Sunday, 24 April 2011

Radio 2 Announcers A-K

When BBC Radio 1 and 2 started in 1967 many of the programmes transferred over from the old Light Programme as did most of the presentation team. So you could still hear the likes of Robin Boyle, Roger Moffat, John Dunn, Bruce Wyndham and Peter Latham reading the news and linking the programmes. The team was soon joined by the some ex-pirates such as Keith Skues and Colin Nicol. By 1972 the combination of a separate Radio 1 & 2 Presentation team, under the management of Jimmy Kingsbury, and the start of commercial radio, to which a number of BBC staff moved to, led to a shake-up of the team and the recruitment of some new voices.

The Presentation Team covered the newsreading and announcing shifts on both networks, hence the introduction of news on the half-hour on Radio 1 to allow the newsreader to work on both stations. This pattern lasted into the 1980s, though from 1978 the Newsbeat team – at the time Laurie Mayer, Richard Skinner, John Walmsley (no relation), Peter Mayne and Stephen Cape - started to read more Radio 1 only daytime and evening bulletins.

The Radio 2 announcers would also work on Breakfast Special, The Early Show and Night Ride and often presented shows featuring the BBC Radio Orchestras. They continued to be presenters of mainly late night shows, presumably when audiences were smaller, on programmes such as Music Through Midnight, The Late Show and You and the Night and the Music, which from 1979 closed the gap between 2 and 5 a.m.

The role of programme presenter lessened throughout the 80s and 90s as first the Radio Orchestras were disbanded and then named DJs took over the late night slots. In 1992 the announcing team was cut, as this article from the Mail on Sunday reports:
A-Z of Announcers

For these two linked posts we pick up the story in 1976, as my recordings start from this year. Below I’ve listed all those, that I’m aware of, that have announced or read the news on Radio 2 from 1976 onwards. In this first edit of the posts I’ve gone up to about 1982. I’m already working on adding Charles Nove, Nick Page, Alan Dedicoat, Paul Leighton, Steve Madden, John Marsh, Hilary Osbourn and others.

In the meantime if you have any clips of news summaries or continuity that you’d like to contribute please contact me. In particular if you have any audio from the early 70s then I can start to go back further in time. Also if you’re an ex-announcer on the network I’d love to hear from you too.

Below are surnames A-K. For L to Z see this related post.

Chris Aldred

BFBS in Malta from May 1975 then Radio 2 from March 1978 into 1980s. Presenter of You and the Night and the Music.


Liz Allen

Worked for the BBC’s Drama team in Leeds under renown producer Alfred Bradley. Joined Pennine Radio in Bradford September 1975 hosting the Late Night Show then Artweek, Rock Show and Album Review Show. Moved to Radio Leeds as co-presenter of the Saturday Show. Joined Radio 2 in March 1979. Presenter of You and the Night and the Music. Also a novelist.

David Bellan

Ran an English Radio Station from Jeddah. Returned to UK and worked on Radio 4 including Today and Start the Week. Also contributed to Radio 1’s Scene and Heard. Joined Radio 2 in 1974 as announcer/newsreader. Presenter Star Sound, Night Ride, Music to Midnight, You and the Night and the Music. Also presented The Lively Arts and Science in Action on the BBC World Service. Left in 1992. Now writes for The Oxford Times.

Geoff Bennett

Worked in commercial radio in Sydney before moving to UK. On Radio 2 between June 1979 and April 1981. Presenter of You and the Night and the Music. Worked on Thames TV and Blue Danube Radio in Vienna. Later on Australian Broadcasting Corporation for 18 years and presented Classic FM’s Weekend Life until July 2006

Colin Berry

Worked in advertising at Granada and Westward TV before joining Radio Caroline. Acted as relief presenter and newsreader on Caroline South from 1965. Back on land he worked as a music plugger, then announcer at HTV. Back to radio joining BBC Radio Medway and then the promotions department at Radio 1 before going to Radio 2 as newsreader/announcer in 1973.
Long running presenter of The Early Show. Also hosted Night Ride, Music Through Midnight, Music to Midnight, You and the Night and the Music, Band Parade, European Pop Jury and Europe 80. Retired from the BBC in 2006 but still pops up on the occasional news summary making Colin the longest-serving Radio 2 newsreader still on air and the second longest serving on network radio after Peter Donaldson, also “retired” but still working on Radio 4. Can also be heard on occasion on BBC Three Counties Radio.

