Keith Skues

Keith Skues

Richard Keith Skues has always been interested in show business. From the age of 10 he wanted to be a radio announcer. His first public appearance was via a perambulator but his publicity handout assures us that it was in a parish church pantomime. He appeared annually in various productions, and at the age of 16 wrote and produced a full length youth variety show. Keith was Youth Leader of his church club.

About this time he founded and edited the “Youth Fellowship Times” (1956-1958).

He was called up for national service in 1958 and admits there was more to it than marching up and down the parade square. Whilst stationed at RAF Chivenor he wrote “The History of Heanton Punchardon”, one of Britain’s oldest hamlets in the county of Devon.

At the beginning of 1959 Keith was posted to Germany and he secured, wangled, maneuvered (we are not told how) a post to British Forces Network in Cologne. He began as a presentation assistant, moved to production and later became an announcer. It was in 1959 that the now famous “Cardboard Shoes” gimmick was born. Instead of using his own name he tried a pseudonym. It has followed him around the world since.

After his release from the RAF he joined British Forces Network (which later changed its name to British Forces Broadcasting Service) as a civilian announcer and his first assignment was in 1961 posted to the sweltering hot desert of Kuwait during the Iraqi crisis. Here he set up a small station and broadcast to most parts of the world from where service personnel had been sent to Kuwait.

Later that year he was moved to Kenya with Forces radio. Mention the years 1916-1964 [sic: 1956-1964 – Ed] and Keith’s reaction is “those were the good old days”. Busy days, too for as usual he began to look for something completely different to do. In this case we substitute “do” for “conquer”. He successfully reached the summit of Mount Kilamanjaro (19,340 feet) in October 1962 along with a team of RAF personnel, who were the first services expedition not to lose any one on the way up, or down. Asked why he attempted such an exhausting feat Keith replied; “I wanted to get to the top in life!”.

Whilst in Kenya he wrote a pop page for the “Daily Nation”, and edited a features page for the “Sunday Post”.

On radio he picked up awards two years running for his series “Skues Me” and “Skueball Speshall” … climbed yet another mountain — Mount Kenya (17,058 feet) … directed a number of films including “The BFBS Story”, “Kilamanjaro — What a Long Walk”, “Wild Life in East Africa” … and appeared on local television.

In 1963 he returned to London and was attached to the BBC on a three month senior programme training course. It was just after his return to Nairobi that Kenya gained its independence, BFBS was closed down and after a stint in Swaziland, Keith was posted to Aden where he remained for three months.

“Trouble seems to follow me around the world — Kuwait, Zanzibar, Tanzyanika, Uganda and Kenya which had uprisings and mutinies, and I spent a few weeks in Swaziland during some trouble they had down there. In Aden I was up to my neck in it with the Radfan fighting. So I opted for a more peaceful life and packed my numerous kit bags and returned to England.”

Whilst at the BBC the bug for radio in Britain had bitten him and he came back once again to do something completely different. It was in 1964 that pirate radio began broadcasting off the shores of the British Isles and Keith joined Radio Caroline which was anchored off the Essex coast and where he worked two weeks on board and a week ashore. He became a regular presenter of the 9-12 morning show and admits that the highlight of his days with Caroline was when he escorted Prince Richard of Gloucester to the ship and interviewed him on air.

Keith moved to land based commercial radio in January 1966 working for Radio Luxembourg and presenting his own show sponsored by CBS records.

In May 1966 he was back at sea again but this time with Radio London — “I was writing a book about the pirates and wanted to experience as much variety as possible.”

He worked with many disc jockeys who are now broadcasting with ILR stations today.

“The pirates were outlawed by the British Government in August 1967 which was a sad blow. Pirate radio had proved really popular and had created a need for all day music and entertainment with an informal approach. Radio One was set up as a substitute, if you like, but on a national network. It more or less replaced the pirate stations.”

Keith came ashore and was offered a regular job with the BBC and was one of the original disc jockeys on Radio One. He was best known perhaps for his compering of “Saturday Club” but he was also a regular host of “Radio One Club”, “Family Choice”, “Pop Inn”, “Today”, “Disc Jockey Derby”, “Night Ride” and “Coming Home”.

He has appeared on many television shows including “Top Of The Pops”, “Thank Your Lucky Stars”, “Juke Box Jury”, “Pop The Question”, “Rough with the Smooth”, “Pop Quest”, “Calendar” and the “Kenneth Williams Show”.

He remained with the BBC until 1974 having worked on “The Story of Pop”, a radio series which was sold around the world. He co-wrote many of the episodes and was editor of the series. He joined Radio Hallam as Programme Director in March 1974.

Keith was appointed Vice-President of the National Association of Youth Clubs (Patron — HM The Queen Mother) in 1972 and is actively involved in voluntary work for the organisation up and down the country.

