Saturday, 15 January 2011

A word or two about The Early Show

Ray Moore is very much associated with BBC Radio 2’s Early Show, but when exactly did he present the show? This post aims to make a stab at giving you the facts.

Firstly the nomenclature. We normally associate the Early Show as being the show that precedes the Breakfast Show. However, in the early-80s when Ray was on the air between 5.30 and 7.30a.m. - before Wogan - The Early Show was in fact presented by Ray’s friend Colin Berry between 4.00 and 5.30 a.m. So, for the purposes of this post I’m looking at the show pre-breakfast, sometimes know as the Early Breakfast Show. Confusing!

When I first started listening to Radio 2 in 1976 the Early Show was presented by Colin Berry. I’ve traced the history of the show since that year but my knowledge prior to that is a little sketchy. If anyone has any further details I’d welcome your input. 

For many years, seventeen and a half in fact, the presenter of the Early Show was Sarah Kennedy. This continuous run for the Dawn Patrol, periods of sickness aside, is the longest by a single presenter. Prior to that role would chop and change on a fairly regular basis.

When Radio 2 started in 1967 it made no distinction between an Early Show and a Breakfast Show. Breakfast Special ran from 5.30 a.m. with different presenters each day that included Paul Hollingdale, John Dunn and Ray Moore, with Bruce Wyndham on Saturdays. So Ray was setting his alarm clock early from the very beginning of the station.
 


Breakfast Special ended in 1972, by now just presented by John Dunn, when Terry Wogan started his famous Breakfast Show run. That same day Barri Haynes became the presenter of the very first Early Show. Barri, I believe, was a Radio 2 announcer at the time who later went on to work at LWT. Barry Alldis was presenting the show in 1972 and 1973. By the middle of 1973 Pete Brady, now back on the radio after his stint on Thames TV’s Magpie, had the 5-7 slot.

From March 1974 to January 1976 Simon Bates presented the Early Show. This run doesn’t appear to have been continuous as Ray Moore was also on the show in 1975 as was Jeff Cooper.
 
From 1976 Colin Berry had taken over the reins for what was to be a long association with early morning shows on Radio 2. By January 1978 Ray Moore was back on the Early Show having finished presenting the Saturday night Late Show. However, before he got too comfortable, in August that year he was off and Tony Brandon took over.

Tony’s run lasted until November 1979 whereupon the picture gets very messy with essentially Ray Moore and Steve Jones alternating every 3 or 4 months for the next two years. For the record Steve Jones, he of The Pyramid Game fame, hosted as follows: Dec 1979 to March 1980, June to Sept 1980, July to Oct 1981, Jan 1982 and finally May to June 1982. From Jan to April 1981 Bob Kilbey had a go.

During this period Ray was at the microphone March to June 1980, Sept to Dec 1980, April to July 1981. Oct to Dec 1981, Feb to May 1982. Ray finally took over his main stint as presenter from Monday 28 June 1982.

In 1982 Ray was still doing holiday relief for Wogan at Breakfast, something he’d done for a number of years. Whilst Ray moved his shift to cover, the likes of Nick Page, Jimmy Mack, Don Durbridge and Colin Berry all took turns on the Early Show.

As is well documented Ray’s run as presenter came to an abrupt end in January 1988 when he became too ill to continue. “It was over” he said “not with a bang but a whimper”.

When Ray left staff including Bill Rennells, Charles Nove, Jean Challis, Liz Allen and John Marsh held the fort until April 1988 when Chris Stuart became the next permanent presenter. Chris was no stranger to the show, having sat in for Ray when he was on leave.


Chris’s stint came to an end after just under three years in December 1990. From January 1991 scheduling changes meant that Ken Bruce was on air between 6 and 8 a.m. prior to the Derek Jameson Breakfast Show. 

Further changes in 1992 meant that Steve Madden hosted until April when ‘the Dark Lord’ Alex Lester took over until December. These shows preceded the Brain Hayes Breakfast Show.

And so we come full circle when on 4 January 1993 Sarah Kennedy started her record-breaking run. The same day Wogan was back at Breakfast. Sarah left last September and since then Richard Allinson, Aled Jones and Lyn Parsons have covered. In November the BBC announced that Vanessa Feltz would host “the Early Breakfast Show” from this coming Monday. 

 


18 comments:

Andy said...

Hi Andy - this is the beginnings of a brilliant blog! I'm giving you a mention over on my blogroll at http://andysretrospace.blogspot.com/. I also have a few vintage recordings if you are interested which I'll try and feature in coming weeks!

Steve said...

Hi Andy..When Breakfast Special finished in spring 1972 for the first year the Early Show was presented by Tom Edwards and Pete Brady on a monthly rotating basis. Tom Edwards was the LWT announcer.Pete Brady left a year later and Barry Alldis took over in Autumn 1973 though Tom Edwards did the Christmas stint.Barry Alldis finished in spring 74 and Simon Bates took over.Tom Edwards presented the saturday Early show from 76-81 thereby succeeding Bruce Wyndham who had been associated with saturdays Breakfast Special and the early Show since the 60s.

Andy Walmsley said...

Thanks for that information Steve. I'll do an update on the Early Show at some point later this year and add some audio this time. Would love to get hold of any audio of Bruce Wyndham, Pete Brady and Simon Bates from the early to mid-70s.

Steve said...

