Sir Jimmy Young is returning to radio broadcasting for a one hour special to celebrate his 90th birthday.
When I heard this, it took me back to schooldays, remembering how important radio was to teenagers of the 80s. The Top Forty countdown on a Sunday evening. Listening to a tranny (short for transistor radio for those of you who don’t remember) in the locker room at school at break time to find out who was number one that week (can anyone remember what day of the week that was?). But most important was the breakfast show on Radio One: singing along getting ready for school, expertly applying make-up that wouldn’t be detected by teachers, crimping my fringe so it behaved, finishing homework, thinking about Andrew Ridgeley (if you don’t remember who he is, then you don’t deserve to be told). ..
The highlight of these days was the Radio One roadshow at Torquay, 1983. I was 15 and had a small crush on Mike Read (I know, I know). Living just a few miles away in Teignmouth, my friend Jackie (who had a big crush on the DJ) decided we would go along. We were really excited because there was always a surprise live act – the previous week Wham had appeared somewhere in Cornwall. We knew it was a long shot that they’d reappear in Torquay but there was a glimmer of hope that I might finally clap eyes on Andrew Ridgeley (there’s a clue there to who he is – i.e. not George).
We were disappointed. Who did we get: was it Duran Duran? Spandau Ballet? The Thompson Twins? The Human League?
We got…The Wurzels.
Now, in a strange twist of fate, Wham is long gone, Andrew disappearing to the depths of Cornwall somewhere, George … well, we all know about George. But the Wurzels? Well, they are still going strong. In fact – and yes, this is true – my husband is a fan, mainly because he’s a Bristol City supporter (well, someone has to be). Worse than this, he’s dragging our younger son along to a gig in Exmouth at the end of the month.
Stranger still was that I was on BBC Radio this week – on the Shep and Jo show, Radio Devon, talking about The Generation Game. It was fun and they were lovely.
Long live radio.
(If you want to listen, I’m on at 1.31.45 secs, just after Dolly Parton.)