Robin Boyle

Broadcasting career started in 1945 on BFN in Hamburg as announcer then Head of Presentation. Joined BBC in 1947 occasionally presenting Family Favourites from Hamburg than announcer on all networks but mainly on the Light. Best known for presenting Friday Night is Music Night, but also worked on Today (where he was one of the first presenters), Sunday Special, Hancock’s Half Hour, The Navy Lark, Those Were the Day, The Musical World of…, Night Ride, Marching and Waltzing, Band Parade, Glamorous Nights. Retired in 1987 but continued presenting as freelance. Died in 2003.

Alma Cadzow

An announcer on Radio 3 when, as Alma Bickerton, she was given a try out on the station. Transferred BBC TV and then for a while on Radio 2 in 1976 and 1977 before moving to BBC Scotland an announcer. See Alma on BBC TV here.

Gavin Campbell

Former actor (including The New Avengers and Softly Softly) who had a short spell as a radio continuity announcer, newsreader and presenter (on Radio 2 from March 1979 than on Radio 4) before joining Esther on BBC 1’s That’s Life  which he co-presented from 1982 to 1994. Later worked on LBC and Radio 5.

Averell Carson

ATV and Central in-vision continuity announcer, who went on to head up Central's own in-house training company. A short spell on Radio 2 between November 1980 and January 1981.

Jean Challis

Started on BFBS in Cyprus in June 1962 as announcer and occasional presenter of Two-Way Family Favourites. Joined Radios 1 & 2 announcing team in 1974. Final presenter of Family Favourites until 1980, also on Music Through Midnight, Music to Midnight, The Late Show, Radio Orchestra shows, String Sound, You and the Night and the Music and Nightride. Also an actress appearing in minor roles often in sitcoms.

Richard Clegg

Started broadcasting while at Leeds University in the 60s. Joined BFBS in Cyprus in April 1974. On Radio 2 from December 1977. One of the presenters of You and the Night and the Music, String Sound and Music from the Shows. Regular announcer on The News Huddlines until 2001.

Ruth Cubbin

Joined Radio 2 mid-70s as announcer and newsreader. Presenter of the The Late Show, You and the Night and the Music and Folk 78. Ceased announcing duties in July 1979. Later a producer at the station for David Jacobs, Anne Robinson and A Little Night Music. By 1996 producer on Woman’s Hour. Also a folk singer.

Don Douglas

Announcer with the British Forces Network in Germany and occasional presenter on Two-Way Family Favourites. Radio 2 newsreading shifts between June and August 1977.

John Dunn
A newsreader and announcer on the Light Programme and Radio 2. I’ll be writing more about John in a separate post at some point in the future. He read his last news bulletins on 30 September 1976 before taking over the teatime/drivetime show from Sam Costa the following week.

Don Durbridge

First broadcast as a teenager in October 1955 on The Light Programme’s The Younger Generation. With the British Forces Broadcasting Services in Germany and Gibraltar during the 60s & early 70s presenting Family Favourites, Time Out, Six-Thirty and reporting for the BFBS on the 1972 Munich Olympics. On Radio 2 from mid-70s and presented  Night Ride, Music Through Midnight, Music to Midnight, Saturday Night with the BBC Radio Orchestra, You and the Night and the Music and The Late Show. Regular deputising duties for Terry Wogan, John Dunn, Ed Stewart and David Hamilton. On Radio Medway, Radio Kent, Invicta, LBC, Prime Time, Saga and REM-FM in Spain.
Died in 2012.

