Saturday, December 31, 2016


Thin pickings for the BBC in the New Year's Honours List - they can only really claim as their own cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew, MBE.

Dame Patricia Routledge may first come to mind as Hyacinth Bucket in the BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, but back in 1966, she played three roles in a Radio 3 series of Gilbert and Sullivan operas - Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, the title role in Iolanthe, and Melissa in Princess Ida.

Angela Rippon, CBE, is honoured for work with the Alzheimer's Society - she's been an ambassador for the charity since 2009. Maggie Philbin, OBE, is cited for work promoting interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Professor "Dai" Smith, CBE, spent time as boss of Radio Wales, then Head of Broadcast (English) at BBC Wales from 1993 to 2000.  He's dad to non-Corbyn-nemesis and former Today producer Owen Smith MP.

Rugby League-player-turned-commentator (and now reitred) Mike 'Stevo' Stephenson, MBE, got his UK break through working alongside the BBC's Eddie Hemmings covering the 1988 Ashes.

Actor Tim Pigott-Smith, OBE, has been an anchor of many a Radio 4 drama over his extensive career, and can point to many A Book at Bedtime, Woman's Hour Serial or Poetry Please going back to the late seventies.

Professor Simon Frith, OBE, socio-musicologist, has been chairman of the Mercury Music Prize judges since the awards started in 1992.

Roma Hooper, OBE, helped found Feltham Radio inside the notorious young offenders' institution back in 1994, which emerged as the Prison Radio Association in 2006.

Artist and general renaissance man Patrick Brill, better known through his pseudonym Bob and Roberta Smith, hosts a weekly show, Make Your Own Damn Music, on Resonance FM - which includes such delights as playing Teach Yourself Chinese records.

Nick Jones, MBE, of Soho House (branch coming atop the refurbished Television Centre) is Mr Kirsty Young.

Marty Wilde, now 77, is made an MBE, as is music promoter Barrie Marshall of Marshall Arts, who started as a booking agent with the Arthur Howes Agency in 1965, where his first act was The Kinks (Ray Davies is now 'Sir'). He also promoted the famous Stax/Volt tour of the UK in 1967 led by Otis Redding.  In 1988 he co-promoted Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Concert at Wembley, televised by the BBC, when Mandela was still held on Robben Island. Marshall's long time artists include Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Paul MacCartney and Elton John.

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