Friday, 24 February 2012

Wake Up Easy

The majority of listeners get their radio 'fix' first thing in the morning, radio’s primetime. In this post I'll be looking at the history of early morning radio on the BBC Light Programme and Radio 2: Breakfast Special and The Early Show. The Breakfast Shows of Wogan, Blackburn, Moyles et al I'll feature at a later date.

Home Service 16 Sept 1948
Go back far enough through the Radio Times back issues and you’ll find that there was little choice on offer for the morning listener. On 16 September 1948, for example, the Home Service kicked off with Bright and Early at 6.30 am featuring Jose Norman and his Rumballeros followed by Morning Music at 7.15 am with music from the BBC Midland Light Orchestra. Over on the Light Programme they had a lie-in and didn’t start transmission until 9 am when, after the news, you’d hear Housewives’ Choice.

Home Service 8 Aug 1958
Fast forward ten years to August 1958 and the Home Service still offers up Bright and Early (David Shand and his Orchestra) but now after 7 am we get Today, considerably shorter and less news-driven that it would become and with no listed presenter, though it is likely to be Jack de Manio. Morning Music was now on the Light from 7 to 9 am.

To give a flavour of what these shows sounded like here’s a short montage created from longer recordings courtesy of Brian Reynold’s website Masters of Melody.
This was pretty much the pattern into the 1960s: the Home Service provided the talk with Today and the Light the BBC recorded sessions from orchestras, including its own in-house ones, and various ensembles playing light music, songs from the shows and popular classics before record requests in Housewives’ Choice at 9 am.  But by 1964 early morning music radio was slowly beginning to change. The BBC could no longer be immune to the commercial pressures of the pop world and the pirates were on the horizon.

In January 1964 the BBC sought public opinion on its programming and by way of a week-long experiment some programmes featured singers amongst the otherwise instrumental diet. Some shows had announcers whereas previously the music was played in sequence with no interruption or, as with Morning Music, confined to time checks every 10 minutes or so and hourly reminders of the contributing orchestras. (When on the Home Service Morning Music had an announcer providing a straight introduction to each piece).

Easter Sunday 1964 brought the launch of Radio Caroline. Pop music was now available, to at least part of the country, all day long.  Add to this the growing trend to enjoy music on the move with your portable ‘tranny’ and improvement in car radio equipment and you can see why the BBC needed to change, which it did, slowly. There had also been a shift in listening habits with less people tuning in during the evening due to competition from the television; the draw of Dixon of Dock Green and Emergency Ward 10 proved too great.  Larger weekday radio audiences would eventually be realised at breakfast time.

By the late 50s the BBC was looking to extend its broadcasting hours, there was a fear that unused airtime and frequencies might be hived off to any commercial competition. It took the results of the Pilkington committee and further negotiations with the Musicians’ Union for more needletime to increase the hours – the Light Programme would start earlier and closedown at 2 am and the Third Programme’s frequencies were used to provide the Music Programme service during the day. These changes were phased-in by late ’64.   

Light Programme 11 June 1965
From August 1964 the Light Programme started its transmissions at 5.30 am with Bright and Early (the old Home Service show had returned as a daily fixture from September 1963 and would run until December 1964) and Morning Music between 6 and 8 am. From now on weekday editions had a named announcer assigned on a daily rota  – Jimmy Kingsbury, Bryan Martin, Tony Raymont, Paul Hollingdale, John Dunn, Rodney Burke, Sean Kelly, Jon Curle, David Geary, Roy Williamson, Peter Latham, John Roberts, Brian Perkins and Bruce Wyndham. Vocal groups, such as The Rita Williams Singers, are gradually brought into the music mix. As with the orchestras and bands-of which 35 are used in any given week-most of the musical contributions are BBC recorded sessions, though we now see the addition of “some stars on records”.

At the same time the Light also introduced a new disc programme, Family Fare, filling the gap between Morning Music and Housewives’ Choice. It had a different presenter each week also drawn from the ranks of the staff announcers. Popping up on this show were Bryan Martin, David Geary, John Roberts, Martin Muncaster, John Webster, Roger Moffatt, Robin Boyle and Rodney Burke.
The last Morning Music went out on Friday 22 October 1965, introduced by Paul Hollingdale. The following Monday heralded a new start to the day: Breakfast Special.

