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  Your 100 Best Tunes



Alan KeithThe show was first heard on the Light Programme on  Sunday 15 November 1959. The original title was 'The 100 Best Tunes In The World'. Alan Keith, who came up with the idea of the programme, was originally contracted for a 13 week run. The show broadcast live from Broadcasting House. The first series featured Alan's own selections from his research with music publishers. The series was so popular that the Light Programme planners extended its run. The letters poured in and on 12 February 1960 the programme changed its name to Your 100 Best Tunes. Its time slot was eventually extended to an hour. When the Light Programme ceased in 1967 Your Hundred Best Tunes found a home on Sunday evenings at 9pm on BBC Radio 2.


Listeners' polls were organised - the last of these was held in the BBC's 75th anniversary year, 1997.


The top ten listener votes were:

1. In the Depths of the Temple (The Pearl Fishers) - Bizet

2. Finlandia - Sibelius

3. The Water Music - Handel

4. Rusalka s Song to the Moon (Rusalka) - Dvorak

5. Ode to Joy - Symphony No 9 - Beethoven

6. Adagio from Cello Concerto in E Minor - Elgar

7. The Nuns' Chorus (Casanova) - J. Strauss II

8. Piano Concerto No 2 in C Minor - Rachmaninov

9. Suite - The Planets - Holst

10. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth (Messiah) - Handel


The show was a favourite listen for many. The late Earl Spencer, father of Diana Princess of Wales, declared it one of his radio highlights and in 1988 he even presented the show whilst Alan was on holiday. Poet Ursula Vaughan Williams and distinguished oboist Lady Evelyn Barbirolli have also presented the show.


Alan passed away in 2003 aged 94, the longest serving and oldest presenter on British radio. He had presented the show for 44 years and had already taken the decision to step down with a recorded farewell programme.



Alan Keith 13th October 2002

  • Richard Baker presented the show until January 2007 when it was finally axed to make way for a re-scheduled Melodies For You.



On Radio Rewind;

Singles Chart History

Alan Freeman

Dale Winton


On BBC Radio;

BBC Official Chart Show (Radio 1)

BBC Pick of the Pops (Radio 2)



Comments (3)

0/5 (0)
Bob Smith (Dunfermline) says...
Joan and Alistair's historical interests are totally welcomed and agreed. If it was returned I recommend Joan's offer to be host in this modern day environment - Alan Keith had a reassuring manner and the music played reflected that - Joan's appreciation indicates an appreciation of qualities nearly gone. My early family life welcomed 9pm on a Sunday night.
A demand is there for reintroduction but it is hard to find on BBC Radio online.
29th October 2017 9:41pm
Alistair Wills (St Albans) says...
This radio programme was for me the highlight of the week as far as radio listening was concerned. I really enjoyed the mixture of music played and as Joan has said, I would be so happy if the BBC would reintroduce the programme on a Sunday night. Since its demise, Sundays have never been the same, I would listen to Sunday Half Hour and the Alan Keith on a regular basis. There must be a demand for its reintroduction surely?
2nd October 2017 12:27pm
Joan Hammond (Forest Gate London E) says...
Alan Keith's programme introduced me to the wonderful world of classical music at a very young age. His voice was sincere, honest and a pleasure to listen to. I really do wish the BBC would put 100 best tunes back on the air. I would be very pleased to host it - free!!
7th August 2016 9:01pm
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