a job there!

Go to the studio and Webster answers the door in kindly, unclish fashion. Dell doesn’t do so well today and I am happy – bad me! When I go into the studio Anne is powdering her face and tells me that her eyes feel as though she has been crying for two days. They are happy with my scales and I feel a little more self-confident than I have done lately. Webster says, “Now do the same with Delilah’s aria.”

He makes tea and Anne says brightly, “Let’s have some of the new biscuits. Will you have one, Jean? They’re delicious.” We go on with the Samson and Delilah aria and they say it has improved but I must clip my consonants with the tip of the tongue. Webster is very red in the face today and doesn’t look very well. Anne gives me a few tongue exercises for my consonants and Webster dashes off to put 3d in his parking meter. I tell Anne that I might be starting work soon and what shall I do about lessons? She says that after 5 pm is a busy time but she’ll arrange something – never fear. She sounds reassuring so I hope she can.

11 August – Listen to Webster at night – he doesn’t play any of his own records. First Owen Brannigan singing The Trumpet Shall Sound, something from the Brahms’ Requiem, a chant by a Russian choir, and arias from Othello and songs from Kismet.

17 August – Go for interview at Barclays Bank, Simmond Street. I’m going to start there in October. Have lunch with Mummy and then go to Afrikaans eisteddfod and see about 20 little grade one girls singing – eek!

Go up to studio and Webster answers door and says in funny accent, “Helloo – Sit ye down.” Listen to Dell singing. Anne says something about Dell going to night spots and they suggest she is “hitting the bottle!” Dell goes out. She is wearing a leopard skin coat. I go in and Webster says impudently, “And how is Delilah today?” They are in the throes of the Afrikaans eisteddfod and have had two firsts and a second and hope for a few more prizes tonight. She is dressed to kill in a dress made of coat material.

Scales go quite well and they are pleased with high B. Webster says the Delilah aria is too pedantic and does one of his gruesome imitations. He says I must think of my voice as a ‘cello, and pretends he is playing it. He is funny at times.  Anne tells me how much she likes my white hat. She says, “Oh, it’s sweet, isn’t it, Boo?” He studies it for a moment and says that it’s utterly charming.  We say goodbye and I grin at Roselle, whose mother is with her. Come down on the lift whistling Only a Rose in complete abandon.

At choir I sing solo 4 times. I am to sing it on Sunday night.  Am listening to Webster now. He plays excerpts from La Bohème – him singing Your Tiny Hand is Frozen, then the duet in the last act with Webster and Joan Cross, and a duet with Dennis Noble.

20 August – Practise song for tonight – God help me! Absolutely massive congregation (for our church) about 80 or 90 and I feel grim – cold hands, warm face, and I try to think uplifting and confident thoughts. My doom arrives and I manage through it fairly well if not a bit tremblingly in my own heart.

Everyone in the choir says that it is good and I feel relieved that it is over. Well, that is my first solo over with reasonable success and I don’t think I let my parents or Webster and Anne down too badly. Let’s hope that future solos will be successively one per cent better and that I will actually enjoy singing them. Whew!

21 August – Go to eisteddfod in afternoon at Library theatre. Girls (Form 2) sing solos – My Skat is ‘n Boerseun.

24 August I practise the piano in the morning and then go to the Booths in the afternoon. Webster answers and looking worried, says, “I didn’t even hear you knocking!”  We start on scales and they are both delighted – I get B flat comfortably. They make me smile while I’m singing. Webster does this in wicked fashion by mimicking me and then he makes me sing The Lass with the Delicate Air and makes me smile again. High A in this is beautiful and they think so too.

Everything goes well. After about four lines of Delilah aria Anne stops me and I wonder what on earth I have done wrong. Webster looks quite thrilled and says, “That note was absolutely beautiful.” Anne says she had to stop me to tell me so. I feel very flattered. We do the aria again and work through it thoroughly.

Anne says, “You have a really lovely voice but you mustn’t be so mean with it – you must let everyone hear its beauty.”  I say, “It must be the Scots in me,” and we all have a good laugh.

Anne says that she’s been using all her spare time for the garden and her hands are in a terrible state – they look like the hands of a charwoman. I look at them – they’re lily-white – so I can’t resist saying that they look very nice. She says they’re very dry and she always puts oil in her bath for them but it still doesn’t help.

Webster goes down to put money in the parking meter. She says they have a recording of Delilah at home so she’ll lend it to me. It is done by Risé Stevens. I say that this is very kind of her.

She has a violent choking fit – swallows saliva wrong way and dashes up and into the kitchen to get some water. While she is there Roselle arrives with friend and I hear her telling Anne that friend has a lovely voice and she’d like Anne to audition her and give her verdict. Friend is evidently very nervous but she still thinks that Anne will put her into an opera right away!

Webster comes back and I finish the aria with reasonable success. Webster tells me, “You may think you look silly, but you don’t.”

