To mark the finale of the 2003 series of Henry Wood Promenade concerts, Leonard Slatkin, music director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, examines the Last Night of the Proms phenomenon from a variety of angles.
Slatkin has a pedigree as a radio presenter, having fronted his own show while he was in St Louis USA, and made various broadcasts for Radio 3 and 4.
With the aid of material from the BBC Sound Archive, Leonard Slatkin traces the historical development of the Last Night of the Proms to its current status and character.
There are eye-witness accounts of the very first Proms season in 1895.
Richard Baker, who presented coverage of the Last Night for 32 years, recalls a Last Night at the Queen's Hall in 1936, a vibrantly enthusiastic audience, but more reserved and 'responsible' than today.
We hear the only speech ever delivered by Sir Henry Wood at a Last Night - in 1942, 47 years after his first Prom.
The combination of Sir Malcolm Sargent's showmanship, and the arrival of television have been blamed for creating the riotous behaviour of the modern Last Night, but while television undoubtedly stimulated such behaviour, Sargent's one-time manager, Sylvia Darley, insists he had many reservations about the presence of the cameras.
John Deathridge of King's College London reflects on Promenaders' rituals and the determination with which they're observed.