Brian Matthew in 1967
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.
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.
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.
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".
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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
Whats' on next week
After Seven 1977
Quiz Time; Who Said That
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