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Published on Aug 30, 2009
This is "Sailing By" composed by Ronald Binge in 1963, and performed by the Alan Perry/William Gardner Orchestra, and is the version used by the BBC for its late night shipping forecast.
Sailing By is played every night on BBC Radio 4 at around 00:45hrs before the late Shipping Forecast. Its tune is repetitive, assisting in its role of serving as a signal for sailors tuning in to be able to easily identify the radio station. It also functions as a buffer — depending on when the final programme before closedown finishes, Sailing By (or part of it) is played as a 'filler' as the shipping forecast starts at 00:48hrs precisely. The initial reason for its introduction was because of the indeterminate finish time for the preceding Midnight News, leading to filling music being played until the Shipping Forecast was due to start. Sailing By was added to allow for a clear break between the end of the music and the start of the forecast