This four part documentary series was first broadcast on BBC 6 Music in December, 2003.
Back in the early days of BBC 6 Music, there was incredible scope for creative programme-making. Budgets were minimal, but it says a lot for the pioneer spirit of the network that I was given the chance to write, produce and present a four part documentary. Its title was Repetitive Beats: A Social History Of Electronic Dance Music.
I had only arrived from BBC Radio One six months earlier and was more accustomed to making two minute news packages. Together with co-producer Helen Lennard, I delivered two hours of radio, charting dance music’s evolution, from Motown’s steady pulse through Northern Soul, Disco, Electro, Chicago House, Detroit Techno, Rave and Jungle.
It still sounds like a twenty-something making his first documentary at times, but we did it for nothing – without paying a single contributor or taking a single flight – and it was extremely well received, by contributors and critics. Chris Campling at The Times made it his pick of the week, writing the following review:
“At last, a programme that sad, old gits such as myself have been crying out for. “Give us an intelligent, comprehensive, illustrated analysis of the appeal of dance music,” we have been crying. Andrew Purcell leaves the dancefloor, has a swift shower, and presents a four-part (yes — it really does take that long) history of The Beat That Came For Your Children, which includes a look at the work of the Chemical Brothers. Banging.”
All four parts are available here. The first two are the best, I think.