Wednesday, 13 July 2011

DJ Heaven - John Peel

As John Peel himself says on this video clip he’s the one normally to be found on the radio playing “lots of records by sulky Belgians”.  So it was perhaps a surprise when he turned up on Top of the Pops in 1982 for what was to be a fondly remembered run as programme presenter. Eschewing the forced enthusiasm of fellow presenters he adopted a witty, mocking and sarcastic style between the day’s latest pop and new wave hits.

In his diary John recalls a visit to TV Centre:
I was rather thrown when I saw how many kids there were in the studio. I was introduced to them and left to say amusing things – which I was quite clearly incapable of doing. This rattled me. I messed up takes 2 and 3, completely forgetting the spontaneous drolleries I’d been working on for months, and started sweating unpleasantly. Take 4 was rather rigid but OK and we pressed on with me gaining confidence. Lots of girls interested in me as a device by which they could be seen on TV, but they were amiable, and one of them perked me up by saying, “You’re not a poser like all the others.”

Here's this week's extract from the BBC2 series DJ Heaven broadcast on 16 October 1993:

No sulky Belgians in these two programme clips from the early 80s but there is an LP released in Belgium if that counts.
John Peel Intros

Quote from Margrave of the Marshes, Corgi Books, 2005

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