Tributes paid to former BBC Radio 2 host
The former Radio 2 broadcaster Don Durbridge has died in Spain after a short illness. He was seventy three.
Don first broadcast to the nation in 1955 at the age of sixteen as co-host of the BBC Light Programme’s Younger Generation.
In 1974, he joined the Light Programme’s successor, BBC Radio 2, as a continuity announcer and newsreader and was also a regular cover presenter stepping into the shoes of Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young and Ed Stewart as well as hosting such iconic shows as Family Favourites, Friday Night is Music Night, Night Ride and Sport on 2.
He also worked for many years for the forces’ radio service, BFBS, including at the Munich Olympics in 1972 where he secured a worldwide scoop – an exclusive interview with the swimmer Mark Spitz, who’d won an, unprecedented at the time, seven gold medals at the Games.
Born in Glasgow in 1939 and raised in south London, Don’s adopted home was ‘the beautiful county of county of Kent’ as he called it. In 1984, he was part of the launch team for the county’s very first commercial radio station, Invicta Sound. In the late eighties and early nineties he worked for BBC Radio Kent as presenter of the nostalgia music show, Remember When, and was also the matchday announcer at Gillingham Football Club.
After a short time living and working in Malta, he returned to the UK in 1997 and found himself back amongst the golden oldies doing what he enjoyed most when he joined Saga’s new national digital service, Primetime Radio, where he hosted the late night show, ‘In Mellow Mood’.
When Primetime ceased broadcasting in 2006, Don emigrated to Spain. His final radio stop was with REM FM (now Talk Radio Europe) where he presented weekend shows with a mix of music, chat and celebrity guests as diverse as Max Bygraves and Ken Clarke.
He is survived by his first wife, Yvonne, who lives in Kent, and also leaves a daughter, Moira, and a grandson, Teddy, who live in Derbyshire.