Whatever Happened to...?
Discovering what became of personalities from the past
Barry Kinder asked about several former BBC music broadcasters.
Steve Race ( 1921- 2009), was one of our finest who embraced every form of the genre with enthusiasm. A composer and raconteur, his informative but gentle approach put everyone at ease. He was the perfect chairman of My Music ( see Evergreen, Winter 2009), amalgamating earnestness with amusement, and enjoyed telling the story when he mistakenly awarded second prize in a young composer competition to a girl who cheated by submitting an obscure piece by Mozart! His autobiography Musician at Large is an excellent read.
Hubert Gregg ( 1914- 2004) was a writer, singer and actor who composed the popular song “Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner” ( see Evergreen, Spring 2001). Among his nostalgic BBC radio programmes were A Square Deal and, latterly, Thanks for the Memory.
Benny Green ( 1927- 1998, see below), was a proud Londoner and a jazz saxophonist whose easy manner endeared him to an army of fans. His expert knowledge of jazz and popular song composers was a feature of his Sunday afternoon programme which ran for many years right up until his death. Also a cricketing guru, he wrote several Wisden Anthologies.
Alan Dell ( 1924- 1995, see above), was South African and a walking encyclopedia on music from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties, hosting The Dance Band Days on Radio 2 from 1969 almost until his death. He was also involved with Radio Luxembourg and the early days of pirate radio broadcasting.
Malcolm Laycock ( 1938- 2009, see above), succeeded Alan Dell on Radio 2 with Sunday Night at Ten in which he mixed dance bands with his love of big bands. A former deputy head teacher who set up a music studio for disaffected pupils in South London, his untimely death signalled the end for British dance band music on BBC radio, a crushing blow for the many who grew up with it.
David Jacobs ( 1926- 2013), was a highly versatile broadcaster who took key roles in programmes as different as Any Questions?, Top of the Pops, Journey into Space ( see Evergreen, Autumn 1994), Melodies for You and Juke Box Jury. Latterly, he presented the late night David Jacobs Collection, which he modestly described as “easy listening”.