BBC Radio Wales presenter Dewi Griffiths has told his listeners he will host the final edition of his programme A String of Pearls at the end of the month – 8pm September 28th.
The 83-year-old presenter celebrated 60 years at the BBC this year, after starting his career as an engineer for the Welsh Home Service. A String of Pearls, his weekly celebration of music from the golden era of showbusiness, has been on-air since 1988.
Announcing his departure on air, Dewi Griffiths told his listeners, “I want to make a special announcement regarding me, and this programme! At the end of this month I’ll be riding off into the sunset for the last time – and leaving the BBC after 60 years and 4 months – which means of course, that this programme, A String of Pearls, will also come to an end.
“This weekly presentation of Golden Oldies began in the autumn of 1988, and as a new presenter, I came on air stating my credentials – a child of the Depression of the 30s – becoming a teenage during World War II – serving with the RAF during my National Service in the early 50s – and along the way I became a huge fan of the BBC Dance Band Years – the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals – and the Big Band Era”.
In his 60 years at the BBC, Dewi worked across the world on television outside broadcasts, covering sporting crown jewels such as the Olympics and World Cup. In Cardiff, he formed a new sports department in Wales with rugby legend Cliff Morgan. Dewi directed the first colour programme to be broadcast by the BBC, which was the men’s quarter-final match at Wimbledon in July 1967. He directed the cameras at every rugby match at Cardiff Arms Park and the National Stadium for 29 years and was involved in bringing coverage of six Lions tours to the BBC television screen.
Roy Noble will move an hour earlier to 9.30am from October 12th. His show’s musical format will be broadened to include the kind of songs Dewi has been playing week in week out.
Roy Noble said, “The end of an era, with the String of Pearls duly put in the safe by Dewi. He, and his programme, have been legendary and what a responsibility and privilege it is, to be handed the key to seek out the finest jewels!”
Editor of BBC Radio Wales, Steve Austins, said: “After 60 years of working for the BBC, Dewi decided that now was the right time for him to step off the stage. His dedication to the programme and his listeners over the years has been exemplary and it’s been an honour to work with him.
”Dewi leaves big shoes to fill but I’m convinced there is nobody better than Roy Noble to take up the mantle. Roy’s show will include music familiar to String of Pearls listeners and we’ll keep Dewi’s ‘golden-days postbag’ open for business.”
At the end of the programme, Dewi said, “I must say that I feel very much as I did in early 1954, when I was waiting to leave the RAF and get on with the rest of my life – I’m a little bit “Demob-Happy” – because three weeks today I’ll be presenting the very last String of Pearls”.