William met his long term girlfriend Zahra d'Aronville while both were at university, where Zahra was studying Zoology. After graduating, the couple moved to Newcastle, where Zahra was working as a zoologist at an aquarium, where she later was promoted to management level . In 2008, they decided to get married at St Andrew's church in Great Finborough, Suffolk.
Father And SonEdit
John Peel often mentioned his son on his radio shows and in one television documentary in 1999 called Father And Son, he talked about his relationship with William and his criticism of his bedroom hygene. Later on in his BBC Radio One show from 01 September 1999, Peel apologised privately and publicly to his son William on air about embarrassing him.
Links to Peel ShowsEditThe list comes from the database of this site and is incomplete. Please add further information if known.
- 13 January 1976: Peel is proud of his first child's birth named William.
- 25 January 1978: (JP: 'And that's William Ravenscroft the trainee football hooligan, who has a nasty way of getting up around this time to listen to his father's radio programmes.')
- 10 January 1979: Peel plays a Residents track to mark the upcoming third birthday of William, "who runs Peel Acres with an iron hand."
- 30 April 1979: (JP: 'I’ve been going to see Liverpool since I was seven years old, so mine may not be a totally unprejudiced view, but I think Kenny Dalglish is the best football player I have ever seen. And to see whether anyone agreed with me I borrowed a BBC tape recorder over the weekend and went out in the fields and lanes and byways around Peel Acres and spoke to one or two people in the area. The first person I spoke to was a young man and I asked him what he thought of Kenny Dalglish.') '(Child: 'Kenny Dalglish is magic!') '(JP: 'Thank you, William.')
- 29 October 1979: Damned: Smash It Up (session) (JP: “That was for all of the people who requested the record at my gig last night, which was at Wollaston near Northampton with my mate Big Bob, and I’d forgotten to take the record along with me, although I managed to bluff my way through most of the evening by promising that I would play it. Quite clearly a very good weekend indeed. I mean, a good win for Liverpool on Saturday. And William’s verdict on Match of The Day was thus…") (William: “Kenny Dalglish is magic!”) (JP: “Quite right too. Then I went to see the Specials and the Selector and Madness on the Friday night in Norwich and that was really excellent as well.”)
- 05 December 1979: JP: "For those of you who missed the football scores tonight, it's Norwich 1, Liverpool 3. That means Johnson 2, Dalglish 1. "Kenny Dalglish is magic!" Ah, you're right William."
- 13 January 1983 (TOTP): (JP: …and now at No.17 in the charts, happy birthday William, this is the theme music from ‘E.T.’)
- 04 March 1985: Peel mentions going to Holland with William (age 9) and enjoying spending time with his son, including visiting an excellent Turkish Restaurant.
- 17 March 1986: JP: "Our technical man just asked me if the Pig's Pools win is going to change our lives. Well, after we'd bought William a new pair of trainers and we paid the milk bill and bought a round of drinks, it was all gone I'm afraid."
- 23 February 1987: Peel had been to see the band Europe in Birmingham with his son William. "It was one of those things you go to really expecting to be able to tear it to shreds to be honest with you, actually in a sense there wasn't enough there to dislike. By the end of it I felt quite sympathetic towards them. You'll be appalled to hear that, I don't doubt, some of you, but... a good show, there's no getting away from it. They could actually play quite well and it was quite entertaining. Perhaps I'm mellowing in my old age." (Review is reprinted in Olivetti Chronicles, p.64)
- 15 June 1987: (JP: 'You probably don't realise that we get industrial injuries in this job. I may have mentioned this to you before, but I spend so much time opening envelopes with the side of my thumb that there's a kind of permanent part of me thumb which is all very dry and cracked, and from time to time it starts bleeding rather profusely: it's doing it at this very moment. I just tell you this so that you'll feel sorry for me, but I don't think it's actually severe enough for me to be able to claim any compensation from any kind of industrial injury compensation board, if such a thing even exists any longer. I've also got a twisted ankle, because this afternoon I spent playing football with our William, because he'd got the day off school. Quite interesting, because he had to go to a specialist in Ipswich this morning because he's growing two rows of teeth. It's not unusual in crocodiles, but fairly unusual in sub-humans, I think. Looks fairly interesting, though. I've been saying he ought to leave it as a kind of feature, but he thinks it ought to be sorted out: pick the best of them and take the rest out.')