Breakfast Special ran from 5.30 to 9 am, 6 days a week and, at 3½ hours in length, became the longest regular show on the radio. Presenting duties in that first week were split amongst three staff announcers: John Roberts took Monday and Wednesday, Paul Hollingdale Tuesday and Friday and then Peter Latham Thursday and Saturday.

Featured in that first programme with John Roberts were The Albany Strings directed by Reg Pursglove, The Albert Marland Sextet, Jack Nathan & his Band, The Des Champ Octet, The Richard Holmes Quartet, Harold Smart Trio and the BBC Scottish Variety Orchestra conducted by Jack Leon. Light Programme chief Denis Morris expected the programme to be “friendly and relaxed, but not unduly talkative”.

The use of staff announcers on Breakfast Special continued for the whole of its run to 1972. The rotation of presenters at daily, weekly, then later monthly or quarterly intervals dominated both this programme and The Early Show until 1993 with some notable exceptions who enjoyed a longer tenure – Simon Bates (74-75), Colin Berry (76-77, 84-88) Bruce Wyndham (Saturdays 67-75), Tom Edwards (Saturdays 75-79) and Dave Bussey (weekends 86-91).

A member of that early announcing team, Paul Hollingdale (these days living and working in Vienna) told me that at the time “the Head of Presentation was a man called Andrew Timothy, a veteran announcer and father of the actor Christopher Timothy. One of my first hurdles was to handle the death of Churchill which I announced with all the protocol that went with that on that Sunday morning in January 1965. Timothy told me that I would have to be de-luxembourgised - and I was directed to listen to various announcers like Colin Doran, Frank Phillips and Tim Gudgin.”

The hosting of Breakfast Special, and the many other music shows that gradually appeared in the schedules more often than not fell to the newer guys, the reason, Paul Holligdale says, was that “many of the older brigade of announcers like Frank Phillips, Alvar Lidell, John Snagge, John Webster etc. couldn’t quite believe that changes were in the air and so they didn't want to involve themselves  and weren’t in tune with the trends in pop music at that time. Apart from that they were all coming into the final furlong of their careers at the Beeb.”

Musically Breakfast Special was a mix of the old Morning Music and Family Fare: pop records and popular/light orchestral pieces and small instrumental bands/groups. This was by necessity as the BBC still had its contractual agreements with the Musicians’ Union and with its own in-house orchestras and daily ‘needletime’ was in single figures. By the late 60s increasingly more records were played and the session pieces from each orchestra or band were spread across the week.  Paul Hollingdale recalls that that it was “decided to introduce a limited amount of needletime into the shows -  one disc every fifteen minutes. And there were inserts of vocals from groups like The Settlers, The Pete King Chorale, Lois Lane etc.”

Here’s a typical Radio Times billing:
Light Programme 24 Sept 1966

From the start Breakfast Special had its own signature tune. Initially this was Jumping Jupiter by the Ron Godwin Orchestra.

But apparently the producers didn’t think much of that and by 6 December it was changed to C’Mon In by Syd Dale, provider of many a theme over the years.  Later Syd recalled that when he wanted to branch out on his own he had enough money to finance the recording of four of his own compositions and that C’Mon In was one of them. Its use as a theme by the BBC led to his contract with library music publishers KPM.
Although by the 1970s needletime had increased the use of BBC recorded sessions and re-recordings of pop songs of the day in Breakfast Special and then The Early Show continued into the 1980s. These two extracts should help give a feel for the sound and style of Breakfast Special, by now on Radio 2. From 1969 here’s the familiar warm friendly tones of Ray Moore, who’d joined the programme in 1968.

Writing in his autobiography Tomorrow is Too Late, Ray had this to say about his time on the programme:

The show gave us a refreshing freedom, three and half hours on the air in front of a live microphone and virtually a licence to say anything we liked. Here was the opportunity to put a personal stamp on a show, to develop it any way we chose. It was a glorious ego trip for us all. We might not be part of the BBC delegated ‘to instruct and inform’ but we did carry out the BBC’s other mission, ‘to entertain’, and we worked hard to create a show which worked.
From 1 January 1970 this is Paul Hollingdale with the first Breakfast Special of the new decade and, in fact, his penultimate regular show for the BBC.
During its time on the Light Programme Breakfast Special continued to be presented by three different announcers every week. Included in the rota were the following with, curiously, something of a New Zealand link and its fair share of former actors.

