Richard Spendlove MBE
Born in 1939, in Carlton, Notts. he was, for thirty five years, a railwayman, arriving in Cambridge in 1963, when appointed Relief Station Master- one of the youngest men to be so appointed.
He retired (or escaped) from British Rail on his fiftieth birthday - that being the earliest date at which his pension was available - and became a regular Regional Radio Presenter, hosting extremely successful 'phone-in' chat shows, syndicated simultaneously to stations in Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Via the Medium Wave they regularly attract callers from as far away as Lincoln, Birmingham, Swindon, London, Aylesbury, Nottingham, Coventry Leicester, Skegness and Northern France. Three 'country' songs have been written about the shows, which are now believed to be the longest continually running 'chat shows' in the history of British broadcasting.
His radio 'documentary' on the Abdication of King Edward the Eighth earned him an Acknowledgement from Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
His other broadcasting work has brought him three National Newspaper Awards and two further Royal Commendations.
In a National Magazine poll, he was voted, 'The Nation's most Popular Regional and Local Radio Presenter'.
He received - late in December 1999 - the Cambridge Evening News 'Medal for Outstanding Work in the Community' - also in connection with this work. This was followed in June 2000, by the award - In the Queen's Birthday Honours - of the MBE, "For Services to Regional and Local Broadcasting".
Since then, he has received The Daily Mail Golden Jubilee Award Of Merit Certificate.
He began freelance writing in 1969 and freelance broadcasting in 1983. His radio and television work includes contributions in both media to news, documentary, feature work and comedy, as well as straightforward presenting - also in both.
His first regular radio assignment, which began as a six-week trial and lasted over three years,was "Reflections", a 'one-to-one' profile/interview programme with celebrities. The guests included such luminaries as Sir Michael Hordern, Sir Donald Sinden, Bryan Forbes, Constance Shacklock, OBE., Leonard Parkin, Jimmy Perry, OBE., survivors of the sinking of the 'RMS Titanic', the 'R101' Disaster, Bill Pertwee, Jack Hargreaves. And they constitute only a very few.
In October 1996, he assumed the position of Afternoon Presenter on a BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. Within the first two years, he had increased the audience - in some half-hourly segments - by as a much as seven hundred percent, and, in the following year, effected a further increase of approximately fifty four percent. He relinquished those duties in March 2000 on the expiration of his contract and at his own behest.
He created and co-wrote - with David Croft, OBE., - for BBC Television, the comedy series, "Oh Doctor Beeching". On transmission, the 'pilot' turned out to be the 'Highest rated comedy pilot of the decade'. It ran for two series and nineteen episodes, is still being seen all over the world, and has now been released on DVD and Video. He can also be seen in it as an actor, playing the role of District Inspector Ernest Orkindale.
He writes monologues and poetry, some of which has been put to music, recorded and performed by local Folk Singer, Jancis Harvey. In addition to this, thousands of cassettes and C/D's of his works have been sold throughout the country.
He 'tours' a 'One-Man-Show', giving a full evening's entertainment and plays the piano.
He is a regular speaker, both for 'After-Dinner Engagements' and for various groups and organisations.