I’ve no idea how many sounds were to be found in the actual BBC Sound Archive or how many discs of extracts were published by the beeb but I must of had around thirty volumes of them. Thirty cherished vinyl albums in pristine cardboard sleeves that covered a mad range of human, animal, musical and mechanically generated sounds.
The record collection spanned all the typical categories of sound you might expect: cars, birds, aircraft, sports etc. But it also featured more offbeat collections of effects and foley sounds. A favourite was the “Death & Horror” album. The sound cues included such delights as “Execution & Torture”, “Creaking Doors & Grave Digging”, “Heart attack”, “Head chopped off” and my absolute fave, “Red hot poker in eye”.
This last effect, we are informed in the album notes, was achieved by plunging a hot metal rod into some juicy fruit. Can you imagine being a BBC producer and being asked to create such sounds as someone being garrotted, drowned, whipped or having their limbs dismembered. What a macbre yet magical job that must have been!