TV Cream

Radio 4: The Programmes

Shipping Forecast, The

LEGENDARY four-times-daily weather bulletin for marine types much beloved of the rest of the world for its muffled intonation of arcane terminology. Those exotic-sounding, early-eighties-childrens-ITV-viewer-confusing, Damon-Albarn-inspiring forecast zones in full: Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Trafalgar, Finisterre, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes, Southeast Iceland. Extra exotica points for a ridiculous prehistoric ruling insisting it has to run to three hundred and seventy words exactly, and the equally prehistoric theme music Sailing By. Anchors aweigh!



  1. johnnyboy

    July 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I’m afraid your area list is a bit out of date. Sea area ‘Finisterre’ was renamed ‘Fitzroy’ @ 4 years ago, much to the chagrin of our Gallic friends. Also the word count is the max number that can be used, I think aiming to get it exact would take you all day.

  2. TV Cream

    July 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    It’s the classic Cream-era line-up and no substitute is acceptable…!

  3. johnnyboy

    July 24, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Seemingly Fitzroy (Admiral) commited suicide @ age 60 down to the issuing of a poor forecast. There’s no record of this officially, but that is the presumption (he was the Captain of the Beagle, and that may have had something to do with it “the loneliness of Captaincy” etc). He had a busy life though, so fair play to the man.
    Oh, can I have that T-shirt, please??

  4. richardpd

    May 12, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Bonus points for German Bight being mentioned in Kes as Billy’s lost on the class pun to say after Fisher when the register was called.

  5. Applemask

    March 13, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Finisterre was always my favourite, it deserves mention.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    March 14, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    I used to remember the Shipping Forecast on Radio 2 when Jimmy Kingsbury used to announce ” attention all shipping” during the JY Prog with that mellifluous voice of his.

  7. George White

    October 19, 2021 at 7:52 am

    The shipping forecast appears in Distant Voices, Still LIves but also in 1959’s the Wreck of the Mary Deare, that odd Gary Cooper/Charlton Heston/Virginia McKenna/Michael Redgrave/Richard Harris-and-a-baffling-accent Hammond Innes adap nearly directed by Hitchcock, a proper 50s transatlantic pudding. Begins in the Atlantic, then cuts along to various sides of the Channel, recreated on MGM’s lot (i.e. using that Dutch village and harbour set that’s been in hundreds of films) before for Eady reasons, cutting halfway to actual London and the likes of John Le Mesurier in Borehamwood before cutting back to an Esso services recreated in Culver City.
    Ah, the joy of Hollywood artifice.

    • Andrew Barton

      October 20, 2021 at 8:00 am

      In response to that Mary Deare movie, the 1965 movie The Collector, although set in England, was primarily filmed in Hollywood, with some location filming in England.

      A storyline in the Sullivans, supposedly set in Holland, was mainly filmed in Melbourne, although some location filming was in Holland. I believe the London scenes involving Grace Sullivan (filmed before Lorraine Bayly took a break from the show) were also filmed in Melbourne.

      And Neighbours’s storyline where Debbie Martin and Rick Alessi go to a Michael Jackson concert in London – although some location filming was in London, interior scenes were in Melbourne.

      And one more- Marnie Reece Wilmore, aka Debbie, features in the movie Queen of the Damned with Stuart Townsend and Aaliyah, featuring in scenes meant to be set in Los Angeles, but actually filmed in Melbourne.

  8. Richardpd

    October 19, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    I’ll have to see if it turns up On Talking Pictures or one of the other Film oldies channels.

    Some films have really odd casts, especially when it’s an American A lister or 2 with a cast British actors seemingly picked at random out of Spotlight or fancied doing a supporting part in a film rather than getting a big part a TV series. Some 1980s telemovies have some even more bizarre casts & locations.

    Back to the Shipping Forecast, I remember listening to one in a Geography lesson, with my teacher saying we don’t have to memorise all the areas. Luckily my Weetabix Atlas has a map with them all, so I can check where the likes of Malin & Dogger cover.

    There is a similar broadcast on French radio which I assume also includes the areas in the Channel & Atlantic.

  9. George White

    November 27, 2021 at 11:05 am

    THe forecast also appears in North Sea Hijack at the bits shot at the long-forgotten Galway Airport.

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