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Old Grey Whistle Test (or The Old Grey Whistle Test, or OGWT, or just Whistle Test from 1984) was a weekly music programme usually broadcast on BBC2 which ran from 1971 to 1988. The programme concentrated on more serious rock and pop acts, compared to the BBC's other regular music weekly Top Of The Pops, and usually featured one or two acts playing live in the studio.

Links to Peel

Peel always seemed unhappy that anyone should mistake him for "Whispering" Bob Harris, the bearded long-time announcer of the late-night BBC2 rock music show in the 1970s.

JOHN PEEL (Whistle Test feature) Tools You Can Trust MARK RADCLIFFE13:44

JOHN PEEL (Whistle Test feature) Tools You Can Trust MARK RADCLIFFE

Peel introduces Tools You Can Trust session feature on OGWT and is interviewed by Kershaw

Although Peel never presented the show, he did make occasional appearances. Latter-day Whistle Test presenter Andy Kershaw recalled in an article in The Independent that after joining the BBC he first met Peel when he interviewed JP for the show aired on 18 December 1984, preceded by a film of Peel visiting the Maida Vale studios for the making of the session by Tools You Can Trust (recorded 1984-11-27, broadcast 05 December 1984).[1]

Another appearance seems to have been on 12 February 1985, with JP mentioning in his radio show that he had appeared Whistle Test earlier that evening "talking hogwash about videos" but looking good in his Bremen shirt (the team play in green).[2]

Terry & Gerry Ballad of a Nasty Man04:01

Terry & Gerry Ballad of a Nasty Man.wmv

Peel "plays" skiffle, after Terry & Gerry

Both Peel and John Walters appeared on the programme aired on 5 November 1985 in a special feature on skiffle music.[3] The video recording was also released officially as part of the OGWT Vol 2 DVD compilation.[1]

 During the traditional end of year special "87 Whistle Test 88" broadcast on New Year's Eve 1987, Peel introduces the music of The Bhundu Boys from Zimbabwe (who had already recorded two sessions), also interviewing Peter Gabriel, noted promoter of "world music". The feature was followed by a live performance by Gary Glitter. Peel favourites Grateful Dead were also featured later in the programme.[4] 


  1. BBC Genome - Whistle Test, BBC Two England, 18 December 1984 19.30
  2. not documented in the BBC Genome listings
  3. BBC Genome - Whistle Test, BBC Two England, 05 November 1985 19.00
  4. BBC Genome - 87 Whistle Test 88, BBC Two England, 31 December 1987 21.35

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