The legendary music collection of British radio pioneer and icon John Peel is being turned into an interactive online museum accessible by the public. The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts is working with partner Eye Film and Television on making the project a reality.
Peel (pictured) was the longest-serving and most influential of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting from 1967 until his death in 2004. In addition to his regular radio shows and other work, Peel championed countless indie and emerging bands, many hundreds of which were recorded performing live in what are now known as the Peel Sessions and include the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, the Smiths, Nirvana, Pulp, the White Stripes and Peel’s particular favorites the Fall.
The U.K. initiative is intended to be part of the Space, a new experimental digital service organized and funded by the Arts Council and the BBC. Arts Council England has committed up to £3.5 million (about $5.5 million) for the Space, while the BBC is developing the technological solutions and providing ongoing support.
Sheila Ravenscroft, Peel’s widow and patron of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, said this is the initial funding for what will be a permanent and growing resource.
“It is the first step in creating an interactive online museum with access to the entire collection, which is one of the most important archives in modern music history,” added Tom Barker, director, John Peel Centre for Creative Arts.
“The idea is to digitally recreate John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, whilst viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians,” said Frank Prendergast, Eye Film and Television’s creative director.
Another project being funded as part of the Scene is from the British Film Institute. It will live stream two newly restored silent films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Ring and Champagne, along with a series of short films documenting composer Daniel Cohen creating a score for Hitchcock’s The Pleasure Garden. There will also be an online education package exploring the score development with additional information contextualizing The Pleasure Garden.
The Space will run from May to October and will be available via computers, smartphones, tablets, Internet-connected TVs and as video on demand service.