Science and Health

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Science and Health score

In 1964, Delia created a 57-second signature tune for a BBC radio series 'For Schools - Health and Science', which she named Science and Health,[1] "a succession of tumbling chords, descending with an elegance beyond almost anyone else."[2]

The programme was actually called 'For Schools - Health and Science', not 'Science and Health'. The Radio Times listing initially only credits the programme as "compiled by Michael Smee."[3] Later in the series, the Radio Times provided a fuller credit. "Reproduction 4: Bringing up children by Michael Smee Series produced and edited by Elizabeth Kilham Roberts"[4]

The Producer named in the tape library is Mrs E H Kilham Roberts. Elizabeth Kilham Roberts had a background as a chemistry graduate and science teacher and joined the BBC during WWII as an administrator.[5]

Science and Health appeared on BBC Radiophonic Workshop 21 with the subtitle "Mike's Choice", where the sleeve notes state:

A Signature tune for a Radio sex education programme rejected by the producer on the grounds that it was "too lascivious" - hence the subtitle

Part of Science and Health was reused for Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO

[In making Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO] I used just this one bar repeated which had [previously] been rejected from a science and health program for being too lascivious for the schoolchildren. It was like a science program... it was supposed to be about sex, but under another name. And then the producer had the nerve to turn down my music, saying it was too lascivious. It was just twangy things with electronic pick-ups, and I just used a single note and then did little glissandos on it and pitched it and treated it.[6]

It is not clear whether the Producer who made the infamous "lascivious" comment was Kilham Roberts or Smee. The subtitle used on BBC Radiophonic Workshop 21 could be read as ironic, but it seems more likely that it was the credited Producer and ex-teacher Kilham Roberts, who was from an older generation, not the actor Michael 'Mike' Smee.

In a draft version of the script for the Reeling and Writhing play, scriptwriter Nicola McCartney has the following dialogue about the event:

The Producer of that education programme -- that Science and Health series --
he called me. He says they can't use the tapes you sent up. 

He can't use them? 

No... He says that the sound arrangement/ 

/ Music. 



Is too lascivious for eleven-year-olds. 

Too "lascivious"? 

... Yes. Can you believe it? I said, "For goodness sake, man,
it's a programme about sex education!" 

He laughs. She stops working and is very silent.


The following lyrics were planned by Delia, fitting the melody of the piece[7]

I wanna be loved by you
I'm gonna be true to only you
I'm gonna be true to you
I wanna be loved by only you

but the versions released on disc are purely instrumental.


Here it is, typeset using Sibelius as PDF and MIDI files: Science and Health (score)



  • DD172: A copy of the final version


Science and Health - Spectrogram.jpg



  1. 1.0 1.1 The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6152.
  2. Robin Carmody in the article Wee also have sound-houses.
  3. BBC Genome: FOR SCHOOLS HEALTH AND SCIENCE BBC Home Service Basic, 11 March 1965 9.35 [1]
  4. HEALTH AND SCIENCE BBC Home Service Basic, 31 March 1966 9.35
  5. Women, Work, and the BBC: How Wartime Restrictions and Recruitment Woes Reshaped the Corporation, 1939-45
  6. Delia in the Surface interview.
  7. DD113144: Manuscript dated 15/7/64 with lyrics
  8. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6435.
  9. Louis Niebur's notes for DD204.