Robbie Shepherd MBE has said farewell to Take the Floor, the BBC Radio Scotland Show he has presented for 35 years.
The octogenarian – renowned for his passionate support of Scottish traditional music and the Doric dialect – has decided to step down from the programme, which is the longest running show on Scottish radio.
In a special edition of Take the Floor, broadcast on Radio Scotland last Saturday, September 17, Robbie said his final “Be looking for ye and a’ the best” sign-off.
Tributes paid to Robbie in his final Take the Floor ranged from Sheena Wellington to Dougie MacLean, Karen Matheson and Jimmy Shand Junior among others.
BBC Scotland Director Ken MacQuarrie says: “Robbie is one Scotland’s most recognisable voices and, over the years, he has been like a close family friend for many of our listeners.
“A passionate supporter of traditional Scottish music, Robbie has, over more than three decades, shared his in-depth knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm with generations of Radio Scotland audiences.
“I’d like to thank him personally, both for his work with Radio Scotland and also for his passionate commitment, championing Scottish traditional music across the country.”
Born in Dunecht in Aberdeenshire in 1936, Robbie ventured first into theatre, comparing and producing variety shows, with names such as Calum Kennedy and Andy Stewart before branching out into broadcasting. As well as Take the Floor, he has also presented The Reel Blend for Radio Scotland, and has in his time compared Beechgrove Garden roadshows and presented sheepdog trials.
Taking the helm at Take the Floor over the autumn will be Gary Innes, musician and former shinty internationalist, who said:“ I’m overwhelmed to be borrowing the shoes from such a Scottish icon.”
Robbie Shepherd says: “It has been 35 years of top class music. From the great masters of the past to present day performers, Scottish dance music continues to be a vibrant scene.
“So the time has come for me to hand over to a younger presenter and wish the Take the Floor team a’ the best.
“I would also like to thank the many hundreds of musicians, whose music we’ve featured, and the audiences, in halls at our recordings across the country, who have provided a great atmosphere for the show.
“I’ll be looking for ye all and a’ the best.”
Over and above his broadcasting work he has written books on Scottish dance music and Scottish country dancing, and has a regular column in Doric for the and is a vocal champion and compere at many Highland Games.
His contribution to Scottish traditional music, to Doric, and Scottish culture generally, was recognised in 2001 with an MBE and also an honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen in the same year.