Veteran broad­caster Sir Jimmy Young dies

Malta Independent - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Veteran broad­caster Sir Jimmy Young has died at the age of 95.

The long-serv­ing DJ, who spent al­most three decades at BBC Ra­dio 2, died “peace­fully at home” on Mon­day af­ter­noon with his wife Ali­cia by his side, a fam­ily spokesman said.

Sir Jimmy be­gan his BBC ca­reer on the Light pro­gramme, which was re­branded Ra­dio 2 in 1967, the same year Ra­dio 1 launched.

He went on to fill Ra­dio 2’s early af­ter­noon slot un­til 2002.

Be­fore be­com­ing a pre­sen­ter on the air­waves, Sir Jimmy had a num­ber of hit pop sin­gles dur­ing the 1950s, in­clud­ing a cover of the Nat King Cole song Too Young.

His ver­sion of Un­chained Melody topped the UK charts in 1953 for three weeks.

Trib­utes have been pour­ing in for the pre­sen­ter, who was born Les­lie Ron­ald Young in 1921.

BBC di­rec­tor gen­eral Tony Hall said: “Sir Jimmy Young de­fined Ra­dio 2 and was a true broad­cast­ing pioneer. He will be dearly missed by his many fans.”

Sir Jimmy’s for­mer Ra­dio 2 col­league Ken Bruce tweeted: “So very sad to hear about the death of my old friend Sir Jimmy Young. One of the most able broad­cast­ers I ever worked with.”

In an in­ter­view on the To­day pro­gramme, Bruce said Sir Jimmy’s will­ing­ness to bring pol­i­tics into a light en­ter­tain­ment ra­dio show “ruf­fled quite a few feath­ers”.

He said: “He was rid­ing a very dif­fi­cult path and he never fell off.”

Time Team pre­sen­ter and Black­ad­der ac­tor Sir Tony Robin­son said: “So sad. Such mem­o­ries from my child­hood and teens. I loved his ver­sions of The Man From Laramie and Un­chained Melody.”

Wo­man’s Hour pre­sen­ter Jenni Mur­ray, wrote: “BFN Jimmy. We loved you. RIP #Jim­myYoung.”

And tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Piers Mor­gan said: “An­other gi­ant of Bri­tish broad­cast­ing dies just months af­ter his great friend & col­league Terry Wo­gan.”

The Queen was said to be among the mil­lions who tuned in to his Ra­dio 2 show.

Sir Jimmy in­ter­viewed ev­ery prime min­is­ter from Alec Dou­glas-Home to Tony Blair - with Baroness Thatcher a guest 14 times.

Bob Shen­nan, di­rec­tor of BBC Ra­dio, said: “He was a truly unique broad­caster who pi­o­neered a form of pre­sent­ing that gen­er­a­tions have fol­lowed.

“He made cur­rent af­fairs rel­e­vant to mil­lions of lis­ten­ers and helped shape Ra­dio 2 into the sta­tion it is to­day.”

Gil­lian Reynolds, Daily Tele­graph ra­dio critic, said: “He had an easy af­fa­bil­ity in in­ter­views. He had a shrewd sense of when to in­ter­rupt and when to shut up.

“He wasn’t a soft touch, but he brought out the softer side in many a politi­cian, and when he went off, he was of­ten cov­ered by politi­cians. You wouldn’t call Ken Liv­ing­stone a soft touch, but he was one of his un­der­stud­ies.

“Who­ever’s plan it was hav­ing him made an ex­cel­lent choice, be­cause he is def­i­nitely a land­mark in Bri­tish broad­cast­ing his­tory.”

Sir Jimmy’s work­ing life be­gan as a clerk for a min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and a man­ager of a hair sa­lon be­fore he achieved his dream of get­ting a ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment.

The broad­caster left the BBC af­ter more than 30 years be­hind the desk af­ter he was re­placed in a re­vamp at the sta­tion, as part of new con­troller Jim Moir’s ef­forts to at­tract younger view­ers.

Sir Jimmy made no se­cret of the fact it was not his choice to leave, and a mo­tion was even put down in Par­lia­ment to keep him on.

But he made up with the BBC in later years, host­ing a one-off spe­cial for his 90th birth­day.

Jeremy Vine, who took over the veteran’s Ra­dio 2 slot, tweeted: “Sad to see this news. RIP Jimmy.”

The Light Pro­gramme, where Sir Jimmy be­gan his ca­reer, was broad­cast si­mul­ta­ne­ously on Ra­dio 2 and Ra­dio 1 from 1967, mak­ing him one of Ra­dio 1’s orig­i­nal DJs.

Fel­low broad­caster Tony Black­burn said in a state­ment: “Jimmy was a leg­endary broad­caster, there at the very start of Ra­dio 1 and then, for so long, the voice of Ra­dio 2.

“2016 has been a ter­ri­ble year for los­ing iconic fig­ures from our youth. To­day we lost an­other.”

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