Ed Stewart - Radio One - Junior Choice
Just like you can tell someone’s age by the Blue Peter presenters they remember; just ask about the radio programmes they recall, and you’ll get a similarly useful steer.
If you are slightly younger than a ‘Children’s Favourites’ listener, you’ll likely fondly remember ‘Junior Choice’. The programme’s ‘signature tune’ was ‘Morningtown Ride’, updated from its predecessor’s ‘Puffin’ Billy’. ‘Da da, da da, da da’, played by Stan Butcher's Birds n Brass, signalled the weekend for a generation.
The show was born alongside Radio One and Two in 1967 and, although Radio One had custody, it borrowed Radio Two’s FM transmitters too. It was, accordingly, one of the few shows where we radio anoraks could hear the fab jingles in stereo. The programme was hosted by the presenter it inherited from 'Children's Favourites', Leslie Crowther, but Ed Stewart‘s twelve year tenure is probably best-remembered.
Junior Choice featured letters from children and their families and, as tape recorders became more commonplace, sometime included the kids’ own voices. The music policy would not be Ben Cooper’s first choice: kiddies’ ditties; from ‘Nellie the Elephant’ to ‘How much is that Doggie in the Window?’. One sound effect frequently aired was a cheeky random child saying ‘ello darlin’. His identity, it seems, remains unknown. Unless it’s you.
Gradually, as radio and children changed, the programme began to show its age. Putting the great Tony Blackburn on as host in 1980, after he was sidelined from weekdays, was not the best move for anyone. The programme then lost its title and ebbed away.