Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew dies
By Andy Malt | Published on Monday 10 April 2017
Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew has died, aged 88, following a period of ill-health that brought to an end to his long career with the BBC station earlier this year.
In a statement, Radio 2 head Lewis Carnie said: “Brian was one of this country’s most popular and best-loved presenters, delighting millions of listeners with his memories and favourite tunes on ‘Sounds Of The 60s’ for 27 years. On behalf of everyone at Radio 2, we send love and our best wishes to his family at this difficult time”.
Matthew first joined Radio 2, then still the BBC Light Programme, in 1954 and hosted a number of programmes for the station in the following decades. After collapsing at home in November last year, Matthew took time off from his regular Saturday morning ‘Sounds Of The 60s’ show.
The BBC then announced in January that he would not be returning, and that it had been mutually agreed that it was “the right time for him to step off the weekly treadmill of presenting the show”.
Though the presenter took exception to this statement, telling The Telegraph: “That’s absolute balderdash. I was ready and willing and able to go back, and they’ve just said they are going to put the programme in the hands of other people”.
Following a protest from fans of Matthew, he was allowed to return for one final edition of the show, before it was handed over to Tony Blackburn.
There was further controversy last week when the BBC mistakenly prematurely announced Matthew’s death on Wednesday, later retracting its statement after receiving new information to the effect that the presenter was “critically ill” but still at that point alive.
Details of a tribute show are due to be announced this week.