Friday, 6 January 2012

Radio Lives - Bob Holness

The sad news of the death of Bob Holness has been announced today. Bob was a regular radio broadcaster from the 60s through to the 90s and, of course, the host of Blockbusters.

Bob’s radio career started in his native South Africa, though the family had returned back to the UK just after his birth, with his first job being in 1955 as a radio actor. As trivia fans will know he played James Bond in an adaptation of Moonraker. He transferred into presentation and DJ work before moving back to Britain in 1961 where he joined Granada TV working of World In Action and hosting Junior Criss Cross Quiz. At the same time he was DJ'ing from the London studios of Radio Luxembourg.

By the mid-60s Bob was working on BBC radio.  On the Light Programme he popped up on Housewives’ Choice, Newly Pressed, Swingalong, Playtime and Roundabout. Over on the Home Service he was one of the presenters of the regional news programme South-East, working alongside Tim Gudgin and Paddy Feeny.

Radio Times 28 September 1967
When Radio 1 and Radio 2 started in September 1967 Bob was on air in the first week as a regular host of the Late Night Extra, and he continued to work on the show until 1974.

Radio Times 3 October 1967
Between 1975 and 1985 Bob was one half  of the famous LBC partnership with Douglas Cameron on the daily AM news magazine.  Originally at LBC on the afternoon Newswatch, Bob teamed up with Douglas following the departure of Clive Roslin. You can hear a tribute to Bob’s time on AM is this feature compiled by Geoff Lumley. Bob Holness Ten Years 


It was during this time that Bob also became a teatime favourite on Central TV’s Blockbusters - “Can I have a P please Bob?” and the Blockbusters hand jive surely ensuring his place in TV history.  I posted a short clip of Blockbusters  on my You Tube channel last year.

London Calling April 1981
Back on the radio Bob was heard every week on the BBC World Service with the request show Anything Goes that ran from the mid 70s to the late 90s, prior to that he also presented Date with a Disc. In 1985 he returned to the Radio 2 to front shows with the BBC Radio Orchestra and sitting in for holidaying DJs such as Desmond Carrington and Derek Jameson.
Bob Holness on Radio 2

In the early 1990s Bob had a live Saturday night entertainment show Bob Holness Requests the Pleasure. Here’s his show from 4 January 1992 with guests John Dankworth, Don Maclean, George Melly, Madeline Bell and the Max Harris Orchestra. This recording amply demonstrates Bob's warm, easy-going style.


Bob Holness 1928-2012

See also Paul Easton's blog
Tribute from Douglas Cameron
Download Bob Holness Requests the Pleasure here.

2 comments:

Chrissy Brand said...

A touching tribute- thanks Andy. I remember listening to Bob on LBC's AM when I was at school, then enjoying the odd chat with the man a decade later when we both worked at Bush House- a genuinely lovely chap- RIP

Andy said...

Amazing what a long career Bob had. I didn't actually come across him until the 1980s when he debuted in Blockbusters. A true gentleman.

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