David Jacobs - Medley and farewell words

Aug 04, 2013, 11:00 PM

There were 1.5m cars on the road when David Jacobs first broadcast; a gallon of petrol was ten pence; and the average graduate wage was £275 p.a.

David was one the great characters who’d been on air since the medium of radio itself was but a thirty something. Following appearances on the BBC General Forces Programme, BFBS and on radio in what was Ceylon, he became a staff announcer at the BBC. Notably, he introduced all 53 episodes of ‘Journey into Space’, the sci-fi serial on the BBC Light Programme which began in 1953, said to be the last radio show to attract a bigger evening audience than TV.

On TV he was seen in a number of premier league programmes which are now part of our heritage, including Juke Box Jury, Top of The Pops and the Eurovision.

On radio, he was heard on Radio Luxembourg in the ‘50s with ‘Lucky Couple’; and on the BBC with Housewives’ Choice, Radio 4’s Any Questions and several programmes on Radio 2 and even Radio 1. On the former, he hosted the beautifully titled ‘Melodies for You’ from 1974 to 1984; and then lunchtimes into the ‘90s. In early 73, he added weight to Attenborough's Board for London's Capital Radio.

July 2013 saw the announcement of his retirement, owing to ill health, from his late night Sunday programme ‘The David Jacobs Collection’, which had been on air since 1998. His last show, heard at the end of this montage, was aired on Sunday 4 August 2013; he died just a month later on 2nd September.

With mentions of the ‘end’ absent from the bulk of the programme, he shows the restraint of his generation.

Just maybe his departure marked the last quiet closing of the door on the Light legacy; and the coming of age of a new and different, yet highly successful BBC Radio 2.

It’s simplistic just to view David as a legend or a veteran. It’s correct simply to view his achievements over radio’s first generations. Even its early days, he understood instinctively the nature of radio’s conversation and the benefits of warmth and informality. Little wonder he was voted Britain’s Top DJ for six years and BBC Radio Personality of the Year in 1975. In 1984, he claimed his Sony Gold Award.