David Jacobs (disc jockey)

David Jacobs (disc jockey)

David Lewis Jacobs CBE (born 19 May 1926) is a British actor and broadcaster who gained prominence as presenter of the peak-time BBC Television show Juke Box Jury and the BBC Radio 4 political forum, Any Questions?


Early career

Jacobs was born in London and educated at Strand School. He served in the Royal Navy from 1944 to 1947, and first broadcast on Navy Mixture in 1944. He became an announcer with the British Forces Broadcasting Service and was chief announcer on Radio SEAC in Ceylon (1945–47). He was later assistant station director.

A BBC staff announcer in the early 1950s, his voice intoned the title for many of the 53 episodes of the space adventure series, Journey Into Space. He played 22 parts in the series.[1] He also broadcast on Radio Luxembourg.

Later career

Jacobs presented Juke Box Jury on BBC television between 1959 and 1967. He was one of the four original presenters of Top of the Pops when it started in 1964. He had, between 1957 and 1961, established the chart show format of the Light Programme's Pick of the Pops, to which he briefly returned in 1962.

Between 1957 and 1966 he presented A Song for Europe and provided the UK commentary at Eurovision Song Contests.[2] He hosted the panel game What's My Line? when it was revived on BBC2 from 1973 to 1974. In 1973 he hosted a short-lived version of the American game show, The Who, What, or Where Game.

From December 1967 until July 1984 Jacobs chaired the Radio 4 topical debate, Any Questions? One episode descended into chaos when some of the audience heckled Enoch Powell: they were evicted, and a stone was thrown through the stained-glass window of the church from which the programme was being broadcast. Jacobs later presented a similar series called Questions for TVS.

Jacobs appeared as himself in the 1974 film Stardust, compèring a 1960s award ceremony. He also appeared as himself in an episode of the BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, where he played the presenter of a fictional home-improvement show.

His daughter, Emma Jacobs, was an actress known for her role as Alex Khaled, daughter of Fontaine Khaled (Joan Collins) in the 1978 film The Stud. In 1975 Jacobs survived a car accident in which his second wife Caroline, whom he had married earlier that year, and Caroline Marsh, wife of politician Richard Marsh, were killed.

Most of Jacobs' career since psychedelia and flower power has been at BBC Radio 2, although in the early days of Radio 1, which opened in September 1967, he had a late programme on Sundays. Though a Radio 1 show, this was broadcast on Radios 1 and 2 and consisted of easy listening music and interviews with guests. Between January 1985 and December 1991 Jacobs presented a daily lunchtime programme on Radio 2 of what he characterised as "our kind of music", much of it popular tunes from musical theatre. Now one of the station's old guard, his Sunday late-night easy listening show, The David Jacobs Collection, often features Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Sammy Davis, Jr.

In Journey Into Space he played the lead role of Jet Morgan in Frozen In Time on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday April 12, 2008.[3] and he played The Host in The Host on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday June 27, 2009.

DJs Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe recruited Jacobs in 2008 to introduce album tracks from Cream on their weekday evening Radio 2 show under the rubric 'Jacobs' Cream Crackers', an allusion to a brand of biscuit. In 2010 he provided soundbites for Chris Evans' breakfast show, and chose a record each Thursday. This followed the success of his choice of Maurice Chevalier's I'm Gonna Shine Today as a song to play on the programme.[4]

Jacobs is honorary high steward of the Royal Borough of Kingston.[5] He has been involved since its inception in Kingston's Rose Theatre, of which he is life president.[6] He is vice-patron of the charity Advance Centre for The Scotson Technique,[7] and patron of the Disabled Photographers' Society.[8]


External links

Preceded by
Tom Sloan
Eurovision Song Contest UK Commentator
Succeeded by
Tom Sloan
Preceded by
Tom Sloan
Eurovision Song Contest UK Commentator
1962 - 1966
Succeeded by
Rolf Harris

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