LOTS OF SCARS IN THE STY: Son of a car wash entrepreneur, Trevor Neil Brookes took on the nickname Bruno early in his childhood and while still at school took his disco turntables around his home town of Stoke, entertaining punters way older than he was. At the turn of the eighties he made his broadcasting debut on Radio Stoke, where he hosted a Sunday afternoon kids show, and a few years later did two shows on Radio 1 – billed simply as “Bruno” – in a spot where they were trying out a couple of tyros from the provinces, but nothing else came from this and he traipsed back to Stoke, pissed off. But then in 1984, they called again and offered him a full time job.
I LOVE TUESDAYS, DON’T YOU: In fact Bruno made an almost instant splash at Radio 1 as after a few stints filling in for holidaying jocks, he was shoved straight onto drivetime in September 1984, which seems a remarkably exposed spot. Nevertheless he proved successful there – although the show’s start time moved from 4.30 to 5pm to 5.45 during his spell on the show – and by mid-1986 was also combining that with hosting the Sunday Top 40. However he then seemed to fall out of favour as in 1989 he was moved to weekend breakfast, in a programme originally billed as The Bruno Brookes Breakfast Show With Liz Kershaw, but swiftly renamed as Bruno and Liz when the banter with his co-host turned out more popular than expected. He stopped doing the Top 40 in 1990 as well – although he stood in on the breakfast show a few times – but came back to it in 1992, coinciding with his relocation to the unhallowed 4am slot, which was clearly a massive demotion but he stuck with it for three years before buggering off.
I LOVE THE BEATLES, DON’T YOU: Bruno Brookes is possibly the only man to have said the phrase “quality pop” with a straight face, and certainly he was always quick to champion to merits of the likes of Level 42 and other rather soulless music to tap a car key to. Seemingly rather more interested in the technical quality of music rather than what it was saying, he also had a deal with Sanyo to endorse their products and presented regular Bank Holiday shows where all the records were on CD and from the likes of Dire Straits, in which he would he be dubbed, making reference to his famously short stature, as the Compact Disc Jockey.
WHY AREN’T THERE ANY LITTLE GIRLS CALLED WENDY ANYMORE?: At teatime Bruno counted down the single and album charts for the second time, but the first time most kids had heard them, which had a bit of a cachet. His big gimmick was Twisted Lyrics, a rather tedious selection of “hilariously” misheard songwords. When he moved to weekend breakfast there were a host of dull quizzes with Bruno exhibiting his ignorance of culture and mispronouncing loads of names, plus Just Split, an alternative version of Our Tune where they played a record for a couple who had, well, just split.
EUROCRATS, BEAUROCRATS AND OTHER BONKERS-CRATS: n the grand Smashie and Nicey tradition, Bruno expressed his fondness for the Conservative party in interviews, and played Oh Happy Day the morning after the 1992 election. In fact Bruno was considered quite the businessman, always after a quick buck, with a famous attempt to sue Bob Harris to get his record collection as he couldn’t pay back a loan, while a colleague once reported bringing a bottle to a party at his house and when he went to help himself later, found a price label on it. And there was our favourite ever letter in Viz – “After appearing on a crap TV show with Bruno Brookes, I offered him a fag and he took the whole packet”.
WHY DON’T YOU SEND ME YOUR KNICKERS?: With his highlighted hair and prevalence for ripped jeans and leather jackets, Bruno certainly thought of himself as a sex symbol, and when he got on the cover of the Radio Times in 1987, he hated the picture so much he refused to have the magazine in the house. Famously he was dating Anthea Turner during his stint on Radio 1 but the relationship ended rather badly with Anthea claiming Bruno’s massive ego got in the way.
STANDING IN FOR PIP SCHOFIELD IN JOSEPH’S COAT: Bruno’s first regular telly work came on kids TV, hosting quiz shows Beat The Teacher on the Beeb and I Can Do That on ITV, as well as hosting the UK Disco Dancing Championships on UP2U. Probably his most consistent telly gig was the ten million episodes of dating game Love At First Sight he did for the early days of Sky One. Later he talked about his favourite pastime of fishing when he anchored Sky’s angling show Tight Lines. And he was on Brass Eye, of course. Bruno also troubled the lower reaches of the chart with Liz Kershaw in a succession of awful charity records for Children in Need, although Pat and Mick got way higher in the charts with their songs and they were only on in London.
A BIG HELLO TO ALL YOU TRUCKERS OUT THERE: Bruno managed to cling on through the first Bannister purge but clearly his days were numbered, even though he was still only in his mid-thirties at the time, such was the side effect of his swift promotion a decade previously. In fact Trevor Dann expressed his incredulity that such a cliched jock was still there, but eventually in April 1995 they decided not to renew his contract, with the News of the World pushing cheques through his letterbox to get him to spill the beans. Like every other former Radio 1 jock he immediately went on to do a syndicated show on commercial radio, before branching out into other business ventures, including managing Chris Moyles, running a DJ school with his former Radio 1 colleague Neale James and setting up a successful chain of in-store radio stations, although his most notable appearance in recent years has been turning up on City Hospital having had a heart attack.
