Big Wood Tales

Uncle Bill and his Tales
I received many requests for help to find these great Uncle Bill stories that first aired on BFBS during the 60s and lived on on BFBS during the following years. A big thanks to BFBS's own Richard Astbury who kindly helped us with the search and got hold of a copy for our BFBS Radio Archive. So the entire series is there for all the fans listed below. Enjoy this trip down Memory Lane! :)

Update 2015-02-03:

Following to the success of the Big Wood Stories which I received some more episodes from a fan who recorded them off BFBS Radio when they were initially broadcast. Uncle Bill stories that first aired on BFBS during the 60s and lived on on BFBS during the following years. A big thanks to Kevin Lach who kindly more stories for our BFBS Radio Archive. Enjoy this trip down Memory Lane! :)

Before with have some more audio stories Also I received a written story narrated by Keith Kelly from the United Kingdom:


Great idea for a trip down memory lane!

I was in Iserlohn with the Royal Engineers during the 70s and there was an occasion when the Regiment had an open day, basically to show the wives and Kids what the blokes actually did at work.

There was a sort of mini fairground, rides on armoured vehicles etc etc AND a beer tent, run by the Corporals Mess. BFBS, before the event, showed great interest and promised to send someone along.

Uncle Bill arrived, quite early in the day, accompanied by the BFBS Outside Broadcast Unit, and they set up their gear next to the beer tent. Throughout the day various events were covered, live, on the radio. Bill seemed to be spending a lot of time in the beer tent, not forgetting the rather boozy lunch in the Sgts Mess!

The time arrived for Bill to do his stuff and a hush fell over the sports fields as we listened to him, broadcasting to the entire Free World LIVE! At the end Bill did what Bill always did and said “Goodnight Children, Everywhere”.  Spontaneous applause erupted from the gathered throng outside the trailer and Bill, not realising he was still ON AIR said, in a very loud, slurred voice,

“That will shut the little fuckers up for another night”

How I, and many around me, didn’t suffer a heart attack at that very moment I will never know.

Very Funny!


And now it is time for some more stories as told by Uncle Bill:

038 - Mr Owl and the Bishop's ring
039 - Aunt Daisy's Potted Plant
040 - The old windmill
041 - The water cress adventure
042 - The secret of the castle library
043 - Badger's motorbike and sidecar
044 - Mr Ospray's magic
045 - A game of golf
046 - The bells of St. Francis
047 - Rumpus at Big Wood Primary School
048 - Greenfly
050 - The Highwaymen
051 - Bramble Pie
052 - The Ten Tennis Balls
053 - The North Bay Branch Line
054 - Operation Thatch Cover
056 - Mr. Owl and the Fire-Fighting Exercise
057 - The Luxury Cruise
058 - The Silver Jubilee Visit
059 -  Owl's bi-plane Hetty-incomplete
060 -  The Jam Runners - incomplete
061 -  The trip to the sea
062 -  The long weekend

Peter McDonagh (PMcD) from BFBS (He of BFBS Angora) - wrote on his Facebook page the following note after seeing that the Big Wood Tales are on the BFBS Radio Archive website here:

Juergen Boernig, BFBS's archivist in Germany, in conjunction with Richard "Asters" Astbury, MBE, has located and placed in the public domain the tales written and performed in the 60s and 70s by Uncle Bill - William Charles Boyden-Mitchell, possessor of the only airtime voice which made Brian Sewell sound common. I was lucky enough to see at first hand the impact of these stories on HM Forces when I flew out for a Directorial BFBS visit to Hohne. This was the home of the 9th/12th Lancers and their Scimitar Tanks. Their Officers' Mess was an ex-Nazi mansion in the deepest woodland. One lunchtime, with Station Manager Steve Britton, we were driven in convoy on Scimitars to this Wolfschanze, and, standing on the steps of the Mess, I was told by the CO how his officers used to rush back from exercise to undergo a daily weekday ritual with Uncle Bill on BFBS.