Tom Edwards

First broadcast on About Anglia in 1962 then presenting on Border TV. Joined pirate station Radio City in 1965. Known as “Tatty” Tom Edwards. On Radio Caroline South in 1967. On Radio 1 from 1968 as one of the presenters of Midday Spin, Radio 1 Club and What’s New. In vision tv announcer mainly on Thames. Presented Happy Weekend Everybody and Roundabout East Anglia on the Radio 4 regional service from 1970. On Radio 2 from early 70s as announcer/newsreader. Long-running presenter of The Early Show on Saturday also Music Through Midnight  and Radio 2 Ballroom. During the 80s in California on tv and radio. On BBC1 presenting Look East  and announcer on Wipeout.

David Geary

Joined the BBC in 1958 working as announcer across the networks. Presented Family Fare, Music is the Air, Music We Love, Serenade in the Night and Just for You on the Light Programme. He left in 1971. In 1973 reading the news on About Anglia. By 1977 working at Independent Radio News. Later at World Service and announcer on LWT. Returned to BBC in July 1981 as newsreader on Radio 2.

James Alexander Gordon
Started as song plugger moved to Deutsch Grammophon then TV researcher First broadcast on BBC TV’s All Things Considered. Joined Radio 2 in 1971 as announcer/newsreader. Best known for reading the Classified Football Results from 1974 initially sharing the duties with other announcers and then sole reader from 1980s on Radio 2, Radio 5 and Radio 5 Live. Also hosted Brass and Strings, On the Third Beat and You and the Night and the Music. Retired from reading the classifieds in 2013.


Tim Gudgin

Worked as newsreader and DJ at BFBS Hamburg. With the BBC from 1952 first on the European Service and then the Light Programme from 1954. Worked on both the Light and Home and subsequently Radio 2 as announcer, newsreader and presenter on programmes such as Music Box, Top of the Form, Midday Spin, Housewives’ Choice, Round the Bend, Saturday Night at the Light, News Time, Swingalong, Out and About, Treble Chance, Melody Hour, Radio 2 Top Tunes,The Late Show and You and the Night and the Music. Freelance from 1965 and then back at Radio 2 on contract from 1976.
From 1995 to 2011 reader of the Classified Football Results on Grandstand and Final Score. From 1958 used to read the racing and rugby results on Grandstand. Read the Bleep and Booster stories on Blue Peter.

Len Jackson

Born in Twickenham in 1940 his BBC career started in 1959 as a clerk in the record library then moved to Australia in 1967 where he made his first broadcast. Back to UK on Radio 2 in 1972 as an announcer and newsreader later becoming Presentation Editor. Went freelance in 1990 and also worked training overseas broadcasters for the BBC, Blue Danube Radio and the British Council. On Radio 2 presenter of Night Ride, Radio 2 Top Tunes, Play It Again, As You Were, Let’s Go Latin, Two’s Best, Folk 74, Sweet n Swing,  Music Through Midnight, Music to Midnight’, The Late Show, Nordring Rendezvous, The Magic of the Musicals and You and the Night and the Music. Returned to Australia in 1995 he died in 2017.

Nick Jackson

Started on Radio Victory in Portsmouth in August 1975. Joined Radio 2 April 1979. Presenter of You and the Night and the Music and Star Sound, taking over from David Bellan. TV voiceover work on Celebrity Squares and Catchphrase.


Astley Jones

Mainly newsreader and continuity announcer on Radio 4. Also worked as sports correspondent, read the news on BBC World Service and also on BFBS. Odd shifts on Radio 3 between 1977 and 1979 and occasionally on Radio 1 & 2 between 1976 and 1978 and again in the mid-1980s.

Sarah Kennedy

On BFBS in Singapore where she also co-hosted Family Favourites. Radio 2 as announcer/newsreader from April 1977 to February 1979 but continued to present occasionally. Hosted You and the Night and the Music and String Sound. On TV most famously Game for a Laugh and then 60 Minutes. Deputised for Terry Wogan in 1983. Returned to Radio 2 in 1992 providing holiday cover for Jimmy Young, Anne Robinson and Gloria Hunniford. Starting in January 1993 became the longest ever presenter of The Early Show (aka Dawn Patrol) until 2010.