Off the air he likes writing and to his credit are “Pop Went The Pirates”, “Radio Onederland” (the story of Radio One) and “The History of the Skues Family”. Keith is a Lord’s Taverner, holds a private pilots licence, writes sleeve notes for LP record covers, has appeared in the film “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, is the voice behind many television and radio commercials, has represented Great Britain as a DJ in South Africa (1971) and in the last three years has been presented to HM the Queen Mother, HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Princess Alice of Athlone, and HRH Princess Alexandra.

He is sorry that no-one from Radio Hallam met the Queen during her visit to Sheffield. Says Keith “We could quite easily have spoken to Her Majesty during our broadcast, as we were within touching distance, but that would not have been protocol.

Skues is the only Programme Director in Britain who is heard seven days a week with his own show, including “Lunch with a Punch” every weekday 12.00 midday-2.00 p.m. “It’s better than working,” he admits.

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier started at a very early age in the entertainment business making his first public appearance at the age of 6½ years, playing solo piano in a local drill hall to an admiring family and a somewhat less enchanted audience. His mop of curly hair won the day — a crowd pleaser he has long since had to manage without.

A sickly child, he spent a large part of his childhood either going to or coming from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children — except for a year in a convalescent home in Wiltshire, an experience from which that county has only just begun to recover.

He had a long and very successful career in motor engineering, nursery gardening and journalism (having been a grease monkey, muck spreader and paper boy in quick succession). He finally found a niche in domestic service, where he quickly climbed the social ladder from hall boy to fourth footman in about eighteen months, and managed to combine these not too arduous duties with the running of the local dance band. Bill’s natural progression to the butler’s pantry and the green baize apron, was impeded by the even more grandiose schemes of another member of the lower orders — an Austrian gentleman in the decorating trade. Since then Bill has been a strong supporter of D.I.Y.

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier seen here with some of the hundreds of postcards received for his very popular 2-way link with RTE Radio in Dublin.

He joined the R.A.F.V.R. with his eyes on a pair of wings, but his feet stayed on the ground — they failed him on eyesight. He became one of the original ground gunners, before they were elevated to the title of R.A.F. Regiment, and finished up a marksman. (That was the second medical mistake for which he admits to being eternally grateful. The first occurred at his parturition, when the attendant doctor shook his head sadly and walked away.) Owing to an oversight, during the battle of the Bulge he found himself in the front line. Deciding that was no place for a devout coward, he started to run, but, with his usual inattention to detail went in the wrong direction, and bumped into a patrol of the enemy who surrendered to him, no doubt mistaking his terrorstriken leap for one of aggression. He was politely led to a huge camp inhabited by 2,000 German W.A.A.F. and would probably still be there if hostilities had not abruptly ceased.

After that, becoming a Senior Gunnery Instructor seemed natural.

In 1948, he joined the staff of B.F.N. in Hamburg, and remained with them until 1965, presenting the Cologne end of Two-Way Family Favourites with Jean Metcalfe for the last years of his sojourn in Germany. Since then Bill has been a freelance writer/broadcaster working as he puts it “for anyone and everyone”.

Having presented ‘Cozier with Crozier’, a nightly show for Hallam since the station opened in October 1974, he admits to being entirely happy in Sheffield and promises to stay forever — which might give lovers of wild life and a peaceful existence some food for thought! His ever faithful companion, Florence (Nightingale), merely preens herself and dreams of Berkeley Square.

For example, he wrote an appreciation of the writer Scott Fitzgerald, which was broadcast world-wide; wrote and presented two programmes on Operetta, which, two months later, the BBC asked him to repeat because of the listener reaction; did two nine-month long stints on “Music Through Midnight”; took over the presentation of “Those Were The Days”, ostensibly for three months, and that period was extended to six years; became a freelance producer with the BBC and was responsible for “Roundabout” for many months, as well as hundreds of recording sessions with well known singers and orchestras; took part in the special musical programme for Noel Coward, in which he spoke to people like Anna Neagle, Jessie Mathews, Hermione Gingold, Rita Streich, Francis Day etc., etc.; capped all that by becoming the studio producer for the Jimmy Young Show, which he handled for over 18 months.

Roger Moffat

Roger Moffat

Roger Moffat became an announcer with the British Forces Network, Graz, Austria in 1947. He spotted a notice on the camp board which asked for personnel with broadcasting experience to apply for a post with B.F.N. Says Roger: “I thought I would apply. Mind you, the only microphone I had ever seen was at a village hall and then I’d never spoken into one. Really I bluffed my way into B.F.N. I made up a lot of stories about my imaginary radio career, filled in the necessary forms and I was accepted. I knew the Army wouldn’t check because they are too…! I later became Senior Announcer — mind you, there were only two of us”.

Roger Moffat was demobbed in 1948 and returned to England and joined Radio Luxembourg in their London offices as the Continuity Script Writer.