Bruce Wyndham – long-time BBC announcer on the General Overseas Service and then the Light Programme. Left the corporation in 1976 and later worked for Radios 210 and Hallam. Read more about Bruce here.
Peter Latham – former TV actor who left the BBC in the early 70s to become a priest in New Zealand. He died after being run over by a train.
John Roberts – a New Zealander who was a relief BBC tv newsreader in the early 60s (most famously on duty the evening that the news of JFK’s assassination broke), a Home Service and Light Programme announcer 1964-67 and presenter of Cavalcade.
Paul Hollingdale – broadcasting career started with the BFN in Germany. On Radio Luxembourg for 2½ years both from the London end and the Grand Duchy before returning to London in September 1964 and applying for the job of announcer. See also Down Your Local – Radio 210.
Jon Curle – former actor who became an announcer in 1959, later on Radio 3.  See also here.
David Symonds – gained broadcasting experience in New Zealand before joining the BBC in 1965. Read more in this post.
Dwight Wylie – the BBC’s first black announcer who joined the BBC in 1965. Returned to Jamaica in the early 70s and headed the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. Died in 2002.
David Dunhill - former journalist and British Forces Network announcer who joined the BBC in 1946. For many years he was the resident announcer on Take It From Here. Worked behind the scenes between 1956 and 1965 before returning to the microphone. Closed down the Home Service in 1967 and opened up Radio 4 the next morning. On retirement he trained many BBC local radio staff. Died in 2005.
Robin Boyle – with the BBC from 1947, best known as the long-running host of Friday Night is Music Night. See also here.
John Dunn – announcer across all the networks from the early 60s who presented a wide variety of programmes. Later best known for his drivetime show on Radio 2.
Sean Kelly – another former actor in films and the occasional tv series between 1957 and 1964 (633 Squadron amongst his credits) on the BBC from 1964 until the early 1969 then at Capital Radio as one of the hosts of Night Flight.

By late 1967, just before Radios 1 and 2 launched, the pattern had changed to a different presenter each week, Monday to Friday, and usually Bruce Wyndham on Saturday morning. Most of the old Light Programme team  continued to work on Radio 1 and/or Radio 2 as announcers/newsreaders, presenters of Breakfast Special or of Night Ride - the exception was David Symonds who joined Radio 1’s main daily DJ line-up.

When Radio 1 and Radio 2 replaced the old Light Programme on 30 September 1967 the first show on air that Saturday morning was Breakfast Special with Paul Hollingdale.
Most of the old Light Programme shows transferred across to Radio 2, but as funding was tight the two new networks continued to share programmes across the week, a situation that remained to a greater or lesser degree into the late ‘70s. The BBC paid for a brand new set of jingles for the fledging Radio 1, actually familiar to listeners of the old pirate station Radio London as they included re-sings of many of their PAMS produced packages. No such luxury was afforded to Radio 2 who didn’t use jingles until 1969. But for a while Breakfast Special did use this generic morning jingle “Wake Up Easy, Start the Day Right”.
I’ve never been able to establish who produced this jingle, though I guess it’s also a product of PAMS. Mike Vincent, now of Mountain Group News in the States, told me that he recalled a New York morning personality playing this on their daily show. Others have said they heard it on 560 KMON in Montana and 1270 CHAT in Medicine Hat. (Edit Jan 2019: I'm now aware that the jingle comes from a Production Aid disc issued by SESAC and is credited to a J. Fegins)

Pepper Tanner provided Radio 2’s first bespoke jingles in 1969. Here’s the Breakfast Special one. 
Radio Times Oct 1968
On 1 October 1967 Radio 2 started a Sunday version of Breakfast Special, its name Sunday Special. The presenter was Robin Boyle, who stayed with this show for most of its run. The first programme offered listeners music on disc plus Clinton Ford, The Radio Band Show conducted by Paul Fenoulhet, Brett Stevens, Harold Smart and the Strumalongs. Sunday Special ran until March 1970 when Keith Skues took over the slot with Sunday with Skues and from July ’71 to March ’72 Barry Alldis. These Sunday programmes had a strange split existence, each show starting on Radio 2 and then concluding over on Radio 1 only.