- 30 June 1987: (Reads a letter from a listener who says, 'If you have four children, why do you only ever mention William, or are all four of them called William?', to which JP replies, 'That's not a bad idea. If I'd thought of calling all four of them William, I might have gone ahead and done it.')
- 17 August 1987: John ponders exactly how his weekend guests from Germany managed to get through seven pints of milk, and has an argument with William about saxophone playing (or more precisely, the lack of it.
- 01 August 1988: Amayenge: 'Kanyama (Compilation LP-Shani! The Sounds Of Zambia)' (WOMAD) (JP: 'Got to see them at the weekend: they were quite wonderful....Saw them playing in the South Park at Oxford, an abbreviated set by all accounts, but I had to leave before the end because our William wasn't feeling terrifically well, and we had a three-hour drive to get home with him in some pain, but he still didn't regret being there for a minute. It was a wonderful performance....Attila The Stockbroker was there, and a great number of other congenial people as well.')
- 19 December 1988: JP: "I warned you at the beginning of the programme that there was going to be a moment of self-indulgence, as if the whole thing wasn't self indulgent. Our William and our Alexandra are at a school called Combs Middle School in Suffolk and they put on a really good, I mean genuinely good show each year. Last year's came second in some kind of national competition and they entered the same competition this year with something called 'A Disuse Waves The Rules'. It has music by Simon Clover and lyrics by Ian Cristle, who are both teachers at the school, and our William and Alexandra go there, and they allow anybody who wants to take part in the thing at all can, which means obviously there are a lot of people in it. I went along to see it last week, really expecting you know to be vaguely, frankly bored by the whole proceedings, and it was really very, very good. I mean, so good that I went along to see it again, and not just because our Alexandra is in the chorus on this particular thing I'm about to play you. And you can hear William playing alto-saxophone about one minute and forty-two seconds into it, in case you want to listen that closely. As I say, very self-indulgent, but it means a lot to me." Combs Middle School: Beach Boy (from 'Odysseus Waives The Rules')
- 13 July 1989: (JP: 'I mentioned in last night's programme that our William had gone, with one or two other people, to see the Fall playing in Cambridge last night, the first time he'd ever seen them, and he'd never expressed any interest in the records and things, but apparently he came back home, his eyes with a strange glitter in them, asking where Dad kept his Fall records. So I'd better divert him back to noise, I think.')
- 19 October 1989: William Ravenscroft (Peel's eldest son): "Hi I'm William and I'm from Stowmarket. I'm 13 and I just like to say hi to my brother Thomas and my sisters Alexandra and Florence. And by the way Dad, you left your room like a pigsty. The radio is switched on and the clothes all over the floor. I want it tidied up before you go to bed. OK".
- 09 November 1989: Peel reminds the listeners that they can start sending in their entries for the Festive 50. A little later, he reveals, "Speaking of the Festive 50, our William has announced his intention of submitting his list for the Festive 50 this year. It's an important moment you know in a boy's life, when he submits his first Festive 50 and I'm quite moved by all that. Unfortunately, Florence is also planning to submit hers and I think it will be Kylie all the way - not that I object to Kylie that much."
- 13 December 1989: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- 24 December 1989 (BBC Radio East Anglia): (JP: 'I'd love to be able to play guitar like Bo Diddley, in fact, I'd like to be able to play guitar like anybody at all. Somebody did give me a guitar in fact, a couple of years ago, for my birthday, well a year and a half ago, along with a little practice amp, but our William took the practice amp for his keyboards in his bedroom and I've not seen it since. Then some other person, unnamed because they wouldn't own up to it, broke one of the strings. So it sits in my room and remains unplayed. Perhaps this'll be the year when I become a guitar hero, who can possibly say.') (However, this actually appears to have been a Christmas present from the previous year: see 26 December 1988.)