He stayed with the station for six months and then decided to take up agriculture instead, as he couldn’t see any future in radio. He went to work on several farms which was followed by a course at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Roger goes on, “One afternoon I had a phone-call from Radio Luxembourg who asked me to fly out to the Grand Duchy the following day and join the staff as an announcer. So I flung ‘my plough’ on one side and caught the first train to London and then literally leapt into an aircraft bound for Luxembourg. I remained with ‘208’ for six months and when I set my mind on London, Pete Murray (then unknown) was chosen as my successor. I applied for a job to the BBC and they sent me on a fortnight’s course for announcer training. At the end of it I was told that ‘I would never make an announcer in a million years’. But by coincidence the BBC were, at that time, very short of ‘voices’ and I was asked to go to Manchester as summer relief for a fortnight. I stayed there not fourteen days, but fourteen years”.

With the BBC in the North Region, Roger introduced every conceivable kind of broadcast, ranging from classical concerts to record request shows and from church services to military brass band concerts. Other sections took in the news, both on sound and television. He was the regular presenter of ‘Melody on the Line’, ‘Workers Playtime’ and the Al Read Show.

Roger’s claim to fame was ‘Make Way for Music’ which began as a radio series and later ended up as one of the most popular series on television. This was a band show featuring the Northern Dance Orchestra, conducted by Alyn Ainsworth and songs presented by Sheila Buxton. Roger’s off-beat approach brought him millions of new fans.

‘Make Way for Music’ is still talked about especially the television shows. Originally it was planned for a weeks ‘fill-in’ but so many hundred of letters were received that it was retained for three months, then another three. The series ran on television for almost four years.

“On our first show, the orchestra were all in braces — there was no scenery — and everyone was all over the place. We went on the air and I decided to eat fish and chips with Sheila Buxton on a park bench. The BBC were not amused, but the viewers loved it.”

Other highlights in the television series included the time when Roger actually blew up the television studio and caused havoc both on and off the screen.

ROGER MOFFAT alias SUPERWOMBLE

Norman George headed the string section of the Northern Dance Orchestra and each week Roger grabbed his violin and smashed it into hundreds of pieces during transmission. One week it was decided to do a ‘send-up’ of Max Jaffa and his Trio. Roger was the cellist. The producer phoned the local second hand shop where they used to buy the duff violins and asked instead for a cello. The show went on the air live. Norman George this time got hold of Roger’s cello jumped on it and broke it into many hundreds of pieces. A few minutes later, a rather bewildered shopkeeper phoned and said I didn’t realise you were going to break the cello. It was worth £200!

The ‘Make Way for Music’ production team paid up and all was well.

Roger also appeared in the successful television series featuring Pinky and Perky.

He left Manchester in 1965 and moved to London as an announcer with the BBC. During his stay he has introduced ‘Music Through Midnight’, ‘Roundabout’, ‘Night Ride’ and the usual programmes which continuity announcers present.

On more than one occasion Roger’s tongue has got him into trouble. During a dance band programme Mr. Moffat, trying to find something new to say about the song ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’, announced “Someone once said it is better to give than to receive, or something like that, can’t think who it was. Anyway he’s bound to be dead by now and probably you’ve never heard of him — or want to”.

The phones never stopped ringing and the letters poured in. Words to the effect that ‘it is better to give than receive’ were said by one Jesus Christ!

Roger remembers another story connected with ‘Make Way for Music’. Some fifteen minutes before going on the air live, he received a telephone call from one of our premier Dukes who explained that he had a young nephew and niece in a stately home who were ardent fans of the programme and always listened to it when having their lunch in the nursery. However, on that particular Friday, the Duke and Duchess were entertaining the Queen and other members of the Royal Family to lunch and the two children were ‘commanded’ to attend.

“They flatly refused to miss the broadcast,” His Grace informed me, and would I speak to them, and see if I could persuade them what an honour it was to have lunch with the Queen. But to no avail. ‘Make Way for Music’ took preference, even over Her Majesty! In the end, I understand a compromise was reached. The children would lunch with the Royal party providing they could have their radio on as well! And that, as far as I know, is what happened. It was a great temptation to mention this on the programme, but the Duke asked me not to. I was dying to start the programme with ‘Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Graces, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen — Make Way for Music’. Perhaps it’s just as well I didn’t’.”

In January 1968 Roger took over as compere of the Joe Loss Show, which was followed by the ‘Billy Ternent Show’ and another spell on ‘Night Ride’.

Roger joined the BBC on July 25th, 1951 and was ‘fired’ for being ‘totally irresponsible’ just 20 years later — his birthday, July 25th, 1971. Quotes Roger, “Normally when a member of staff is fired for being totally irresponsible, he is dismissed immediately. However, because I had been with the BBC for 20 years they gave me six months notice, finally winding up with a six hour show on Boxing Night 1971— six hours to myself with no producer, no secretary, no no-body! So I was totally irresponsible to the end.”

The week after Roger had been fired by the BBC, he was back again with a twenty-one week series on Saturday lunchtime with the BBC Radio Orchestra featuring well-known singing stars and personalities. His voice was also heard quite regularly on television both in comedy shows and on television commercials.

Roger Moffat joined Radio Hallam on July 1st, 1974 and can be heard regularly between 9 a.m./12 noon each week day.

He was the main commentator during The Queen’s visit to Sheffield in July 1975.

1975 ● THIS IS TRANSDIFFUSION