By 1968 the number of presenters for the weekday shows was confined to just the three, Paul Hollingdale, Ray Moore and John Dunn, doing a week at a time. By 1970 Paul had left the BBC leaving  just Ray and John.  But the all that was to change from April 1972 when the King of Breakfast started his reign.

It was Easter Monday, April the 3rd, 1972 that Terry Wogan moved across, somewhat reluctantly at the time, from his afternoon Radio 1 show to the new Radio 2 breakfast show. Breakfast Special was gone, replaced by Wogan between 7 and 9 am and from 5 to 7 am by The Early Show.

Like its predecessor The Early Show was in the hands of BBC staff announcers. First in the hot seat was Barri Haynes. I’m not sure how long Barri was with Radio 2 but at the time he was a continuity announcer at LWT. Barri was followed in May by Peter Donaldson – later best known as Chief Announcer on Radio 4.

The programme had its own signature tune, Eye Catcher by Otto Keller. This sample isn’t the one used on air which was a little more souped-up.
By the summer of 1972 The Early Show took on a familiar pattern of a rota of presenters, so just when you got used to one voice along came another. Until August 1973 both Tom Edwards and Pete Brady took it in turns but when Pete left the BBC, Barry Alldis was the other half of the team.

It was all change again from 25 March 1974 when a certain Simon Bates became the resident morning DJ. The old theme was dropped, replaced by David Rose’s When You’re With Me, which may be more familiar as the theme to the US TV series Little House on the Prairie.
Simon Bates was briefly an announcer over on Radio 4 before joining the presentation team on Radio 2. He worked on The Early Show until December 1975 with holiday cover provided by a young Jeff Cooper and Tony Brandon, of whom more later.
Here’s a clip of Jeff Cooper from 18 December 1974. You’ll find more audio on Jeff Cooper’s website.
On 5 January 1976 it was all change again when the man who would be long associated with early morning radio took over: Colin Berry.  By now the show’s timeslot had been reduced to just one hour (this had happened the previous January) between 6 and 7 am but, as Colin told me “it being technically on Radio 1 as well and because there was pretty well only LBC, Capital and BRMB there was only minimal competition, consequently the audience was huge”.  The audience was bumped up further as most of the show was also carried by many of the BBC local radio stations, who would dip out of the show as and when they started their own programming with a pre-recorded message from Colin.
During Colin’s era there were another couple of music tracks that became closely associated with the show. For the weather bed a piece called Bikini Parade by the Pierre Lavin Pop Band was used, and continued to be used by Ray Moore. In this clip that I’ve edited together note the use of another song as a short jingle, Good Morning by Leapy Lee.
The second track was a delightful 1974 single from an Australian group, The Moir Sisters, with the title Good Morning (How Are You?), a gift of a title for morning radio and used by Colin as a jingle, as in this short sequence. The voiceover is provided by Rod Lucas.
After a couple of years Colin moved aside for his old mate Ray Moore. Ray’s voice first thing in the morning is the one that many listeners, and professionals, recall with great fondness from this period on Radio 2. In fact Ray’s stints on The Early Show were non-contiguous over the next six years until a schedule re-shuffle in 1984. Here’s a clip of Ray from April 1980.
By now the show had no fixed theme tune but Ray used various tracks over the years such as Here, There and Everywhere by The Mike Leander Orchestra (he brought this with him from his Saturday night shows) and For All We Know by Ray Conniff. In the above clip there’s a third theme, also used by Steve Jones in 1980. I’ve eventually identified this music, with a little help, as The Minor Bird by Syd Dale (from his 1970 album The Birds).    
The Minor Bird

Hear more of Ray's early morning shows in this post.
Ray’s time on The Early Show was interspersed by appearances from another of DJs:

Richard Vaughan – had worked at BBC Radio London hosting Home Run, In Town This Afternoon and Rush Hour. Later TV work includes BBC South Today, NBC Super Channel, Eurosport and voiceovers.
Steve Jones – started at Radio 1 then joined Radio Clyde’s start-up team. Back at the Beeb in 1979 on The Early Show and later promoted to weekday lunchtimes. Best know on TV for The Pyramid Game.
Steve Jones

Here's Steve on 8 July 1981.

