Legendary Pick Of The Pops presenter David Jacobs dies aged 87


Will Gant,Chris Moncrieff
Tuesday 03 September 2013 09:40

Tributes have been pouring in for the much-loved radio and television presenter David Jacobs who has died aged 87.

Jacobs who presented Juke Box Jury and Pick Of The Pops, had stepped down from his BBC Radio 2 slot The David Jacobs Collection earlier this summer suffering from Parkinson's and liver cancer.

A BBC spokesman said the broadcaster died peacefully at home surrounded by his family.

BBC director general Tony Hall hailed him as "one of the great broadcast personalities".

"As a young and avid viewer of Juke Box Jury, I remember him every week scoring the hits and misses," he said."

His agent, Jan Kennedy at Billy Marsh Associates, added: "He was always a gentleman to deal with, a great broadcaster, a wonderful presenter.

“Sunday nights will never be the same again without his programme. I'm so upset.”

Fellow DJ Tony Blackburn today paid tribute to his friend on BBC Radio 4: "He was warm, kind and a great broadcaster. And such a lovely voice."

Television presenter Zoe Ball tweeted: "Dear David Jacobs has passed away. One of my all time favourite broadcasters. ThankYouForTheMusic RIP dear chap.

Music presenter Bob Harris wrote: "So very sad to hear the news about David Jacobs, my friend and mentor. He gave me my first-ever mention on the radio on my 15th birthday."

Mr Jacobs, who had suffered from Parkinson's disease and undergone treatment for liver cancer, began his broadcasting career with the Royal Navy in 1944, where he was an announcer on wartime station Radio SEAC.

Helen Boaden, controller of BBC Radio, added that the DJ was “one of the industry's best-loved personalities, and he will be sorely missed by his devoted listeners.”

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Bob Shennan, controller of BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and popular music, said: "David was a legend in broadcasting, not only for the Radio 2 audience, but for the whole population. He was a true giant of the BBC, whose career spanned seven decades on radio and television.

"His broadcast hallmarks were great taste, authority and warmth. I am sure his audience will feel they have lost a friend, as we all do here at Radio 2."

Announcing last month that he was stepping down from his Radio 2 show, Jacobs said: "Over the past two years Radio 2 has given me time to be treated for liver cancer and Parkinson's Disease."

Born David Lewis Jacobs on 19 May 1926, he was educated at Belmont College and the Strand School. His father was a fruit and vegetable importer but went bankrupt around the start of the Second World War.

He got into broadcasting after he was made a radio announcer in the Royal Navy. While at wartime radio station Radio SEAC he produced plays and comedy shows, doing impersonations. He later said about these impressions: "My commanding officer said they were terrible but, as I introduced them so well, I ought to become an announcer."

After leaving the Navy in 1947 Jacobs entered the BBC as an announcer and newsreader 12 months later, but was sacked after giggling at a news item.

He went onto become a freelance broadcaster, hosting shows such as Housewives' Choice and Any Questions, later branching into television.

Jacobs become one of the original Top of the Tops presenters and also fronted the BBC's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest. He appeared on primetime shows including Blankety Blank, The Frank Sinatra Show, Come Dancing, Miss World and What's My Line?, winning slew of awards during his seven decade-long career.

He was BBC personality of the year in 1960 and BBC radio personality of the year in 1975. In 1984 he won the Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to radio over the years.

Jacobs was upset when his lunchtime music programme on Radio 2 was axed at the end of 1991.

The BBC said it wanted to change the style of the music and get a younger audience. But soon after that Radio 2 gave him a Saturday evening show, Easy Does It.

He was awarded the CBE in 1996 for services to broadcasting and for charitable services. These included work for cancer charities and alcohol advice groups.

Jacobs also had an impressive acting career, playing Laurie in the first TV adaptation of Little Women. He made numerous film appearances, often as himself, and for several years was a commentator on British Movietone News.

He was also the author of Jacobs Ladder, the best-seller Caroline, and Any Questions, with Michael Bowen.

Jacobs' personal life was marred by tragedy. He married Patricia Bradlaw in 1949 and they had three daughters and a son, Jeremy. But their son died aged 19 after being hit by a lorry in Israel in 1973. The marriage had been dissolved in 1972.

His second wife, Caroline, was killed in a road accident in Spain while pregnant, just weeks after their marriage.

Jacobs married Lindsay Stuart-Hutcheson in 1979.

He is survived by his three daughters from his first marriage.

The disc jockey David Jacobs circa 1965

June 1962: Disc jockey David Jacobs
Eurovision Song Contest entrant Katy Bodtger of Denmark talks to compere David Jacobs during rehearsals at the Royal Festival Hall in London, 28th March 1960.

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