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(2005 TV Movie)

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  • An exclusive insight into the private record collection of the renowned DJ and broadcaster, marking the first anniversary of his death. John Peel's priceless record collection threatened to over take his home in Suffolk. But in a small, battered wooden box, the DJ kept a precious selection of 7-inch singles that meant more to him than any of the others. Supported by John's family, and with his son Tom Ravenscroft working as the programme's researcher, this one-hour special reveals the contents of the box. Giving a unique insight into his eclectic tastes, it tells the extraordinary stories behind the records and the artists who created them. John Peel's Record Box also features interviews and anecdotes from close friends and family including his wife Sheila, Sir Elton John, Ronnie Wood, Roger Daltrey, Fergal Sharkey, Jack White and Michael Palin. John's wife, Sheila Ravenscroft, talks about the curious contents of the box; featuring artists as diverse as Status Quo, Sheena Easton, The Yardbirds, Laurie Anderson, Bill Oddie and Nilsson. "When we looked through the box when John died, I was actually quite surprised - quite a few of them didn't seem to make any sense. I was desperate to ask him why that was in - but we'll never know." Peel's reputation for discovering the next great record meant he was inundated by demos sent in by struggling artists. The sheer volume was often overwhelming, as Sheila reveals, "The pressure that he was under sometimes really got him down terribly. He used to get quite depressed about the boxes and boxes of things that he just knew he couldn't get through. And he really wanted to but there just weren't enough hours in the day." Sir Elton John explains the DJ's anti-establishment stance, which spoke to so many of his listeners: "He fought for the underdog and he fought for the small independent labels and he fought for the bands that were making records in their bedrooms or whatever. Because he hated what he saw. Obviously he had a weird mind - I have a weird mind. Every record collector, every aficionado, every collector of anything has got to be a little strange." Fellow Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq describes Peel's effect on teenagers. "It was an act of rebellion in itself listening to Peel. Because you were supposed to be in bed and you've got to get up for school. So the mere fact you were actually listening to it was quite a gesture punk rock attitude. You know it was breaking the rules already. He was the classic anti-authority figure. Brilliant. And that's why so many people grew up wanting John Peel to be their dad." But championing unknown artists was not without its letdowns. The programme reveals that Peel felt snubbed by the likes of David Bowie and Marc Bolan once they achieved stardom. His three-year relationship with Bolan certainly didn't survive the singer's success, which made him more cautious with other artists. Sheila reveals: "The real end of the relationship was when Marc had his first big number one record, and then as they became more famous they disappeared out of his life, and that hurt him. We'd been incredibly good friends and felt he didn't want to know us anymore. It was very sad." Finally Jack White, whose band the White Stripes are the most recent additions to the box with 12 of their singles included, pulls out Peel's much-loved track, 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones. Jack White: '"This record will make you cry if you really get involved in it. It has made me cry and I know it's made John cry - because he told me."

  • An exclusive insight into the private record collection of the renowned DJ and broadcaster, marking the first anniversary of his death.


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