Also Andy,Both the early part of Breakfast Special and the Early show were carried on Radio 1 frequencies for many years. When the Early show first began in 1972 it ran from 5-7a.m. whereas Breakfast Special had been 5.30-9. During Simon Bates reign due to BBC cutbacks the show was cut to 6-7 though restored a year later during Colin Berrys time.The original sig was a jazzed up "Eyecatcher" by Otto Keller,but Simon Bates replaced this with "When Youre with me" by David Rose (incidentally,also the sig to the American TV series "Little house on the Prairie".Colin Berry also ran this.During the summer of 78 Richard Vaughn did a months stint.Richard worked in TV at Southampton . The saturday Early show initially ran 5-8 thereby allowing Ed Stewart to start "Junior Choice" half an hour earlier than he did when Breakfast Special which finished at 8.30 on saturdays was around.

Andy Walmsley said...

Loving these nuggets of information, thank you. I have the David Rose theme and have a very small excerpt of Colin using it. Eyecatcher was released on the 'Cocktail Swings' CD in 1999. Also have a small clip of Richard Vaughan, apparently he was on BBC Radio London.

Steve said...

Hi Andy,The eyecatcher theme on "Cocktail Swings" is NOT the version used on the radio. Apparently a special upbeat version of it was recorded for the Early show.The theme to "Breakfast Special" is on "Girl in a suitcase" CD. By the way, Paul Hollingdale who presented the programme from 65-70 has his own website.He is now 74 and still working.In the early days of the programme,Peter Latham,Robin Boyle,John Roberts and Dwight Wylie also presented.John Dunn as you rightly said was the main presenter from 70-72 . Robin actually did the sunday version for some years.It was called unsurprisingly "Sunday Special" and ran from 7-9. It too was transmitted on both Radio 1 and 2. Keith Skues and Barry Alldis subsequently took over in the early 70s when it ran to 8.30 at which point "Junior Choice" started.

Andy Walmsley said...

Steve, it won't surprise you to know I have the 'Girl in a Suitcase' CD (both versions). Thanks again for your info. Amazed just how many programmes Robin Boyle did present over the years, read the other day that he was one of the first presenters of the Today programme before Jack de Manio became the regular host. A post on radio announcers is in the planning stages.

Darren said...

Hi Andy. Great to read your blog on the greta Ray Moore of Radio 2. I had the great pleasure of meeting him at a book signing shortly before his untimely death. A great man indeed. Do you have any idea where I can get a complete copy of tghe Breakfast Special Theme Tune - C'Mon In by Syd Dale? Can only get a snippet from Radio Rewind. By the way, whatever happened to the great Bruce Wyndham? Another of my early radio heroes!

Darren said...

Just read that you're looking for some audio of Bruce Wyndham. I've got a clip of him at a famous handover with Roger Moffat when he was late for work. Let me know if you'd like a copy and I'll attach to an e-mail

Andy Walmsley said...

Darren. The Bruce Wyndham clip would be great, thanks. By return I can send you a copy of the Breakfast Special theme.

Rob said...

>> Richard Vaughan ... on BBC Radio London

Yes, long-term presenter of Home Run, a fast-moving magazine format of non-needletime music, book author interviews, greyhound results and local news. Richard and his team gave a professional shine to a low budget show.

Rob said...

>> Jack de Manio

Apologies for drifting off topic but I was reminded on seeing Richard V's and Jack d M's names that BBC Radio London used to lift news stories and interviews from Radio 4 (as they were entitled to do.)

Interviews extracted from the World at One were minus the presenter's voice but in the case of William Hardcastle, well you could splice his words out but there was no way to remove his heavy breathing, incongruously heard alongside the interviewee. And if a bad phone line had been used to conduct the interview, Mr Hardcastle was the louder of the two voices, gurgling and snoring away throughout.

Andy Walmsley said...

Rob-checking some London edition back issues of the Radio Times from 1973 shows Home Run on air 4.30 to 6.00 pm and that Richard Vaughan also presented 'In Town This Afternoon' between 3.30 and 6.00 pm.

I've been re-reading David Hendy's book about Radio 4 'Life On Air' and he has this to say on William Hardcastle:

His breathless delivery mangled the conventions of measured speech that still held sway across most of the Home Service, and prompted a regular flow of complaints by disappointed listeners. ‘Why’, one typical letter-writer asked the BBC, ‘is this pompous man allowed to race and gasp his way through the programme, making innumerable mistakes and frequently stumbling over his words’

Gwylfa said...

Pete Brady alternated with Tom Edwards. Barry Alldis was also added to the rota which meant we heard less of Pete and Tom.. Tom went on to the Saturday early show taking over from Bruce Wyndom on his retirement. James Alexander Gordon was the regular news reader nad helped Tom read the Wedding Day requests at 7.45. Tom's theme was Skyliner by Mitch Murray nad later by Bert Kaempfert. I met James and Bruce on a visit to Radio's One and Two. Both lovely blokes. Paddy O'Burn took over from Tom!

Andy Walmsley said...

Great informative feedback Gwylfa. You don't happen to have any audio from Radio 2 from that period do you? As promised earlier I will be revisiting this topic later in the year. Didn't know about the Mitch Murray version of Skyliner, when I was listening Tom was using the Kaempfert version which I eventually, after years of searching, tracked down a copy thanks to Amazon.

Gwylfa said...

I have some odds ands of that period! Tom began at 5am and I often woke early to record his show opening!! Anorak you see! He began using Mitch Murray on Radio City and continued until Radio 2 bosses suggest it needed a more 'Radio 2' feel!!!! Oh how times have changed. He always referred to James AG as 'old haggis features'!!

Andy Walmsley said...

Ah yes "old haggis features", I remember that. Presumably after his morning shift JAG would hang around to read the classified football results in Sports Report. (A post on Sport on 2/Sports Report is planned).
Any clips welcome and with your permission I can add them to a future blog. Any guest blog contributions welcome too.

Gwylfa said...

I will try and dig some out Andy.Incidentally I remember Bruce using a vocal to open his show 'wake the town and tell the people'. Tony

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