- 24 December 1989 (BBC Radio East Anglia): (Begins with JP chatting to his son William, for whom he plays the next track.) Shamen, 'Omega Amigo (12 inch)' (One Little Indian)
- 19 March 1990: Would Be's: Must It Be (session) (JP: 'Top radio critic Ken Garner with whom William and I stayed in Glasgow was very much looking forward to this session and I don't think he'll have been disappointed so far.')
- 11 July 1990: (JP: Our William is playing a solo tonight. This doesn't mean a great deal to you but it means a lot to him, he does a regular monthly gig near us in a restaurant and just usually does ensemble playing and tonight he's playing his first alto solo and he's a bit nervous about it and I'm trying to find an appropriate record to play him, should he be listening on his way to the do, and couldn't come up with anything really beyond this, which isn't appropriate but at least says William in the title.) Smiths: William, It Was Really Nothing (Rough Trade RT166) 7"/12"/CD: William, It Was Really Nothing
- 30 December 1990: (JP: 'If our William had voted in the Festive Fifty, I think he'd have voted for this.') Paris Angels, 'All On You (Perfume) (12 inch)' (Sheer Joy)
- 12 January 1991: Peel's talk of what the family had done for William's 15th Birthday
- 04 August 1991: (JP: 'Years and years ago, well about four or five years ago I venture, our William got keyboards and started messing around trying to record stuff at home, and to try and encourage him, I took him into our room and played him a record by 70 Gwen Party and said, "This is the kind of thing you can do with like limited resources in your own home," and he was much impressed by it.')
- 21 December 1991: Nirvana track Territorial Pissings track played for "our William if he's still up listening to his dad."
- 05 January 1992: Milk: 'Pyrosulphate' (Peel Session) (JP: 'Primordial...Our William's still fairly livid that I saw them in Stoke-On-Trent and he didn't.')
- 15 February 1992: Liverpool are playing Ipswich the following day (in the 5th round of the FA Cup). All the family are going except JP (preparing for the night's show) and William ("he's not very interested in football"). Peel: "Not torn exactly. Obviously I hope that Liverpool will win it, because I hope they will win everything, but I wish it wasn't Ipswich they were going to have to beat." The match ends in a 0-0 draw, although Liverpool win the replay and eventually go on to win the cup that season.
- 16 February 1992: (JP: 'Two great sessions tonight. Even our William agrees.') The sessions were from Even As We Speak and the Cranberries.
- 02 March 1992 (Ö3): Peel's son William is on a skiing holiday in Austria.
- 21 March 1992: William is in the studio, and JP urges him to play a choir sound on a synthesizer.
- 24 April 1992: (JP: ‘And I hope you heard them [The House Of Love] on Tuesday night on that concert on Mark Goodier’s programme from the Waterfront in Norwich, because they were exceptionally good I thought. I mean they only played a 30 minute set or so, but a lot harder than I thought they were gonna be; and just a real treat. As were Jacob’s Mouse from Bury St Edmunds, and of course most particularly The Fall. And as regular listeners will know a couple of weeks ago I saw them in Cambridge. Not disappointed, how could you be disappointed with The Fall, but I mean you know they weren’t absolutely at their peak, but they certainly were on Tuesday night. What a great gig it was. And I got to exchange pleasantries with Mark E Smith afterwards at a kind of showbiz do. You know just a kind of expressions of mutual whatever on a staircase as I left, but nevertheless great stuff. And he shook our William's hand and our William was much touched by that and quite rightly so. This is Big Black.’)