David Allan – former pirate DJ on Radio 390 before joining the BBC as radio producer and then presenter specialising in country music on Country Meets Folk, Country Style and Country Club. BBC2 continuity announcer 1969-1994.

Bob Kilbey – ex-Radio 1 specialist music presenter and later on BBC Radio London.

Tony Brandon
Tony Brandon – one-time Radio 1 DJ who’d moved over to Radio 2 in 1971. Tony’s first broadcast was in 1952 in the Carroll Levis Show and he subsequently toured with the show as a comedian and impressionist. On Radio Luxembourg 1966-7 and a short stint on pirate Radio London before joining the new Radio 1 team on Midday Spin and Radio One Club.  Gained a daily afternoon show in January 1969 initially called Sounds Like Tony Brandon. Ousted by Dave Cash eight months later he was on at the weekend with a late-night Tony Brandon Meets Saturday People. Back on weekday afternoons from April 1970 before moving over to mid-morning on Radio 2 on 4 October 1971. Tony moved around the day with various weekday shows on the network until 3 January 1975. Between 1975 and 1978 he provided holiday cover for Terry Wogan and on The Early Show for Simon Bates as well as presenting Radio 2 Top Tunes and starring in his own sitcom The Brandon Family.  Tony was back on The Early Show in between August to December 1978 and February to December 1979. His was the first show on air on Radio 2 when it switched over to medium wave in November 1978. In this clip you’ll notice that Tony was still using his old sig tune Happy Music by James Last & his Orchestra.
During this period Tony was still working in the theatre and would regularly do panto, hence his “disappearance” from the schedules around the festive period. Tony was back on Radio 2 in 1981-83 (see below) before heading off to County Sound and Saga. Now retired from broadcasting he still does some voiceover work. 
Amongst those providing holiday cover in 1979 was former New Faces compere Derek Hobson who at the time was popping up on various shows on Radio 2.

Meanwhile let’s go back to the weekend. From late 1967 the Saturday morning seat at Breakfast Special was occupied by Bruce Wyndham. He continued on Saturdays when The Early Show came along in 1972 before hanging up his headphones in July 1975, after which he went freelance.

Taking over from Bruce on the Saturday shift was Tom Edwards who enjoyed a continuous run of nearly four years.  Tom’s show was a regular listen for me. With him came his old pirate radio theme Mitch Murray’s version of Skyliner but by now a more Radio 2-friendly version by German bandleader Bert Kaempfert was in use. Often newsreader James Alexander Gordon, “old haggis features” would pop into the studio and help read the wedding day requests, presumably he’d then hang around to read the classified football results in the afternoon. Here’s a clip of Tom’s show from the early 1980 presented, as he says, with “effervescent panache”.
By the early ‘80s the Saturday show was followed on Radio 2 by David Jacobs and on Radio 1 by Playground and then Tony Blackburn with Junior Choice so often Tony would pop in for a chat with Tom.
As Tom Edwards recalls, “I left the staff of the BBC in 1979 to go freelance so up until the late 80s I was working at Thames TV during weekdays and HTV in Cardiff at the weekends with Tyne Tees, Anglia, Southern and ATV when they needed me. Then I went to Los Angeles for a few years but got homesick and within weeks was back at BBC East doing Look East and BBC Radio Norfolk, coming full circle in a way as I started at BBC East when I had just left Radio Caroline for the last time in 1967”.

From March 1979 Paddy O’Byrne was the Saturday host for nine months before Tom Edwards returned for a further 16 months. He was back again for three weeks in December 1982 and you can hear part of Tom’s Christmas Day show here.

By May of 1981 Tony Brandon had returned to Radio 2 to present not just the Saturday show but also a new Sunday one, taking over from Sam on Sunday when Sam Costa “retired”. This was the start of a long period of chopping and changing on the weekend shows and I’ll leave the detail to the timelines at the end of this post. Throughout 1982 and 1983 hosts included Sheila Tracy (the trucker’s friend), Peter Marshall (who’d also worked on weekend Late Shows), George Ferguson (ex-Manx Radio, BRMB and Beacon Radio) and fresh from Radio 1, Paul Burnett.

