Saturday 8 June 1800 - 2000

Free film screening in the Transit Shed – no booking required

In this age of countless online and digital radio stations, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when pop music was rarely on air. But back in the early 1960s, the only station available was the old-fashioned, post-war BBC – until pirate radio burst onto the scene in 1964. Playing pop music 24 hours a day and broadcast from a ship just outside UK waters, Radio Caroline was a musical saviour for generations of British teens, creating celebrity DJs and a culture of rebellion. But by the end of 1990, it was all over… So, what happened?

Come and watch this fascinating Arena film, co-produced by Planet Pictures and the BBC, which follows the last devotees of our first pirate radio station. Broadcast in March 1991, Caroline 199 – A Pirate’s Tale is a story of something bright and new outside the mainstream and the huge waves it created.

After the film, listen to Rhoda Dakar, Anthony Wall and Belinda Zhawi in conversation with Jo Loosemore about the film and the reverberations of Radio Caroline, which can still be felt today. The event will also include a new poem inspired by the film by Shazea Quraishi.

Your Local Arena is a Lucy Hannah & Speaking Volumes co-production  featuring BBC Arena’s film archive. Funded by Arts Council England.

Your Local Arena is a unique project featuring iconic films from the archives of BBC TV’s Arena, the pioneering cultural documentary series. It includes new poems inspired by the Arena films and panel talks to explore the continuing relevance of the Arena archives today. The Your Local Arena concept was developed by Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes, with Arena’s award-winning director/editor Anthony Wall as creative consultant, and funded by Arts Council England.


About the panel

Jo Loosemore Radio maker. History finder. Theatre lover. Jo is a broadcaster, curator and actor. For the BBC, she has created radio dramas, documentaries and live programmes. This has included World War One at Home (in partnership with the Imperial War Museums) for network and local radio, regional tv and online. From Brazil to the Battlefield, the story of Exeter fighting footballers was broadcast on BBC 5 Live, and a series of features appeared on BBC Radio 4 and 4Extra. She also produced the Listening Project’s national tour for BBC Radio 4, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC local radio in partnership with the British Library, contributing the 1000th conversation to the national collection. Jo curated Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy – the national commemorative exhibition for 2020/21 at The Box, Plymouth, and was co-curator of Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America (national tour) alongside the Wampanoag Nation. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Plymouth.

Belinda Zhawi (b. Zimbabwe) is a literary & sound artist based in London and Marseille, author of Small Inheritances (ignitionpress, 2018) & experiments with sound/text performance as MA.MOYO. Her literary & sound works have been featured on various platforms including The White Review, Vogue, NTS, Boiler Room & BBC Radio. She’s held residencies with Triangle-Asterides, France; Cove Park, Scotland; Serpentine Galleries and ICA London and is currently a Brixton House Associate Artist 2022-24. Belinda’s the co-founder of literary arts platform, BORN::FREE. She is working on her first full poetry collection. photo credit: Theo Ndlovu



Rhoda Dakar began her musical career in 1979 as lead vocalist with all-female 2-Tone band, The Bodysnatchers. She went on to record with The Specials, The Special AKA and Madness, along with her solo work. She has seven gold albums and two silver covering these and other recording projects. As a collaborator, Rhoda has worked on singles with the Dub Pistols and The Interrupters, alongside Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. As a respected DJ she has toured with UB40, The Selecter and The Specials. She is also a writer of sleeve notes, most recently for Trojan Records. At the end of May this year, Rhoda released an album called Version Girl on Sunday Best Records. Official chart positions were No.1 on the Indie Breakthrough Chart, No.2 on the Indie Album Chart and No.10 on the Album Sales Chart. In addition, Rhoda is a patron of the Music Venue Trust and a director of Music Venue Properties.

Anthony Wall spent his early years in the east end of London. He studied at King’s College Cambridge. In 1974 he joined BBC radio as a studio manager. The same year he became the rock critic of the Morning Star and was the first journalist to interview Bob Marley for a national newspaper. Wall moved into television in 1978 and soon joined Arena, becoming one of the core directors/producers (1978-85) and then Series Editor from 1985 to 2018. He has won three BAFTAs, with numerous nominations and other awards from all over the world. His project Night and Day – The Arena Time Machine, a 24-hour evocation of a single day in the life of the planet, made entirely from the Arena archive, screened at the 2019 San Francisco Film Festival, where Wall and Arena received the Mel Novikoff Award, one of the festival’s highest honours, for their ‘contribution to cinema’.

Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistani-born Canadian poet, translator and educator based in London. Her poems have appeared in UK and US publications including The GuardianThe Financial TimesPoetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write (Saqi Books, 2017), Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic US, 2023) and Mapping the Future: The Complete Works Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2023). Books include The Glimmer (Bloodaxe Books, 2022), The Taxidermist (Verve Poetry Press, 2020), The Art of Scratching (Bloodaxe Books, 2015) and The Courtesans Reply (flipped eye publishing, 2012). Shazea is a creative writing tutor with the Poetry School and RHACC School of Ideas, and an on-going writer in residence with Living Words, an arts charity that works in creative partnership with marginalised people impacted by a dementia or ongoing mental health concerns. She is also a trustee on the board of English PEN.