I have eight articles currently, the History of Music, the History of Midi, the History of my Musical Creations, the History of my BBC Micro Music, a Brief History of the Single, Technology and Media in 1996, Autographs and Tomorrow's World - The Jam Spreading Myth.
In the 70s and 80s I used to collect autographs. I would write to many television programmes or presenters asking for a signed photo and I would get a picture back and sometimes a letter. I've scanned in quite a few of the ones I had and I thought I would give some details about how I got them. Don;t forget to check out the links in the text to video clips on YouTube.
I first started with John Noakes and Lesley Judd. I had missed the Peter Purves/Valerie Singleton presenters, but I would write every time a new presenter joined the team. Usually it was one photo per signature, but they sometimes did a group shot and had everybody sign the photo. I was particularly pleased with the the one of Simon Groom with Goldie as a puppy, and when I got the group photo you could see how much Goldie had grown. I also watched Magpie on ITV so I got their autographs as well (I missed getting Susan Strank's autograph though).
When they announced that Carrie Fisher was going to appear on Blue Peter the following week, I wrote to the team asking for her autograph. It was a pleasant surprise when I got Mark Hamill's as well as he wasn't due to appear on the show. You can see their appearance on Blue Peter via YouTube.
I also got Mark Wing-Davy's autograph the same way, when they were going to have a item about the mechanical head used for the television series The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, where he played Zaphod Bebblebrox
I enjoyed comedy, so I started with a few comedians who were on the telly at the time. Les Dawson put a personal note on his, but the photo was folded when I got it in the post. I seem to have two from Matthew Kelly, along with a letter from him. It did get a bit annoying when you asked for a the team's autographs and only get one. Cannon and Ball sent a nice photo (as you can see), and Mike Yarwood sent a good note along with a signed photo.
Not The Nine O'Clock News was a favourite programme and I wrote to each member of the classic team individually. It was interesting to see how they all replied. Mel Smith sent a large photo, Pamela Stephenson eventually sent a small picture with a humourous letter from her management company appolgising for the delay, Rowan Atkinson sent a rather strange picture and Griff Rhys Jones didn't have any photos, so sent me a letter explaining that instead.
I have two of Kenny Everett as i wrote to him care of Thames television when he was doing the Kenny Everett Video Show. I knew he was on Capital Radio and I asked for a badge (as I collected them as well) and he wrote back saying that I would have to write to Capital for that, which I duly did.
Trevor Banister and Mollie Sugden opened a knitting store nearby, so I went along to get their autographs. This was one of the few times I actually met the person I was getting the autograph from. The only other time this happened was when I went to a charity event and met Roy Kinnear.
A few musical artists I have include Neil Innes, who had his TV programme the Innes Book of Records on BBC 2. Another personalised autograph and as I had asked about getting the music from the show he replied about the new album (which I bought). Both tracks mentioned in the letter 'Ape Man' and 'Eurovision' appear on the recent collection Le Duck's Box Set released this year as 'Ungawa' and 'Mr. Eurovision'. I haven't included Lene Lovich as she sent a postcard with her signature printed on it, much like Tom Baker did when I wrote to him.
I was an avid vinyl collector and one which I has was a 10 inch white vinyl of Basia, who used to sing with Matt Bianco. It had a double groove but I couldn't tell the difference between the two tracks on the one side, so I wrote to her to ask about it. Along with the nice signed photo she sent me a long letter explaining the differences, and Epic Records (her record company) also sent a biography on her.
The Dean Martin autograph was one I got for my mum. We knew he was performing in the Apollo Victoria theatre in London in 1983 and so wrote to him via them. It was a while until we got a reply by which time he had returned to the USA but he sent the large photo and addressesd to my mum, who was very pleased.
When I wrote to people I would always say that I enjoyed seeing them on whatever programme they were on, and this applied to the newscasters as well. I got a personal reply from Richard Baker, and a short letter from Anna Ford saying she was glad that I enjoyed watching News at Ten!
Now I was a bit disappointed when I wrote to Tom Baker to get his autograph as I got back a postcard with his signature printed on it, so it wasn't genuine, but when I tried again with Peter Davison I got a reply from his management company giving details of him appearing in Holding the Fort and Sink or Swim as well a Doctor Who. He was a busy actor at the time!
I wrote to several DJs, saying I listened to their show, but if I had done I wouldn't have had time to do anything else. Radio 2 had a standard format of a large black and white picture, which didn't really leave much room for an actual signature. Some DJs were under their own management company and had colour photos.
I only got two, Jim Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher and I think I wrote the same letter to both, saying our family were Labour/Conservative supporters (delete as applicable). The personal note from Margaret Thatcher was good, but there's nothing like getting a letter from 10 Downing Street.
A special mention should go to the autograph I got of Jenny Agutter. I shall forgive her mispelling my name (as quite a few of the stars did, despite me clearly spelling my name on my letter to them) as she wrote back a lovely letter as well. Her handwriting is most impressive, and she is one of only five people who truly wrote back to me, rather than signing a typed letter.
Breakfast TV had just started so I wrote to the programme and got five colour photos which the team had signed. I tried the same with Tomorrow's World and I got a nice black and white photo of the team but no one actually signed it! I also scanned an old letter I got from Pebble Mill, unfortunately not signed by any of the presenters, thanking me for writing to the programme, with an added note about the Wombles.