This is Tony Brandon waking up the nation on Saturday 16 May 1981.

Notice the continued use of BBC-recorded session music and a preponderance of country music, which inexplicably seemed to feature widely on the Radio 2 overnight and early morning shows at the time.

From January 1984 the weekend Early Show was carved-up: now on between 4 and 6 am initially with George Ferguson and followed by Sheila Tracy with The Saturday Show (6 to 8 am) or The Sunday Show (6 to 7.30 am). This remained the schedule until 1992 by which time Dave Bussey (later a mainstay at BBC Radio Lincolnshire) and David Allan were regulars.
That same 1984 shuffle of the deck meant changes to weekdays too. After an absence of six years Colin Berry was back on The Early Show now on even earlier between 4 and 5.30 am followed by Ray Moore from 5.30 to 7.30 am and then Terry Wogan. Technically Ray was now neither on The Early Show or the Breakfast Show, but what we would now call “Early Breakfast” or Ray would refer to as “The Porridge Programme”.  As he remarked on the day of the station’s 20th anniversary, here he was all those years later still working the morning shift – “what a wonderful progress in my career”.  Sadly illness meant that Ray had to bow out unannounced on 28 January 1988. 
Here’s an opportunity to hear again part of Colin Berry’s show as broadcast on Monday 18 February 1985.

Of the 80s shows Colin recalls that it was “a hard show to live with for three or four years, it meant getting up at 3 am and leaving the house by ten past. So it was a case of living your life around the show really, though as a youngish feller I burnt numerous candles at both ends!” So after his last weekday programme on 13 May 1988 Colin got to enjoy a lie-in.

By this time (1988) Chris Stuart had taken over Ray Moore’s old time slot and The Early Show was back with the continuity announcer/newsreading team personnel – Alex Lester (still working through the night some 20+ years later), Charles Nove (still heard on Radio 2 reading the news when not on BBC Oxford), Steve Madden (nowadays walking up listeners in the Home Counties on BBC Berkshire) and "Voice of the Balls" Alan Dedicoat.
January 1993 beckoned in a new era, one regular presenter for The Early Show. That presenter was Sarah Kennedy. Sarah had been at the station before as an announcer and newsreader between April 1977 and February 1979. Then it was off to the telly with Game for a Laugh and Busman’s Holiday on ITV and Sixty Minutes and The Animals Roadshow for the BBC, with just the occasional foray back to the radio, such as holiday cover for Wogan in 1983.

Sarah takes The Early Show record with an unrivalled 17 years, though the show soon gained the subtitle of The Dawn Patrol, with the Radio Times adopting this billing from 17 July 1995. Inevitably all those early rises took their toll and Sarah struggled with a number of short-term absences in latter years, covered at short notice by Richard Allinson, Lynn Parsons or Aled Jones. The show was often dogged by controversy (though this was sometimes newspaper mischief-making) and she tended to polarise Radio 2 listeners. Here’s Sarah on 13 August 2007.

Her last Dawn Patrol was exactly three years later, she went off sick on the Friday and never returned, meaning she was unable to say a final farewell to her listeners. Effectively the weekday Early Show had fizzled out anyway when the title was dropped. The current early morning show just gets the billing of Vanessa Feltz; programme titles for the most part are little used these days.

Meanwhile back at the weekend, and winding back the clock to 1992, the Sunday Early Show was dropped in favour of a longer running The Sunday Show with new presenter Barbara Sturgeon.   The Saturday shifts fell to Alex Lester, Steve Madden and Bill Rennells before Colin Berry made his final return to morning radio at the station in April 1993.

For the rest of the ‘90s the Saturday Early Show was seen as something of a try-out slot with all manner of presenters from local radio, singers, writers, actors and sports people. A number of the shows were also independently produced. Worth mentioning are Mo Dutta who would also cover for Sarah Kennedy and eventually take up residency on Saturday and Sunday mornings on Radio 2 from 1994 to 2009; Lynn Bowles, now known for her travel bulletins and banter with Ken Bruce; Diane-Louise Jordan, the new presenter of Sunday Half-Hour; and Helen Mayhew, who would return to the station on Big Band Special.

