Music Makers (radio): Johnny Jack Tar

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started24th Sep 1975
ended3rd Dec 1975
last rpt30th Nov 1977
3 school years
duration20 mins
subject 🎶MusicMusic
age rangeAge 10-12Age 9-11 & Age 11-13
languageenIn English
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Johnny Jack Tar is a unit of the BBC schools radio series Music Makers from the 1970s, covering music for primary and secondary school pupils.

A comic opera story set in a Plymouth inn at the end of the Napoleonic War. Johnny has been discharged from the Royal Navy and returns to find his sweetheart, the landlord's daughter. But he remains at risk from the press-gangs searching the city for men to press into service as 'Jack Tars', or sailors.

The story is built around seven traditional British folk songs, using their original words, and so several characters are named to match the songs.


  • Molly!
  • My Mother Did So Before Me
  • The East Indiaman
  • Madam, I Will Buy...
  • A Woman's Work Is Never Done
  • The Ebb of the Tide
  • Faithful Johnny


  • Autumn 1975
  • Autumn 1977


Johnny Jack Tar written by John Emlyn Edwards
Music arranged by Peter Hutchings
Scored for early instruments by Christopher Ball
Producer Peter Hutchings


1977 teachers' notes

A 28-page pupils' pamphlet containing activities and the full play script and music for Johnny Jack Tar, illustrated by Peter Wane, with a percussion illustration by David Warner.

There was also a booklet of teachers' notes.

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