TV Cream

Radio 1: The Jocks

WALKER, Johnnie

YET ANOTHER easy on the ear, just-the-music presenter. What’s the matter with these people? Just tell us a joke! Despite “He’s the DJ’s DJ” bollocks still inspires a bit of respect, not least for bonkers ‘man’s fight for freedom’ speech on the defiant Radio Caroline when the government tried to shut down all the pirates in 1967, leading to his becoming resident errant free thinker whose unwillingness to do things their way led to repeated run-ins with the BBC hierarchy. Did lunchtimes for a while in the early seventies (including a daily phone-in quiz called Pop the Question), latterly usually found in The Saturday Sequence chair, and also did Radio 5’s post-Baker slot, The AM Alternative. Resolute refusal to move with the times made him a prime candidate for Bannister-shunting, though seen out in style with Chris Morris’ startling on-air attempt to arrange to have him stuffed in commemoration.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    September 29, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Regarded as rubbish by Terry Collier in an episode of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads when he turned up at his sister’s house and she had Walker on her radio. Come to think of it, except for Newcastle United and beer, there wasn’t much Terry Collier liked.

  2. Droogie

    September 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    I like Johnnie Walker, but can never look at a Pyrex casserole dish and not think of him and Janie Jones and that party.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    May 15, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I admire Johnnie for walking out on a lucrative career at Radio 1 over their music policy and wanting to try his hand on FM rock radio in America, where his musical heart was. Sadly he achieved little in America and came home broke and had to slowly re establish himself in the eighties. A DJ I really respect and who really loves music and in recent years had to fight cancer and also help his wife recover from the disease.

  4. Richardpd

    May 15, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    I also hold him in high regard, even if he has sailed too close to the wind a few times.

    • Glenn Aylett

      May 16, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      @ Richardpd, Walker wasn’t afraid to say what he thought and obviously he didn’t want to be part of the Welly Boot naffness that was taking over Radio 1 in the mid seventies, where the DJs considered themselves to be light entertainers and where the music policy was completely predictable every day. Even with the benefit of hindsight, people like DLT and Jimmy Savile were completely annoying and tedious to listen to.
      However, when Walker did return to Radio 1 after a decade in the wilderness, they gave him a show he craved in the seventies, two hours on stereo FM, playing album tracks, interviewing musicians and doing features on people like Robert Plant. Also in whatever he does, like Sounds of the Seventies, you can tell he’s a real music enthusiast rather than someone who plays records.

  5. Richardpd

    May 16, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Quite a few Radio 1 DJs seemed to try to be all round entertainers with varying degrees of success.

    I’ve still got the 1998 BBC2 Soul Night on tape, & Jonny’s contributions show his knowledge of music.

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