Julia's Banjo (The Novel)is now available from: AMAZON BOOKS (Kindle Edition)
Other formats will be released shortly including: ePub, KOBO, Mobi and Paperback. The book will also be available from iTunes Books and W.H. Smith - Online.

Rob and Alan Fennah, a.k.a. ALTERNATIVE RADIO, made a rare appearance at the Pacific Road Arts Centre on Tuesday 29th January. Formed in 1982, Alternative Radio performed songs from their extensive back catalogue.

Rob Fennah said: “Over the last couple of years we have had to concentrate our efforts on Twopence which meant taking a break from performing live. Alan and I really enjoyed the Pacific Road gig and we would like to thank all our friends & fans who have followed us over the years."

Alan said: "It was great to perform as we used to with just an acoustic guitar, congas, electric drums and vocals."

A new album charting the music career of Rob & Alan Fennah can be downloaded from the Pulse website from next month. 'Lost & Found' - a collection of 30+ tracks, including out-takes demos & previously unreleased material will be available from the Pulse ‘download store’ from August 1. It features songs recorded by the company’s founders Rob and Alan Fennah over the last 30 years and includes material from their days in the band Alternative Radio. Alan said: “It’s common knowledge that CD album sales are down by 50% and downloads are up by 30 per cent, which is great news for us. As well as the Lost & Found compilation we are currently recording a new album and we haven’t ruled out doing a few live shows either. For more information about Lost & Found see this week's featured album.

Videos and live performances from the last 30 years can also be found on the Pulse website together with excerpts from ‘Twopence To Cross The Mersey’ – their smash hit musical version of Helen Forrester’s classic tale, which was staged at the Liverpool Empire in April.
<u>ALTERNATIVE RADIO 'Lost & Found'</u> ALTERNATIVE RADIO 'Lost & Found'
DOWNLOAD NOW Aug 1st 2007

An accompanying CD artwork & track listing PDF is now available (free with every download).

Jun 18 2007

1983 was an eventful year. Richard Noble broke the land speed record, Cabbage Patch dolls were the best selling toy, Hitler’s diaries were exposed as a hoax, oh, and James Bond made his first record. Well, Daniel Craig did - he wouldn’t become 007 for another twenty odd years.

Daniel and his pals had formed a school band called ‘Inner Voices’ and were about to enter a national competition run by the Trustees Savings Bank. The School had agreed to let them go into a professional studio to record their chosen song, ‘House of the Rising Sun’.

(Pictured Left to Right) Adam Brierley (Keys) Paul Donnelly (Drums) Andy Fennah (Rythmn Guitar) Danny Craig (Vocals) Paul King (Lead Guitar).

But when Alan Fennah, brother of rhythm guitarist Andy, turned up to produce the session he was in for a shock – the band didn’t have the money to pay for it. Andy Fennah said: One of our school teachers accompanied us and was supposed to be paying. I think she had assumed that, as the song was four minutes long, we would only need about ten minutes of studio time! The teacher was horrified when she found out that it would take hours - and wanted to call the whole thing off. ”

Not wanting to disappoint his kid brother, Alan stumped up the cash and the song was recorded with Daniel Craig taking the lead vocal. Alan said: “Danny came across as very quiet and unassuming lad but as soon as the tape started rolling he suddenly came alive. ‘House of the Rising Sun’ is a difficult song to sing as the verses are in different octaves. Given his young age I thought he made a very good job of it. I’m so pleased that he has gone on to make great films, including ‘The Trench’, which is one of my all time favourites”.

At the end of the session each member of the band took home a cassette and Alan was presented with the master tape which he duly filed away. And that was that. Unfortunately, the group didn’t win the competition and on leaving school went their separate ways (although they do still keep in touch). As for the master tape, it went missing and was never seen again. That is, until a few days ago.
Alan and older brother Rob, now writers and owners of Pulse Records and Productions Ltd, had borrowed an old TEAC reel to reel tape recorder to review some of their early demo recordings. Three hours into the task Alan pressed the ‘play’ button and blasting from the speakers was Daniel Craig and ‘House of the Rising Sun’. All those years ago Alan had put the tape in the wrong box!

Rob Fennah said: "When Daniel got the part of James Bond the media kept asking us about this tape and I don’t think they believed us when we said we’d lost it. Now that it’s re-surfaced we intend to burn only five CD copies, one for each member of the band. Alan, Andy and I hope Danny will not be too shaken, or stirred, when he receives his copy in the post. As for the master tape, we have already had big money offers from the tabloids but this is of no interest to us- we don't work that way. Instead, we have decided to give it to Daniel-for old times sake.

Jul 8th 2007
Pulse has recently added new videos to its artist pages.(See also:


Apr 12 2007

One of the great Liverpool musicals
by Philip Key, Liverpool Daily Post

TWOPENCE to Cross the Mersey is an unusual musical. It’s not one of those jolly dancing girls shows, not a fictional drama, not even sexy. It is based on real life and Liverpool life at that.
The result is an emotional heart-tugging drama with a few laughs and a lot to think about.

Set in 1930s Liverpool, it is the story of the posh Forrester family who left their home in the South West after going broke and arrived in Liverpool looking for a new life. This being the 1930s and Liverpool, their dreams were soon shattered and particularly that of young Helen Forrester on whose autobiographical book the show is based.

Co-written by Rob Fennah and Helen Jones with songs by Rob and Alan Fennah, it is a musical story like no other.

There is no avoidance of the hardships a large family arriving in 1930s Liverpool would meet so here there are the men queuing for work, the clothes that become shabby, the desperation to find money to pay for coal and the sheer misery of living beyond your means.

The Forrester family were apparently an odd lot, including a mother who complained all the time and a father who simply gave up. All the time young Helen was desperate for an education but was forced to stay at home looking after her younger siblings.

