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52 Years ago a British Pathé film crew left Felixstowe harbour on the tender 'Offshore 1' for a visit to Radio Caroline's MV Mi Amigo. The footage of their 2 day film shoot was heavily edited and ended up as a 3 minute item, used as part of a short Pathé cinema special about 'Water'.
The Pathé archive recently published this 'Water-clip' on YouTube where many of you may have seen it. The picture quality and lighting of the professional cameraman were pristine, since it was shot on 35mm cinema film (without sound, just commentary and stock music added).
The young successful 'pirate' Radio Caroline got a bit of a tendentious outdated treatment by Pathe's commentator - representing the establishment in those days.
BUT... what interested me most was the fact that British Pathé also made 7 minutes of outtakes available online, albeit without any sound or colour correction. Outtakes consisting of many short fragments spread out over two files and in random order, but showing many details, scenes and DJ's on the Mi Amigo.
After analyzing all material it became clear to me that - when put back together in the right order, combined with audio, music and the original 3 minute item - the result should be a unique, high quality detailed representation of what life looked like on the Mi Amigo in this early, exciting period (late summer 1965).
Lately I restored hundreds of old photographs and video material for my iBook 'Pirate Radio Ships in the 70's' and since I'm a multimedia producer with a Final Cut Pro X editing set, I just could not resist the challenge, had to give it a try, see what it would look like.
So I set out for a complete re-edit, this time using every single frame available, putting all fragments back in the right order. Had to find the tunes of the DJ's and other music from that period (Pathé never recorded audio with the film). Searched many archives to find audio of the original text spoken by DJ's Dough Kerr, Paul Noble and Gary Kemp and was lucky enough to find it! Syncing it up as good as possible, adding background sound and effects (like seagulls, generator sound and typewriters) and a music soundtrack to the multitrack mix. Painstakingly colour grading all fragments to make them match and to revive the real colours.
The result is amazing and also a bit confusing. The pristine colours and sharpness make it hard to imagine all this happened half a century ago. We see a young and excited 22-year old Tony Blackburn enjoying the tender trip, looking up to his then boss: senior DJ Doug Kerr. The film crew used professional film lighting in all shots and it shows: detailed colour views of the studio, engine- and transmitter room, bridge and the guys playing chess on deck.
Tony Blackburn is featured extensively and other DJ's seen in action are: Gary Kemp, Paul Noble, Simon Dee and Dough Kerr, assisted by engineer Patrick Starling. Keith Skues and Bryan Vaughan can be seen briefly, leaving on the tender.
The featured tender Offshore 1 is a legendary ship as well, being the tender for both Caroline and Radio London. She had a second career in the 70's as Radio Northsea's 'Trip Tender' and is still being used for fishing trips out of Scheveningen in Holland.
To my knowledge this is the best available document on offshore radio and Radio Caroline in the 60's, the inspiration and 'source code' for all that was to happen later, Enjoy!