Jimmy Kingsbury

Announcer on BBC Radio from the 1950s whose broadcasting carrer had started on the British Forces Network in Hamburg. Long-running presenter of Friday Night is Music Night in the 1960s. Also on Tonight at Six, Brass and Strings and Night Ride. Became Presentation Editor for Radio 1 and 2 in 1972. Read the last Shipping Forecast on Radio 2 (1755-1800 22.11.78) when the station moved from 1500m long wave. He also read a further shipping forecast on Radio 2 medium wave, even though it was now carried on Radio 4, on Monday 17 December 1979 when there were problems with the long wave transmitter. Only occasionally on air in the late 70s working final shifts in January 1980.

All recordings are my own with the exception of the Radio 1 news bulletins read by Ruth Cubbin and Tom Edwards which come from Azanorak.
Biographical information has been compiled from my own notes, internet research and Who’s Who on Radio by Sheila Tracy.


TMarlene said...

Hi there. The former Radio 2 presenter; Liz Allen - whatever happenned to her? I can't seem to find any information on her. Her novel "Network" (published in 1989) is one of my favorite books (i've read it several times) and I would love to be able to write to her....or to just know whatever happenned to her.....its almost like she disappeared off the face of the earth....

Andy Walmsley said...

Re Liz Allen. Looking back at my notes I have no further info on Liz, not exectly sure when she left Radio 2 (mid-80s sometime). As you have the novel-I must try to get a copy-perhaps you could try the publishers. If you do find out anymore please let me know, I'll update the page.

TMarlene said...

"Network" was published by Century (who I think are/or were owned by Random House). I already called Century and they said they weren't allowed to give out personal info, but they'd be happy to look up whether they did have details for her and to pass on a letter from myself to her.
The following day I got an email that said they had no contact details for a Liz Allen who wrote "Network". The only reason I know that she was a presenter on Radio 2 is because it says so on the back cover of the book. What on earth happenned to her?

From what i've found on the internet, she authored another novel in 1984 called "Making Waves" which i'm trying to get a copy of..."Network" is worth the read! I completely relate to the lead character and you can tell it was written from personal experience, in a way that was different from any novel written at the time!

Unknown said...

Reference Liz Allen. The last time I heard Liz on Radio 2 was the week in early 1988 when she "sat in" the early morning slot, taking turns with other presenters such as Jean Challis, until a permanent replacement was found for Ray Moore, who very sadly left the station at the start of that year due to illness.
I remember the week that Liz sat in as she a most delightful host, telling of the antics of her small son among other topics of every day conversation. Liz was always someone you could relate to.

Unknown said...

I was the small son causing all the antics she would talk about. I still remember listening to her on the radio in '88 - my father and I were at my grandparents and tuned in specially for it. I don't think I quite understood the concept of radio back then, as I was trying to talk (shout) to her coming through the speaker and was quite confused as to why she couldn't hear me.

I stumbled upon this comment section because, regretably, Liz passed away recently.

While she never quite managed to finish her third major novel after Network I can confirm she did not drop off the face of the earth. While her activities after radio became much less public - they were incredibly varied. She held many interests such as painting, knitwork (including design), playing music instruments and even turned herself towards singing/songwriting for a time.

Unknown said...

For Samuel, I was so pleased to see your message and to learn that you were the small son that Liz spoke so fondly of. You must be most proud of your Mum. I listened to Radio 2 for many years and I think of Liz as an old friend, keeping me company in the days when I did not have all that much in my life except for the radio. Good luck to you - I trust you are still not getting up to mischief!

Pobox90210 said...

I used to wake up with my radio still playing after the Friday Rock show and hear Liz’s beautiful voice. I enjoyed listening so much I recorded on cassette about 1 hours worth I think. I still have the cassette but nothing to play it with. I’m not even sure the tape is any good now but I’d love to get a digital recording of it somehow if possible. If anyone knows someone who may be able to restore it I’d gladly hand the tape over. Just to hear it again.
I did notice Andy Walmsley’s hour long recording on Mixcloud.

Nick Miller said...

For a while in the mid 80s I kept a log of who read the 10pm news on Radio 2 (don't ask!)
I have a few additional names but sadly not the exact dates they appeared:
Peter Dickson
Ian Burden (once!)
Ellis Hill
Sarah Watts,
Viv Robins
Ian Collington

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