- 19 June 1992: (JP: ‘The first tune is William because our William has been doing his exams this week and has been in a thoroughly foul mood and this might cheer him up.’) Come: William (Peel Session)
- 07 August 1992: (JP: ‘And this is our William’s pick to click for the week.’) Hallucination Generation: Pulsation (12 inch EP – Somebody Give The Lord A Handclap) Thunderpussy (John gets the artist, record and label mixed up)
- 04 September 1992: Peel had just played at the Reading Festival. John recounts an amusing tale from the festival involving a bunch of 90s comedians and his son William....
- 19 September 1992: Peel tells how he and son William had planned to see Pond live earlier in the week but after a "ludicrous argument" they didn't go. The following track is played for him. Loudon Wainwright III: A Father And A Son (LP - History) Virgin (JP: 'Parallels our situation so closely it's uncanny, actually.')
- 07 November 1992: John failed to see Pond when they were at the Waterfront in Norwich due to having had a row with son William.
- 20 November 1992: (JP: ‘That’s enough of this nepotism.’ After asking his son William about the Bivouac gig at the Falcon.)
- 19 December 1992: (JP: 'If William is still listening, this is his choice for the programme.') 70 Gwen Party: 'Auto Killer UK (LP-The Optical Glass Empire)' (Snape)
- 25 December 1992: (JP: 'This was William's choice for tonight's programme.') Aphex Twin: 'Didgeridoo (12 inch)' (R&S)
- 26 March 1993: 70 Gwen Party: "Autokiller UK" (which "will bring great pleasure to our William, if he's listening...")
- 14 May 1993: (JP: ‘....by a curious coincidence the Pig and our William went to see them [PJ Harvey] play at the University of East Anglia this evening and by all accounts a perfectly startlingly wonderful night. And by how much I wish that I’d been there.’)
- 25 December 1993: (JP: 'All around the country, tension is rising as we move into the top eight of the Festive Fifty for this year...my thanks to my son William for lending me that.')
- 01 January 1994 (BFBS): (JP: 'This is a track which I keep coming back to.... and it's a song that always upsets me, I don't know why I always play it - you think - "He's been reading my diaries" it identifies so neatly the relationship between father and son at least as experienced between myself and our William, nearly 18.') Loudon Wainwright III: A Father & A Son (album - History) Virgin V2703
- 15 July 1994: Tribute To Nothing: ‘Can't Get Up’ (Peel Session) (JP: Well I’d like to dedicate that track to our William, who has a very similar problem to that.’)
- 28 July 1995: (JP: 'It's been an exhausting day, really, because last night I went to one of the Promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, first time I've been to one in about twenty years. It was all right, you know, I'd gone along at the invitation of a senior BBC person, there werer about twenty of us there. It was extraordinary: it was amazingly hot, as you might imagine in the Royal Albert Hall. And yet all of the other people who were there were all immaculately dressed, you know, mainly in white and things like this, and they seemed to be entirely undeterred by the heat: they all sat there looking as crisp as a lettuce while I was wearing a shirt. First of all, it had been in the washing machine next to our William's socks, I rather suspect, because as it got hot, as I got hot and the shirt got hot, this revolting kind of miasma rose up from it, and the smell was appalling, and anybody who met me and was speaking to me in the course of it must have thought, "This man has got serious problems of some sort or another". I sit there, and everybody else is crisp as a lettuce, and as fresh as you like, and I'm sitting there, and my shirt is like knotting itself about my body, and I can feel sweat running down the back of me neck into what little hair I've got and disappearing into my shirt, and my shirt is absolutely soaked, and everybody else remains as crisp as you like. The music is just about fine, I wish I could remember the man's name. There was a Russian man playing Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto: the only time for me that it came completely alive was when he was playing the kind of solo bits, you know. The orchestra just fine, a BBC Orchestra, but it was like Dick Dale when it got going. It was extraordinary. He was singing along with it....as he was thundering away at the piano.')