Designer Candida Boyes captures the era brilliantly with settings generally decorated with poster advertisements of the era and suggestions of the city in its bad-good-old-days.

The songs by the Fennahs do not try to ape the 1930s music but instead, in a modern style, capture the feel of the times. Often that is sadness and worry. Jamie Clarke, as the young Helen, takes a role she has played three times before with utter confidence while portraying the nice youthful rebel that Helen obviously was with a clear and moving voice.

Her song in which she is ignored by an old friend because of her shabby dress, The Girl Was Me, remains one of the show’s most moving.

Pauline Daniels is the grown-up Helen narrating her own story and occasionally reacting with her younger self and whether talking, singing or simply watching is perfect in the role, well-spoken but always attentive to others.

Her song Butterfly in the Rain is a standout.

Mark Moraghan is a beautifully realised father, determined at times but eventually destroyed by financial misery and Emma Vaudrey is the complaining mother who while far from sympathetic sings like a dream.

The show directed by Ian Kellgren has an all-Merseyaside cast for the first time and it shows in a musical drama which kept a capacity audience glued to its nostalgic story and cheering the songs.

It looks good, sounds good and if you don’t mind having your emotions mangled, remains one of the great Liverpool musicals.

April 12 2007

One of the great Liverpool musicals
By Philip Key, Liverpool Daily Post.

It looks good, sounds good and if you don’t mind having your emotions mangled, remains one of the great Liverpool musicals.

Full review on our NEWS page.


Writer and producer Rob Fennah said: “As it is Liverpool’s 800th anniversary we decided to show off the area’s talent by using an entirely Merseyside cast. In the past we have gone to London for some of the roles but, as thousands of people will be visiting Liverpool for the birthday celebrations, we want them to have something home-grown to come and watch.

Seeing so many famous local faces on the stage will not only make for a great night out, it will also be a strong reminder why Liverpool was chosen as European Capital of Culture for 2008.”

Twopence To Cross The Mersey stars actress, singer and comedienne Pauline Daniels in the role of Helen Forrester (Senior). Pauline, whose theatre credits include Misery, Shirley Valentine, and Breezeblock Park said: “I have always been a fan of the songs in Twopence to Cross the Mersey and am so thrilled to be playing the part of Helen Forrester. I intend to bring something different to the role and am confident it will be the best production to date.”

Co-starring is Mark Moraghan, formerly of Holby City and Sky TV’s Dream Team. Mark, who is also making a big name for himself as a singer, was one of last year’s finalists in the celebrity TV Show ‘Just the Two of Us’. He will play Helen’s father. Mark said: “I’m really looking forward to the show, especially as it’s in Liverpool’s birthday year. To perform at the Liverpool Empire is another ambition fulfilled, another box ticked.”

Andrew Schofield, who shot to fame on TV when he starred in Alan Bleasdale’s hit series ‘Scully’, plays the part of ‘Mick’, an unemployed docker who takes Helen’s father under his wing and teaches him how to survive in the slums of Liverpool.

Nick Conway, famous for his role as Billy Boswell in ‘Bread’ plays Mick’s side kick, Frank.

Emma Vaudrey plays Helen Forrester’s mother. Emma, who appeared in ‘Nice Guy Eddie’ with Ricky Tomlinson and ‘Eyes Down’ with Paul O’Grady, is a graduate of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Jamie Clarke, daughter of actor Michael Starke, will play ‘Young Helen’ for the third time.

Last year more than 30,000 people came to see the show during its sell-out two week run at the Empire. Hannah Collins, General Manager of the theatre, said: “Twopence to Cross the Mersey has been one of the most successful shows to appear at this theatre in recent years. We are delighted to have played our part in the show’s journey from an interesting idea into a box office hit.”

The show was adapted from Helen Forrester’s best selling book and tells the true story of a young girl and her formerly wealthy family suddenly thrown into poverty and forced to survive in the slums of Liverpool during the depression of the 1930’s.

Further information from Pulse Records Ltd – 0151 649 0427
or Johnson Young Associates 07860 554978

Click here for our Backstage Pass.
Apr 06 2007

Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, the birthplace to some of the largest ships in the world including the Ark Royal, has found a new lease of life since building its last ship in 1992. The launching of great ships may be a thing of the past but Cammell Lairds is now playing a major role in helping launch one of Liverpool’s most successful theatre shows in recent years.

Now, instead of welders and platers occupying the massive fabrication hall you’ll find actors and musicians. The set for Twopence to Cross the Mersey, which opens at the Liverpool Empire Theatre on Easter Monday, has been constructed on site. Although large by theatre standards it appears no more than a postage stamp on a football pitch inside the humungous building.

Writer and producer, Rob Fennah said “Rehearsing on the very spot the Ark Royal was built and where thousands of men once worked is very inspiring though quite spooky. In fact, the TV programme ‘Most Haunted’ filmed here recently and were freaked out by some of the happenings that took place. We only hope the ghosts of the past appreciate why we’re here and have enjoyed watching the rehearsals.”

Twopence to Cross the Mersey opens at the Liverpool Empire on Monday April 9, 2007 and runs until Saturday April 21.

For more images see the 'Backstage Pass' gallery on the Pulse homepage.


FRI 6th April - Billy Butler Show (BBC Radio Merseyside 95.8 FM)

Featuring Nick Conway & Andrew Schofield.
Listen Online:

SUN 8th April - Claire Hamilton (BBC Radio Merseyside  95.8 FM)
1pm to 3pm

Featuring: Pauline Daniels.
Listen Online:

WED 11th April - Phil Easton (Magic 1548 MW) 6am-10am
Featuring Rob & Alan Fennah.
Listen Online:


Pulse Records Limited

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Last Updated 28 January 2015