TOPULARS OF THE POPULARS: runo swiftly got on the Pops rota introducing his first show within weeks of arriving. He was first unveiled the week before he made his proper debut, which is here.They’d learn how to spell his name in time. See, they’d learn it by now. Oddly, though, his appearances were sporadic for the next few years, appearing just twice in 1986 and not at all in 1987, presumably as he was busy doing his show at the time, but from the start of 1988 he was a regular, hosting the Christmas show in 1988 and 1989. We’ll probably feature this clip again. He was still there when the DJs returned in 1994 and came back on the rota, with his final appearance just a fortnight before his departure from Radio 1.
LOTS OF SCARS IN THE STY: A former pirate, Paul Burnett first came to public attention during a spell on Radio Luxembourg in the early seventies, where he presented the charts and became most famous for unearthing a huge number of recordings of Lord Haw-Haw’s Nazi propaganda broadcasts from World War II. Then in 1974 he was lured over to the BBC, apparently fulfilling his ambition to spin the discs on Radio 1.
I LOVE TUESDAYS, DON’T YOU: Paul’s first slot on Radio 1 was Sunday mornings, back in the days when there was absolutely nothing on television so Radio 1 would enjoy one of its biggest audiences of the week. Then in 1976 he shifted to weekday lunchtimes, spending five years as perhaps the least famous and lowest profile of all the daytime DJs. In 1981 a schedule shuffle saw him moved to later in the afternoons, but the need to find a space for the thrusting new talent of Steve Wright meant his show was truncated to a mere ninety minutes, before he took the hint and moved to Saturday mornings in 1982, then left the station twelve months later.
I LOVE THE BEATLES, DON’T YOU: We’re not sure about Burnett’s musical tastes but he does of course share the joint credit for the Radio 1 DJ with the biggest hit single as he joined Dave Lee Travis to formed Laurie Lingo and The Dipsticks, dressing up as a chicken to perform Convoy GB on Top of the Pops. His regular slot Jukebox Junction suggested a taste for country music but he seemed happy enough playing most things.
WHY AREN’T THERE ANY LITTLE GIRLS CALLED WENDY ANYMORE?: Burnett’s Sunday show went under the name of All There Is To Hear and promised to feature sixty records in its three hours, as he basically worked his way through the entire playlist and revealed Radio 1’s most played records of the week. When he moved to lunchtime his show had the honour of unveiling the new chart for the first time on Tuesday lunchtime, making him required listening. He also presented the aforementioned Jukebox Junction, where he’d play a country record for all you truckers out there, as well as finding the Pub Of The Day and, in his most celebrated slot, play an archive comedy clip in Fun At One, the most popular of which were released on an album. When his show moved later, it was fiendishly renamed Fun At Three.
EUROCRATS, BEAUROCRATS AND OTHER BONKERS-CRATS: Always seemingly a more self-effacing figure than some of the giants of Radio 1, Burnett seemed happy enough to keep his head down and play records rather than spout off about something. In addition, he confirmed himself as being a top bloke when he joined John Peel and Kid Jensen to form an inebriated gang at the Christmas party with the intention of beating up Simon Bates, although they failed to find him, and Peel later said it was probably for the best, as Bates was way bigger than them.
WHY DON’T YOU SEND ME YOUR KNICKERS?: The Radio Times once followed Burnett on the Roadshow and commented on his rather modest demeanour, referring to him as “a shy Geordie whose life’s aim was to be a DJ”, which is a little odd considering he’s from Manchester. Nevertheless with his ordinary looks he was never going to be much of a star, he was happy to dress up as a chicken and look stupid and he seemed to do the Roadshow under a sense of duty rather than a desperation to wow the public, especially as he always had his wife in tow. Although his unease could be to do with the fact he once swallowed a wasp on stage.
STANDING IN FOR PIP SCHOFIELD IN JOSEPH’S COAT: Not many extra-curricular gigs for Paul, although he certainly made one notable appearance, as he joined Sacha Distel to host Miss World in 1978, back when it was one of the most watched programmes on the planet, with millions and millions of people watching. All of whom wondered who the hell he was, probably.
A BIG HELLO TO ALL YOU TRUCKERS OUT THERE: Not many people seemed to notice when Paul left Radio 1, and he very much seemed to fade from view, spending the next few years filling in in odd slots on Radio 2. By the mid-eighties he was at Pennine Radio in Bradford, back when every local radio station had a former national DJ on their breakfast show, but he returned to the capital to be one of the first presenters on Capital Gold. Since then he’s appeared on virtually every single radio station that plays old records at one point or another.
TOPULARS OF THE POPULARS: Paul’s first appearance on Pops in May 1974 was in very unusual circumstances as an industrial dispute meant he couldn’t appear in vision and just linked repeats and videos via voice-over. Fortunately he got to present a proper show later in the year, but he never established himself as a regular, hosting a handful of shows for the next few years presumably when everyone else was busy (you won’t see him on BBC4 for a while), then after 1978 just making occasional appearances on all-the-DJs-together shows for anniversaries and Christmas, which does at least give us the opportunity to point out part one of Christmas 81, which he’s in, has now got sound again. Oh, and he performed on it as well, which Tony Blackburn never did. So in lieu of any of his proper episodes, here he is counting down the chart instead, and we’ve also got his Miss World gig, where he was able to inform the whole world Radio 1 was changing frequency. Vital news around the globe, natch.