Focus: Bob Fischer (Mulgrave Audio) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Bob Fischer and I’m from Yarm. I’ve lived here since the blistering summer of 1976, when a plague of ladybirds flew in from the fields and descended mercilessly on my dad’s white Bond Equipe.  

What is it you do?
I guess a faithful band of middle-aged radio listeners might recall me from BBC Radio Tees, but I’ve just started a new venture. Myself and two fellow North Eastern writers, Andrew Orton and Andrew T Smith, have launched Mulgrave Audio. We’re a new company dedicated to producing original audio dramas. So it’ll be like the radio, but on CD. Or vinyl. Or whatever takes our fancy. Our first play is called Simon Perkins’ Lurgy and it’s about a 1970s teenager who is off school feeling grotty, and finds himself drawn into strange conversations with the announcer who introduces Open University programmes on TV. It stars Ethan Warren in the title role – he’s a brilliant young Teesside actor. And we got a genuine 1970s BBC continuity announcer to play Simon’s nemesis! Roger Limb, who later went on to compose music for Doctor Who and The Box of Delights. Oh, and the main score is by Teesside musician Ben Hopkinson – who I guess lots of people will know from By Toutatis and Kingsley Chapman’s old band, The Murder. He composed a lovely soundtrack – it’s like Pink Floyd meets Peanuts.

How long have you been doing it?
We’ve literally just launched Mulgrave Audio. Simon Perkins’ Lurgy is our first release, and it comes out on 25th April. We hope to be here for the long haul, though.

What inspires you?
As a writer? The weird ambience of the 1970s. Fuzzy, unreliable analogue technology. That feeling of silence and stillness, of watching Open University modules with chickenpox on rainy Tuesday afternoons. In a broader sense, I guess Simon Perkins’ Lurgy is about loneliness, hypochondria, a nagging feeling of not belonging. Which sounds terribly serious, but we’ve tried to strike a balance between something that’s hopefully quite touching, but also has some very funny moments. Lots of the humour comes from Roger – it was 45 years since he’d last done a shift as a BBC continuity announcer, but he threw himself into the part with great enthusiasm. He still has “the voice”, and it makes me tingle.

Tell us about your work.
As well as Mulgrave Audio, I’m a pretty busy magazine writer these days – I write about weird stuff for the Fortean Times magazine, music for Electronic Sound and Shindig!, and I also write for the official Doctor Who Magazine. Bet you can’t guess what I write about for them? That’s right… Blake’s 7.  

What have you got coming up in the future?
All hands on deck for Mulgrave Audio at the moment! We’re already hard at work on the next release, which is a beautiful script by Andrew Orton. I can’t tell you too much about it, but it does feature the sentence “The clans of Fellfoul sat at the Grey Table of Morfanhearth”. He knows his fantasy inside out, and his script is absolute poetry.

Where can people find out more about you?
Everything you need to know is at Unless you want to know about the great Yarm ladybird plague of 1976, in which case you’ll have to track me down me in person. I’m usually at the Post Office on a Tuesday afternoon.

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