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Brian Matthew

 

Factfile

The presenter who is most closely associated with ITV's  'Thank Your Lucky Stars' 1961-1965 is Brian Matthew, who over the years not only introduced some of the best British acts but some of the best from the USA too, including The Ronettes, Brenda Lee, and The Supremes.

 

 

Brian Matthew in 1967

EARLY DAYS
 

Born in Coventry on September 17th 1928, Brian Matthew was the son of musical parents. His mother was a professional singer and his father a conductor of the Coventry Silver Band.

Brian started his radio career in 1946 whilst in the Army on BFN Germany reading the news, introducing records and acting.

He joined RADA in 1949 and appeared with the Old Vic Company, where he met his wife to be, Pamela Wickington, whom he married in 1951. From 1952 to 1953 he was heard as a presenter on Radio Netherlands Worldwide, based in Hilversum.

 

Coming back to England, he became a milkman in Coventry for a while, until the BBC approached him to become an announcer; he began with them on 25th July 1955 and was announcer and producer for six years.

 

LIGHT PROGRAMME

 

His first major break was presenting a new show, Saturday Skiffle Club on the Light Programme from 1 June 1957. Skiffle music was quite popular at the time and is made with acoustic guitars, a washboard and home made instruments. This 30-minute Saturday morning show was aimed at teenagers and featured two or three singers with a skiffle group. Songs covered blues, ballads, work and country songs. Guest acts included Chas McDevitt with Shirley Douglas, The Vipers, Lonnie Donegan and George Melly.

 

With falling popularity of skiffle music, the show was renamed Saturday Club from 4th October 1958 and extended to two hours. Live acts were heard featuring up-and-coming talent. Saturday Club soon became a prestigious radio show. The theme tune was Humphrey Lyttleton's Saturday Jump . Acts included Adam Faith, Clinton Ford, Jim Dale,  Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Craig Douglas, Bert Weedon , Acker Bilk. Lonnie Donegan, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Chris Montez, Tommy Roe, the Beatles, Frank Ifield, and Kathy Kirby. Later editions included the Wayne Fontana, the Searchers, Jimi Hendrix, Manfred Mann and the Who. Brian introduced the acts and chatted with them each Saturday until the 23rd September 1967, three months before the show was scrapped.

 

From 1959, Brian Matthew was also heard on a new Sunday mid-morning Light Programme pop show called Easy Beat. Originally produced and compered by Brian, like Saturday Club, the show was recorded at the BBC Playhouse Theatre just off Trafalgar Square in front of a live audience. Regularly featured were Kenny Ball s Jazzmen, resident Johnny Howard Band, Laura Lee, Tony Steven, Danny Street, guest artistes such as Bert Weedon, Cilla Black, the Beatles and BBC top tunes. The show ran until 1967.

 

RADIO TWO


In 1973 Brian Matthew was heard on Radio 1 presenting My Top Twelve. This was a new series where guest music stars were invited to select twelve of their favourite music tracks to make up an imaginary album and chat with Brian about their career.

Guests included Brian Ferry, Ringo Starr, Keith Emerson, Rod Stewart, Joni Mitchell and Neil Diamond.

 

During the early 1970's Brian was heard regularly on weekday evenings on 2 with an easy listening music show After Seven.

 

He became the host of BBC Radio 2's arts magazine show Round Midnight show from Jan 1978 to Spring of 1990 in which he presented music and interviews with personalities from the world of arts including Sir George Solti, James Cameron, Henry Mancini, Peter Schaufuss and John Fowles.

 

From April 1990 Brian Matthew hosted the popular SOTS (Sounds of the Sixties) show on Radio 2, playing record requests for 1960's records. The theme tune is the Shadows' Foot Tapper. He fronted the show until November 2016.

 

In his spare time Brian liked to sail and had his own yacht called  "Round Midnight". He was married with a son and lives in Kent.

 

Brian presented a special show on Radio 2 on Saturday 4th October 2008 celebrating fifty years since the launch of Saturday Club. He mentioned highlights and happy memories during the making of the show as well as playing some of the original performances.

 

DEATH

 

Matthew died on 8th April 2017 at the age of 88.

Head of Radio 2 Lewis Carnie paid tribute, saying Matthew would be "sadly missed by us all".

 

 

RADIO REWIND AUDIO CLIPS

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Audio BBC

 

Top of the Pops  1963 (radio show)

This hour- long programme was aired on the Light during 1963...the

show included top acts performing in front of a live audience.

 

Brook Brothers, Maureen Evans

The Tremoloes, David Ede's Rabin Band

Introducing Mark Winter

Kenny Ball with Clinton Ford

 

Saturday Club 5th Birthday 1963

Intro (low quality)

Welcome with Brian & Brenda

Joe Brown & the Brothers

The Week's Number 1

Guest Roy Orbison

Guest Frank Ifield

Guest Del Shannon

Introducing the Beatles

Beatles Sing Happy Birthday

Music While You Shirk!

The Everly Brothers

The Beatles again

See You Next Week

 

Easybeat 1964

Cilla

Whats' on next week

 

After Seven 1977

Intro

Quiz Time; Who Said That

Old '78

Bernard Manning & Los Zafiros

Back at Weekends Again

 

Radio 2 Jingle Intros  including Round Midnight - the World of Entertainment

 

Sounds of the Sixties

Theme tune; Foot Tapper by The Shadows

2004 SOTS clip

 

 

 



Comments (7)

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John Mc Carthy (Cork) says...
Listened to SOTS since day one, Brian was educational in reminding all about the music that was played. May he Rest in Peace. SOTS is like a request show and mostly about Blackburn, too bad!
14th November 2017 3:30pm
Dermot (London) says...
Terrible news about brian mathew.
A true radio legend,the new show now on at 6am is awful should be called Tony Blackburns tamla motown with silly jokes.
A fabulous show ruined.
15th April 2017 7:52am
Tom Doubler (Newcastle upon Tyne) says...
When Brian used to say, "That's the lot for this week, see you next week", it sounded like he was talking to you personally as a friend, and not the millions of other listeners.

No longer listen to SOTS. It's not the same, and it never will be.
10th April 2017 7:39pm
Mark Slater (Warrington) says...
God bless Brian, lots of wonderful memories. He spanned a number of generations and he will be missed but remember for the great times on the radio. The spirit of his programmes will continue on Radio 2 as we 60's children get older through Tony B.
10th April 2017 7:58am
Carol wright (Fleet HAMPSHIRE) says...
A wonderful man ,we enjoyed every Saturday morning,but now what a mess the BBC is making of the Radio and the terrible programs on the TV,WHAT A SHAM.
5th April 2017 6:30pm
Glenn Aylett (Whitehaven) says...
Sad to hear Brian has announced his retirement on health grounds. The man is a legend and Sounds of the Sixties is one of the best shows on the radio.
29th January 2017 1:22pm
Richard Cooper (Faversham) says...
This omits a particularly important show that Brian presented - Top Gear. It ran on Thursday nights at 10pm from Spring 1964 and was the first show on the BBC that played American R&B and Soul (and also The Beach Boys). It was a response to Pirate Radio and the term, clearly meant to imply adventurousness, was taken over by John Peel when Radio 1 started.
22nd January 2017 11:30pm
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