Listen to Webster at night. He starts by playing O Thou That Tellest by a counter-tenor. He then plays Lift Up Your Heads by Jo’burg African Choral society. Very well sung indeed. He goes on to La Bohème – a well-known aria on every page. He goes on to Naughty Marietta and then plays, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life “sung by Anne and myself.” Afterwards he says, “Well, that was Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth!” He plays out with the Pizzicato Polka.

He’s singing a solo on Monday night at the Yeoville Presbyterian Church.

26 August – At night I notice Webster’s solo appearamce mentioned in the church columns and also get quite a shock.

28 August 1961

The other day when Dell asked if she could change her lesson to Tuesday, Anne said, “Well, it’s OK for this Tuesday but the next week is his first night.” I thought at the time that she meant they were going to Lucia di Lammermoor in Pretoria but it says in the paper tonight that Webster is playing in the West End comedy success The Amorous Prawn as the title character, with Joan Blake and Simon Swindell! I didn’t even know about it.  Dad says we can go to see Webster in the play so that’s something to look forward to.

27 August. Sunday school. Mark is very naughty. In the afternoon go to Spargos and have a lovely time. We go for a drive and see Waverley, the block of flats where Webster and Anne used to live. We look in Rosebank shops. When we arrive back Mrs S pumps me with innumerable questions about Webster and Anne – Are they well off? Are they religious? I say I think they’re quite comfortable, that they are Anglicans but I don’t say whether they are religious. After dinner we go to Church. Ann comes and tells me that my singing last Sunday was gorgeous and it was a very difficult thing to sing. Leona says she liked the singing but not the aria!  I wonder if the Spargos want Joan to do singing. Poor them – they’d be a little worried if they could see the huge picture of Webster and Anne advertising beer!

Webster, Joan Blake and Ronald Hall in The Amorous Prawn

The Amorous Prawn – Ronald Hall, Joan Blake, and Webster

29 August – Go into town today for an interview with Sylvia Sullivan with whom I’m going to study piano. She has a very nice studio in Edinburgh Court in Von Brandis Street– quite a few rooms to it. She is middle-aged possibly as old as Anne. She is quite plump but very nice. I’m going to start next Wednesday.

I have to go to dentist afterwards so I go into John Orrs to kill time. The first person I see is Dell carrying a big bunch of flowers, with eye shadow plastered indiscriminately round the relevant regions and wearing her artificial leopard skin coat. She is going up to Webster and Anne. She has changed her time – perhaps because she doesn’t want me to hear her singing. She doesn’t see me but I expect she wouldn’t have been very affable had she seen me. I wonder if the flowers were for Anne.

30 August – Have lunch with mum and then pay another call to the dentist. I’ll be glad when it’s all over for another three months. At night I see another picture of Webster in paper with the rest of the cast – Simon Swindell, Gabriel Bayman, Joan Blake and Victor Melleney. Joan B has a protective arm around Webster’s shoulder. Caption is, “Comedy rehearsal is no joke,” and the whole cast looks grim. Webster looks cute with monocle but what will Anne say about Joan B?

Amorous Prawn rehearsal.

31 August – My 18th Birthday. Go for lesson and Anne is wearing a black jersey – very sexy indeed. A girl is there singing an Afrikaans song terribly and they battle over it with her. She tells them that she is having pupils on Saturday from a quarter to eight till 5 in the afternoon. She says she is not a bit nervous about singing because she has been on the stage since she was three. She is singing this song at a wedding and is worried about it. I expect, by the way she talks, that she will be a really gorgeous-looking girl, but she isn’t. She is tall with glasses and I dislike her on sight!

They are both thrilled with my scales but Anne says I must smile. She takes me over to the mirror so that I can practise there and puts her arm around me in protective fashion. I look in the mirror feeling like a cabbage next to her. I don’t really understand why I should smile when I’m singing scales!

We do Delilah aria and Webster says I mustn’t do it like a little girl because I am a grown woman! I say that I’m afraid to sing too loud in case I go out of tune. He says, “Well, you’re here to learn to sing, so sing out of tune!”  We go through the aria again with reasonable success. Anne says I must fill in all the vowel sounds for next week to see that I understand which ones I must use. I say, a little sarcastically, that instead of going out at night I can sit at home doing this!

Roselle’s mother phones to say that Roselle can’t come because she has an inflamed throat and has to stay in bed. Anne says to Webster, “I hope you reminded her that it is a five-week month so we won’t be making up the lesson.” No word of sympathy for poor Roselle and her throat.

When I go, I remark that I hope it will soon be cooler and she says, “Oh, but I love the summer. I think it’s gorgeous.”

I listen to Webster on the radio. He starts with the Sanctus from the Solemn Mass by Beethoven with Elisabeth Schwartzkopf and three other German singers. Webster says that the music is very hard on the voice.  He plays Malotte’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer sung by himself. Gerald Moore and Bertram Harrison are his accompanists. It is lovely. At this very moment, I am of the opinion that Webster is far more sincere in what he says than Anne.  He has Magic Flute as his opera, one of the two operas in which he sang at Covent Garden (NOT the principal role). He plays the opening scene from Gypsy Baron and this is really lovely. Webster forgot to bring the Samson and Delilah record for me. Perhaps he is too busy with the play.



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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