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Desmond Briscoe

Harry Desmond Briscoe (born Birkenhead, 21 June 1925; died 7 December 2006) was a composer, sound engineer and studio manager. He was the co-founder and original manager of the pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

A drama studio manager for the BBC in the 1950s, Briscoe began to develop an interest in the use of electronic and electroacoustic techniques as a source of material for productions. Along with Daphne Oram, he worked on the BBC Radio production of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall (Tx:13th January 1957), Giles Cooper's The Disagreeable Oyster (Tx:15th August 1957), and Frederick Bradnum's Private Dreams and Public Nightmares (Tx:7th October 1957). These works featured some of the earliest electronic effects used by the BBC and highlighted the need for a facility to provide such material. In 1958, Briscoe and Oram founded the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, with a remit to provide material for use in BBC radio and television programmes. Some of his first work with the workshop involved providing sounds for the popular science-fiction serial Quatermass and the Pit. Under his direction the Workshop grew from being a small back room department to being one of the most acclaimed electronic studios in the world. He remained with the Workshop until 1983, although he stepped back from organisation duties in 1977. In 1983, with Roy Curtis-Bramwell, he wrote a retrospective of the Workshop entitled The First 25 Years: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

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