- 25 August 1995: (JP: 'When I was listening to this next record at home during the week, I was having a bit of a disagreement with our William about something, and I was making a forceful point, as we fathers do, and he waited until I'd finished speaking, and he said to me, "For God's sake, Dad! Why do you have to exaggerate absolutely everything you say about anything?"') Barrington Levy & Beenie Man: 'Murderer (7 inch-Murderation)' (Yaga Yaga Prod)
- 26 August 1995 (BFBS): JP gets a little choked up with pride when relating the fact that William got good enough grades to go to the university of his choice. "We're all very proud of him."
- 06 October 1995: A week of mixed emotions for John. He’s taken his son William Ravenscroft off to university. On the one hand he’s very proud of his son, on the other very upset that he was going.
- 29 December 1995: (JP: This is The Festive Fifty on Radio 1 coming live to you from Peel Acres: a rather abandoned Peel Acres as it is at the moment, because our Flossie and William just drove out for some reason, trying to see I think if the chip shop is still open. Frankly, I hope that it is.)
- 17 February 1996 (BFBS): (JP: 'I'm such an amusing chap that when Strange Fruit records, with whom I used to pick the tracks (never got any money out of it, I hasten to add, all those John Peel Session things, nothing to do with me financially at all), but they let me pick, me and my son William actually, picked the tracks for a Sub Pop compilation, and I was going to call it something enormously droll, like the Sub Pop Strange Fruit Greatest Hits LP Volume Three, just so people could try and collect One and Two. Ha ha ha, didn't exist, ha ha, what a waggish guy. Ha ha ha ha ha!')
- 25 May 1996: John apologises for not being able to get William into the Transglobal Underground gig.
- 09 October 1997 (BFBS): This show was recorded on 29 September: JP complains (again) that he cannot attend the Liverpool v. Celtic match (which in any case ended in a goalless draw) the following night. William did, however.
- 23 October 1997 (BFBS): (JP: 'An exciting moment at Peel Acres here last night, because my wife Sheila and myself actually managed to read out our first email address (I had a lot of stuff diverted here from other places where I work). I'm not up to speed with the technologies, as I pointed out before on these programmes, but we got our first email that we could actually read, and it's from our son William. As soon as we learn how to send one back again, what I'll do is pass on the address to you the listener to John Peel's Music On BFBS, so you can just, instead of having to send things through the head office as it were, you can just get in touch with me directly. That's pretty good, isn't it? I can't see anything wrong with that.')
- 23 December 1997: Panacea: 'Stormbringer (CD-Low Profile Darkness)' (Position Chrome) William Ravenscroft (DJ's son)
- 20 December 1998 (BFBS): William's slow but methodical filing system of Peel's collection allows him to play a track from the Rondelles LP minutes after claiming he couldn't find it.
- 22 December 1998: The first part of the 1998 Festive Fifty, compiled in conjunction with his son William.
- 29 December 1998: (JP: 'Before we play the number one record, it's my thanks to our son William, to Anita the producer, and to Joe Harland for compiling the Festive Fifty and relieving me of the burden, and....(to the others in the studio) you're supposed to be making some celebratory noises (they oblige). That's a bit too much, actually. That registers as a celebration in our house, anyway.)
- 20 February 1999 (BFBS): (JP: 'Spring is almost here, you know. I was recording this programme sort of late afternoon for you here on BFBS, and in the field across the road, I can see four whopping great rabbits from here, and doubtless there are more skulking in the hedgerows. I'm in the house on me own at the moment because my wife and William our son have gone to collect animal feed products: just cat food and chicken food and dog food and that sort of thing from a neighbouring village. It's the only connection we have with our most famous neighbour, Bill Wyman out of the Rolling Stones, formerly of the Rolling Stones. We share an animal feed product place: I think that puts me pretty close to the wacky world of rock-a-boogie.')
- 09 June 1999: Dedicates “fairly astonishing” track by Huck Don Phun track to son William, who has just found a job.
- 01 July 1999: Show from Peel Acres, with William on email duties. The “very strange” Huk Don Phun track is dedicated to him (as it had been on 09 June 1999).
