James Whale (radio)

James Whale (radio)
James Whale
Birth name Michael James Whale
Born May 13, 1951 (1951-05-13) (age 60)
Ewell, Surrey, England
Show The James Whale Show
Station(s) LBC
Time slot 4–7 pm weekdays

Michael "James" Whale (born 13 May 1951) is a British radio and television host. He is known for his plain-speaking, often ascerbic and confrontational, broadcasting style; during phone-ins he frequently hangs up on callers he disagrees with or who do not make their point quickly enough.


Early life

Whale was born in 1951 in the village of Ewell in Surrey, and was brought up by his Welsh mother and English father, who owned a pub.


Whale was educated at Longmead County Secondary Boys' School, which was informally known as 'Longmead Boys' School',[1] a Secondary Modern School in Epsom in Surrey. It subsequently became a co-educational comprehensive school, and was renamed Longmead County Secondary School. The School closed in the early 1990s.

Life and career

Whale first gained national prominence in the late 1980s with The James Whale Radio Show, a late-night programme produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV. In 1995, he hosted The James Whale Show on TalkSport until he was sacked in 2008 after urging his listeners to elect Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. He presented on bid tv before returning to the airwaves on LBC in London.[2]

Early radio and television career (1974–1995)

Whale started as a phone-in chat show host at Metro Radio in Newcastle, the first presenter of the Nightowls evening phone-in from the station's launch in 1974. He moved to Radio Derby to host a morning phone-in, working with Terry Christian, who became a colleague at talkSPORT.

In 1982, Whale joined Radio Aire in Leeds to host the night talk show. He was promoted to the breakfast show hosting 'Wake Up The Whale Way' but soon moved back to the late show. In 1987 he recorded 'Whaley Rap' and 'Wrap It Up For Xmas' and by late 1987 his show was simulcast with Red Rose Radio from Preston, Lancashire - both part of Trans World Communications, owned by Owen Oyston. In 1989 his single 'Bimbo' entered the UK Top 100 singles. The 'B' side, 'A Big Big Egg', was the end theme for his TV show.

In 1989 Whale had his first TV show, The James Whale Radio Show, broadcast in a late-night slot on ITV, Radio Aire and Red Rose Radio. It was live, including interviews and phone-ins in which Whale often treated callers and guests with characteristic short shrift. Conservative MP Jerry Hayes had a regular slot in the show. The show was moved to later and later slots, well into the early hours of the morning. The Superstation took over the overnight schedule for Radio Aire in 1990 and Whale moved to the ITV studios to present "Whale On".

In 1994, Whale presented a weekend afternoon show on LBC in London. He also presented The Blue Whale on Men and Motors.

TalkSport (1995–2008)

Whale hosted phone-ins on talkSPORT from 1995 to 2008, and a 10pm-1am programme. Whale was often called to anchor special broadcasts. On 21 December 2006, Whale presented The Mike Dickin Tribute Show, dedicated to a fellow talkSport presenter who had died in a car accident.

The James Whale Show featured as guests celebrities such as Derek Acorah, Jodie Marsh, David Icke, Nick Pope, Alex Jones, David Shayler, Lembit Öpik, Myleene Klass, Peter Stringfellow and Alistair McGowan. Another regular guest was 1970s famous psychic Uri Geller. Whale's friend Bernard Manning would often telephone on his way from gigs. On two occasions, Whale and American talk host Tom Leykis co-hosted shows that ran simultaneously as episodes of both their programmes.

Sacking 2008

In May 2008, Whale was sacked because he twice called on listeners to vote for Boris Johnson before the 2008 London mayoral elections.[3] Ofcom fined Talksport £20,000, saying he had "seriously breached the due impartiality rules at the time of an election".

LBC (2008–present)

On 7 May 2008 Whale said he would join Bid.tv.[4] He continues to broadcast on JamesWhaleRadio.com. On 20 May 2008, Whale began a four-hour weekly evening phone-in on Internet radio station Play Radio UK.[5] However, on 2 September 2008 Whale said on air he was leaving Play Radio for book promotion and TV work. He said he would continue his blog .

After standing in for Clive Bull on LBC 97.3 for six days in August 2008, Whale covered for Nick Abbot for two weeks from 29 September 2008 on LBC.

Whale presents a show on LBC. [1]

Charitable work

In 2000, Whale was diagnosed with kidney cancer and said on air why he would be leaving. He survived, and says it affected his outlook on life. Whale founded the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer in 2006 to fund research and raise awareness of the disease. Through the James Whale Network sufferers or carers can contact speak to other survivors of kidney cancer.

Whale has often spoken of his dyslexia.[6] Whale is a patron of the National Literacy Association.[7]

Political beliefs

Whale participated in a live Newsnight programme on 26 April 2007 on BBC 2, broadcast simultaneously on talkSPORT, in which he referred to two-week refuse pickup throughout the UK and the 'scandal' of global warming. Whale should have had a live link to the Newsnight studio, but due to a technical failure this was not possible. Whale announced he believed global warming was solely a natural phenomenon. He described recycling as a joke' and believed prisoners should sort rubbish and recyclable waste. When asked if Green councillors were a good idea, Whale replied 'I don't think Green anything's a good idea!'. Whale also often criticises politicians for jumping on the Green bandwagon, in particular Conservative Party leader David Cameron for his 'vote blue, go green' slogan, saying Cameron is 'not fit to govern'. Whale has often stated his admiration for Margaret Thatcher but says he will no longer vote Conservative as long as David Cameron is the party's leader.

2008 London Mayoral Election

After United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage on his TalkSport show, Whale said that he was to run for election as UKIP candidate in the 2008 London Mayoral Election, although he did not. Ofcom had pointed out that Whale would, in fact, not be able to continue his radio show while being Mayor of London, something Whale was unaware of.

Personal life

Whale has been married to Melinda Whale since 1970, and has two children, James and Peter,[8] and owns three dogs.


  • Whale, James (1997). Bald on Top. Michael O'Mara Books Ltd.. ISBN 978-0860519911. 
  • Whale, James (2007). Almost a Celebrity: A Lifetime of Night-Time. Robson Books Ltd.. ISBN 978-1843172611. 


  1. ^ Almost a Celebrity: A Lifetime of Night-Time Author: James Whale. Retrieved: 10 November, 2011.
  2. ^ Plunkett, John. "James Whale back on the radio as drivetime host of LBC 97.3", The Guardian, 2008-09-09. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
  3. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7385370.stm BBC News: Radio host James Whale is sacked
  4. ^ "Sacked DJ Whale becomes TV host". BBC News. 2008-05-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7387773.stm. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  5. ^ Plunkett, John (12 May 2008). "Whale to host web radio talkshow". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/may/12/radio2?gusrc=rss&feed=media. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  6. ^ DFS 110
  7. ^ National Literacy Association - Our Patrons
  8. ^ http://www.jameswhalefund.org/AboutUs_trustees.html Bio at the James Whale Fund site

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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