The Last Pirates: Britain's Rebel DJs

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The Last Pirates: Britain's Rebel DJs


As the rest of the BBC celebrates the anniversary of when Radio 1 sank pirate radio, BBC4 throws a curveball with this doc celebrating the pirate radio boom in 1980s London. Rapper Rodney P adds grit to the premise that the pirates who were to change the musical landscape were reflections of Margaret Thatcher’s entrepreneurial Britain. Grainy archive footage and interviews with the main players give a sense of the pirates’ adventures.

Last word goes to Trevor Nelson, who notes that former pirate DJs Jazzie B, Norman Jay and himself now have OBEs and MBEs, so what they were doing couldn’t have been that wrong.


Rodney P's career as a rapper would not have been possible without the lifeblood of pirate radio airplay in the 1980s. Here, he presents an alternative history of Britain during a time of entrepreneurialism and social upheaval, with archive and music that celebrates a very different side of Thatcher's Britain. His story details how land-based pirate radio broadcasters created a platform for black music, changing the soundtrack of Britain for ever. Featuring contributions by DJs, station owners and Department of Trade and Industry enforcers.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rodney P Edwards
Director Jaimie D'Cruz
Producer Vanessa Van-Yeboah