Again like the weekday show the Saturday Early Show just kind of disappeared. It had long been dropped as a programme title and when Janey Lee Grace took over from February 2000 it eventually ended up in the Radio Times listings for the Friday night rather than the Saturday morning and from 2003 ran went out from 3 to 6 am.

So there you have it, the history of about 16,000 get-ups, waking up to sound of the wireless or just rolling over for an extra 10 minutes snooze. Raise your early morning cup of tea to Paul, John, Bruce, Simon, Sarah, Tom, Colin, Ray and all the rest.

“Wake up easy start the day right. Wake up easy smile and be bright. We’ll start the day off with music for you, the latest word on the weather and news. Wake up easy smile and be gay. Put on the coffee, start a new day. It’s time for music, so out of that bed and wake up easy don’t be such a sleepy head”.
I am indebted to the following for their assistance in writing this post: Colin Berry, Tom Edwards, Paul Hollingdale, Tony Currie, Brian Reynolds, Malcy B, Andy Howells, Noel Tyrrel and all the readers that commented on the first Early Show post.

Help Required. Do you have any audio clips of Simon Bates or Bruce Wyndham on the Radio 2 Early Show that you’d be willing to share? If so please contact me.

The Breakfast Show/Early Show Brief Timeline

For a more detailed timeline you can download a PDF document here.

1 November 1965 First Breakfast Special with John Roberts (Light Programme)
30 September 1967 First Breakfast Special on Radio 1 & Radio 2 with Paul Hollingdale
1 October 1967 First Sunday Special with Robin Boyle
29 March 1970 Final Sunday Special
31 March 1972 Final Breakfast Special with John Dunn
1 April 1972 First Saturday Early Show with Bruce Wyndham
3 April 1972 First weekday Early Show with Barri Haynes
Presentation eventually shared between Pete Brady and Tom Edwards for a month at a time
6 August 1973 Barry Alldis shares presenting with Tom Edwards when Pete Brady leaves the BBC
25 March 1974 Simon Bates takes over as host
26 July 1975 Tom Edwards takes over from Bruce Wyndham on Saturdays
5 January 1976 Colin Berry takes over as host
2 January 1978 Ray Moore’s first stint. Until 1982 presenting duties are shared with Steve Jones, Tony Brandon, Richard Vaughan, David Allan and Bob Kilbey
31 March 1979 Paddy O’Byrne takes over on Saturdays
19 January 1980 Tom Edwards back on Saturdays
9 May 1981 Tony Brandon regular Saturday presenter
10 May 1981 Tony Brandon on new Sunday Early Show
Weekend hosts alternate between Peter Marshall, Tony Brandon, George Ferguson, Sheila Tracy and Tom Edwards
28 June 1982 Ray Moore on weekdays
Weekend hosts are Sheila Tracy, Paul Burnett, Tony Brandon and George Ferguson
21/22 January 1984 George Ferguson at weekends 4-6am followed by The Saturday Show or The Sunday Show with Sheila Tracy
23 January 1984 Colin Berry on The Early Show 4-5.30am, Ray Moore 5.30-7.30am followed by Terry Wogan
There are numerous weekend hosts throughout 1984-1986
20 December 1986 Dave Bussey now regular weekend presenter
28 January 1988 Ray Moore’s final R2 show
4 April 1988 Chris Stuart takes over Ray’s programme slot
13 May 1988 Colin Berry’s last regular weekday show
The weekday show presenters change at intervals between Steve Madden, Bill Rennells, Charles Nove and Alex Lester from 1988 to 1992
15 January 1989 David Allan now regular Sunday presenter with Dave Bussey on Saturday only
30 March 1991 Saturday show presented by Steve Madden then Charles Nove and Alex Lester
4 January 1992 Sunday programme dropped for an extended The Sunday Show. Saturday hosts are Alex Lester, Bill Rennells and Steve Madden
4 January 1993 Sarah Kennedy now permanent host
17 April 1993 Colin Berry on Saturday mornings
2 April 1994 Saturday morning duties change at regular intervals from now on
12 February 2000 Janey Lee Grace takes over as regular Saturday host through to 2004.
13 August 2010 Sarah Kennedy’s last show
17 January 2011 Vanessa Feltz starts new show 5-6.30am

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