Bolton School Senior Boys

Old Boy Mark Radcliffe Judges Battle of the Bands

Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe returned to Bolton School today to judge the school's annual Battle of the Bands competition. Mark left the School in 1976 and has gone on to become one of the country's most renowned broadcasters, working for the BBC for many years with shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 as well as regularly anchoring the Glastonbury coverage. So what better person to choose the best up and coming band at Bolton School?

Four groups took to the stage, all eager to impress with their indie music; Desperados, Battleship Lime, Strangeways and Mancatt. In what was a close competition, Battleship Lime ran out the winners with Mark Radcliffe congratulating them on their creativity and some great drumming. 

Mark certainly knows a thing or two about drumming, as this was his role in The Berlin Airlift, his group whilst at school back in the 70s. He was joined on the day by old bandmates Ross Warburton (who had played rhythm guitar) and Andy Wright (bass guitar). He also got to meet some of his old teachers, including Charles Winder, who inspired him with a love of English before he went on to the University of Manchester.  The evening before, Mark had performed on drums at Rufus Wainwright's sold-out Manchester Apollo concert as part of a Sky Arts documentary series called First Love.

On stage in the school's Arts & Conference Centre, Mark told the boys: "This sort of thing was not allowed in my day!  I've just been in the Headmaster's study and it still makes me nervous. My old school report said my academic studies were suffering as I was spending too much time concentrating on music - still it turned out okay didn't it? There's been some great music today and I can see this is still a great school so my advice to you is to appreciate it and enjoy it!"

The Battle of the Bands event was attended by senior school boys and girls and raised funds for Buskaid, which helps young black musicians in South African townships.

Watch the You Tube clip of the competition

Read Mark's reflections on his time at Bolton School and his favourite teacher, Mr Charles Winder


Mark Radcliffe

Mark Radcliffe returned to Bolton School to judge Battle of the Bands

Mark Radcliffe with the winning band Battleship Lime

Mark Radcliffe with the winning band Battleship Lime

Battle of the Bands

Strangeways came a close second