As Bill started his Big Wood story for the day on the radio (they lasted about 11 minutes each), every officer would pull the cork from an individual 75cl bottle of duty-free scotch, and see how many inches of scotch he could glug while Uncle Bill's story ran. The prizewinner, who had drinks bought for him for the whole evening, was the officer who consumed the most scotch.

The outright winner was a renegade ex Rhodesian Forces Special Forces officer who managed a whole bottle. Sadly, he didn't last too long....

If the Soviets had known this was their opposition during the Cold War, they would have fucked off back to Russia many years before they actually did!

We salute Uncle Bill for his selfless contribution to the Cold War, and the Triumph of the West!


Tales from Big Wood: 01 - Big Wood Cricket Match

Tales from Big Wood: 02 - Gold And Cream Teas
Tales from Big Wood: 03 - High Wind In Big Wood
Tales from Big Wood: 04 - Mr. Owl & The Sorry Tale Of Summer Madness
Tales from Big Wood: 05 - Mr. Owl Strikes Oil
Tales from Big Wood: 06 - Mr. Owl & The Spring Flower Show
Tales from Big Wood: 07 - The Big Wood Local Defense Regiment
Tales from Big Wood: 08 - A New Look For The Regiment
Tales from Big Wood: 09 - War In Big Wood
Tales from Big Wood: 10 - Mr. Hedgehog's Secret
Tales from Big Wood: 11 - Mr. Owl And A Strawberry Trifle
Tales from Big Wood: 12 - Trouble On The Industry Front
Tales from Big Wood: 13 - Mr. Owl And The Bees
Tales from Big Wood: 14 - Mr. Owl And The Big Wood Firework Display
Tales from Big Wood: 15 - Mr. Owl And The New Bus
Tales from Big Wood: 16 - Mr. Owl And The New Council Offices
Tales from Big Wood: 17 - Mr. Owl Catches Fire
Tales from Big Wood: 18 - Mr. Owl Does The Cooking
Tales from Big Wood: 19 - Mr. Owl Gets A Surprise
Tales from Big Wood: 20 - Mr. Owl Goes Caravaning
Tales from Big Wood: 21 - Mr. Owl Goes On A Picnic
Tales from Big Wood: 22 - Mr. Owl In The Fog
Tales from Big Wood: 23 - Mr. Owl Paints The House
Tales from Big Wood: 24 - Wild Man Of The Woods
Tales from Big Wood: 25 - Mr. Owl Takes A Bath
Tales from Big Wood: 26 - Mr. Owl Under The Weather
Tales from Big Wood: 27 - On The Night Of The Blizzard
Tales from Big Wood: 28 - Owl And The Fishing Contest
Tales from Big Wood: 29 - Owl Goes Camping
Tales from Big Wood: 30 - The Big Wood Elections
Tales from Big Wood: 31 - A Visitor From Mars
Tales from Big Wood: 32 - The Black Leather Document Case
Tales from Big Wood: 33 - The Egg & Spoon Marathon
Tales from Big Wood: 34 - Thunderstorm In Bog Wood
Tales from Big Wood: 35 - Unveiling The Cathedral Clock
Tales from Big Wood: 36 - Water Rat's Grand Flying Tour


  1. Grew up with uncle bill had met him as he was a friend of my dad Bob Ixer who was the district commissioner of scouts in soest and uncle bill would attend st George's day parade my dad got him his scout uniform

  2. I remember these stories well from childhood quite a few years ago now. Today when I tried to re-listen to the stories with my 90 year old dad the links would not work. Can someone please investigate

  3. the website no longer connects? why?

    1. Big Wood Tales are here:

  4. lovely memories. Badger and Owl, unforgettable. Cologne in the 70ies

  5. Loved Uncle Bill and Badger. Brownie trip to studios was amazing.
    We have a saying in our family of "don't care only like cabbage" dad thinks it came from Tales from Big Wood. Can anybody else remember this? Nicky x

  6. The Big Wood Tales and other archives are here ...

  7. If anyone has the cassettes of these please leave a message. Thank you.