Know Your Car

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Know Your Car is Delia's 58-second version of Maurice Abrahms' 1930s hit Get Out And Get Under, recreated using car sounds as music for a cartoon sequence[1] of a Do-It-Yourself car maintenance programme Family Car, produced by Stanley Hyland.[1][2]

I always immensely enjoyed doing funny programmes. There was one called Family Car, a do-it-yourself maintenance programme, for which they wanted lighthearted cartoon-type music. I worked out the four-stroke cycle of an engine and made suitable push … suck … bang … blow … noises. I used the tune Get Out and Get Under, but I made it on simulated car horns and cut it together very carefully. The music worked all right, but it was turned down because one particular car had been used for the series and the manufacturers didn't really want my efforts to be associated with their product.[3]

Brian Hodgson also says that it was never used,[4] and in Desmond Briscoe's script for the Radiophonic Workshop in Concert event, he says:

We decided to use the music hall song 'Get Out and Get Under', which seemed singularly appropriate, and it was agreed that we should realise it in our terms, but the producer found he had a problem - as you know, the B.B.C. doesn't intentionally advertise, but you can't do a programme on car maintenance without using a real motorcar, and so it was agreed with the Society of Motor Manufacturers that a B.M.C. car should be used - but then I think the B.B.C. were worried that the B.M.C. would think that the B.B.C. thought that B.M.C. cars sounded like our Family Car, even if our motor horn is more musical, and it does break into Waltztime.[5]

The track list of the album BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 21[6] and the Radiophonic Database entry for TRW 5075 ("Family Car")[1] date the work to 1963, while the entry for TRW 6127 ("Know Your Car '64")[2] dates it to 1964 and says the series was first broadcast on 4th June 1964.


The Performing Right Society's list of works by Delia Ann Derbyshire has:

Title: Family Car
Writer(s): Derbyshire Delia Ann
Publisher: BBC Worldwide Music
Creation date: 11 August 1999


  • DD228: Mechanical sounds and other tracks


Know Your Car - Spectrogram.jpg


  • Broadcast on 4th June 64 on BBC1.[2]
  • Released on BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 21 in 1979.
  • Released on The BBC Radiophonic Workshop - A Retrospective in 2008.
  • Gnutella reports a 1.34MB MP3 file
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 5075: "Family Car": "Television Do-It-Yourself car maintenance programme, music for cartoon sequence.".[1]
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 6127: "Know Your Car '64"[2]
  • The BBC Sound Archive's tape TRW 6992: "Family Car" (Dick Mills, 1969) "Copy of TRW 5075 for Staff Training" is missing.[7]
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 7031: "Get Out and Get Under": Copy made by Dick Mills in 1969 for Sue Booth of Radio Stoke on Trent".[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Tape Library List entry for TRW 5075
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6127.
  3. Delia, quoted in The BBC Radiophonic Workshop: The First 25 Years, p.85.
  4. Special Sound, p.98 note 50, quoting Brian Hodgson's brochure notes for album BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 21.
  5. DD125609: Desmond Briscoe's script for the Radiophonic Workshop in Concert, p.4.
  6. Track listing for BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 21 on
  7. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6992.
  8. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 7031.