- 01 September 1999: Peel offers public apology to son William for his comments about him on a TV show that went out as part of the 60th birthday programming (Father And Son). Says William accepting his apology had been the highlight of the previous evening.
- 08 September 1999: The Albert Ammons track is from the EMI Songbook Series album with songs chosen by Ivor Cutler, given to Peel for his birthday by son William’s girlfriend Zara.
- 23 September 1999: Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) allegedly “whipped” at pool by Peel’s son William, but this is denied by William himself.
- 24 November 1999: Start of show: "They took 20 seconds out of this programme, you know. I'm not forgiving about that sort of thing. Tonight we're down at the Maida Vale studios with L'augmentation and Woodbine who'll be playing for you later on, and the Peelenium reaches 1976, the year our William was born." The latter fact prompts a temporary title change by the Pig to the 'Willenium'.
- 20 January 2000: (JP: 'Only yesterday, we got a phone call from our William, who's in the Southeast of Asia at the moment, and he is actually at this very precise moment on holiday in Cambodia, which brings us rather spookily to number 14.') Dead Kennedys, 'Holiday In Cambodia (7 inch)' (Cherry Red)
- 13 March 2000 (BFBS): (JP: 'This is the band our William used to call the "Jimmy Jimmy Men" when he was a little lad.') Undertones: 'Jimmy Jimmy (7")' (Sire) (JP: 'Of course, William doesn't call the Undertones the "Jimmy Jimmy Men" any longer, but he is 24 now.')
- 14 March 2000: (JP: "Well, I bet that Simon is really excited about getting his prize. He'll but up with his mates, probably, standing at the door of the house, waiting for us to deliver the records to him. So I'll give him a ring now and tell him where we are. Hello, is that Simon? I've worked out that if you were to listen continuously day and night, you've got 28 days of continuous listening in front of you, and obviously you're unlikely to be able to do that, so it's going to be a long time before you've heard them all .. if you ever get to hear them all. I don't think we've got quite 2000, probably about 1750, but we will get you the others.) '(Sheila: "Do you want a Murray Mint William?") '(William: "No thank-you") '(Sheila: "What are you listening to?" '(William; "5Live") '(JP: "Well that's bloody useful. I was hoping he'd say 'Well I'm listening to the Pixies whatever, one of my favourite records', and then we could play it, but he's listening to the football on 5Live ... but that's how it should be too.")
- 16 March 2000: Introducing ‘Peter Gunn’: “This is the record that I used to maintain was the best record that have ever been made until ‘Teenage Kicks’ came along.” After the Elastica track that follows, which has a vaguely similar guitar riff, JP then plays again “the most sublime moment in all of recorded popular music, when the sax stops and Duane comes twanging in on his own.” Anita the producer claims to have never heard the record before. William apparently tells his dad to turn it down before he blows the speakers.
- 20 March 2000 (BFBS): Repeat of 13 March 2000 (BFBS)
- 20 September 2000: JP: This next is a wonderful set and I have 3 copies of it and I am going to send one of them to our Tom at university and another to our William at home in the far north of England and it’s a set called Ram Raiders Pt.1
- 09 October 2001: JP’s mood isn’t improved when a phone call from William reveals that Peel’s eldest son has a copy of the new Fall album – and Peel doesn’t.
- 27 December 2001: (JP: 'I have to tell you that members of my own family are so interested in the Festive Fifty that three of them have gone to the pub, William is watching the TV, and I'm not sure what the other one is doing.')
- 05 March 2002: JP: "I got a concerned phonecall from our William actually, while that record was playing, to say that his girlfriend was very disturbed indeed at the thought that I might actually have a hymen in a matchbox. I had to assure her that it was a rather tasteless joke."
- 07 January 2004: As a Christmas gift, William and partner Zahra had given Peel "an excellent book" of photographs for the most part taken along Route 66 in the US.
- 08 January 2004: Peel's production team decide to play a rendition of a musical card playing 'You're The One I Want' from the musical Grease to celebrate William's birthday on the 12th of January.