Johnnie Walker (DJ)

Johnnie Walker (DJ)

Infobox Radio Presenter
name = Johnnie Walker
alias =

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birthname =
birthdate = birth date and age|1945|3|30
birthplace = Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
deathdate =
deathplace =
show =
station = BBC Radio 2, BBC Essex
timeslot =
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station2 =
timeslot2 =
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country = United Kingdom
prevshow =
web = [ Johnnie Walker's BBC Radio 2 Show]

Johnnie Walker MBE (born Peter Waters Dingley, 30 March 1945 in Olton, Birmingham, England) is a popular British veteran radio disc jockey and broadcaster.

He is often referred to as "The Alternative John Peel"Who|date=July 2008 in recognition of his knowledge and love of music, his championing of new artists and his attributing more importance to songs he plays rather than the chat in between.Fact|date=July 2008

On February 27, 2006, Walker announced his departure from the BBC Radio 2 drive time slot he had occupied for several years. He now presents a Sunday show specialising in rock documentaries, and occasionally deputises for other presenters such as Terry Wogan while they are on leave.

During his seven years on the drive time slot, Walker conducted many interviews, stories and features - covering less glitzy topics and bringing attention to environmental issues, spiritual experiences, musicians and artists outside of the mainstream, even alien theorists.

He took over the show from John Dunn. Dunn had been popular and had an established listener base before retiring from ill health. Walker retained listeners and increased listening figures during his seven years.Fact|date=July 2008

His banter with Sally Boazman aka "Sally Traffic" BBC Radio 2's traffic reporter was a feature and some listeners felt the two were romantically involved.Fact|date=July 2008

Early life

Walker's father sold electroplating equipment for car parts. Johnnie Walker was educated at the independent Solihull School, where he enjoyed music lessons and playing rugby, but he failed his O-Level examinations. He then obtained employment in the motor trade, studied for a City and Guilds qualification in motor mechanics at Gloucester Technical College and aspired to be car salesman, before becoming a DJ in bars and ballrooms [cite book |title=/Johnnie Walker |first=Johnie |last=Walker |year=2007 |isbn=978-0-718-14853-9|publisher=Michael Joseph] .

Early career

Pirate radio

Walker's broadcasting began in 1966 on offshore pirate radio station Swinging Radio England, before moving to Radio Caroline. When the Government closed the pirate stations in 1967, three presenters were still broadcasting: Walker, Robbie Dale and Ross Brown. At midnight on 15 August 1967, addressing an estimated 20 million listenersFact|date=February 2007, they said the station belonged to them, that it would continue and that the new Marine Offences Act had acknowledged the station's legalityFact|date=February 2007.

BBC Radio 1

Walker then joined BBC Radio 1 in April 1969, presenting a two-hour Saturday show from 1-3 pm. A year later, in 1970, Walker presented a one-hour weekday morning slot from 9-10, moving to the weekday early afternoon show in 1971, from 1-3 pm, which then went out from 12-2 pm in 1973. The show featured the music quiz 'Pop the Question' and the Tuesday chart rundown.

In 1976, station bosses fell out with Walker over the music he played and about how it was seen not to fit the station's daytime music line-up. He was also told off for criticising The Bay City Rollers - then at the height of their popularity - on air, describing them as "musical garbage". As a result, he left Radio 1 and moved to California where he recorded a weekly show for Radio Luxembourg.

Return to UK

Local radio

Walker returned to the UK in the early 1980s and in 1982 presented Radio West's evening show 'The Modern World'. In September 1983 he joined Wiltshire Radio presenting the 11 am-2 pm slot. He was subsequently heard on GWR, later come a radio conglomerate but originally just the station created by the merger of these two stations in 1985.

Return to Radio 1

In January 1987, Walker re-joined Radio 1 presenting the Saturday afternoon show 'The Stereo Sequence', before Roger Scott took in mid-1988. In July 1988, he was briefly heard on Richard Branson's syndicated service The Superstation.

BBC GLR & BBC Radio 5

In October 1988, Walker was one of the original presenters on the new BBC local station in London BBC GLR, in a lineup which included Nick Abbot, Emma Freud, Tommy Vance and Dave Pearce and was run by future Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister. Walker presented the weekday slot from 12-3 pm. Then after a few months, he took over from Emma Freud from 10am-1pm.

In August 1990 Walker joined the new BBC Radio 5, presenting the weekday mid-morning slot, 'The AM Alternative'. He originally presented the show on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am-noon. As a result, he took over the weekday show on BBC GLR from 7-9pm, where he remained until 1991, when he was dismissed from the station after comments about the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.

Following his dismissal from BBC GLR he took the BBC Radio 5 show five days a week. He broadcast from 9.30am-noon Mondays-Fridays and remained with Radio 5 until March 1994 when the station re-launched as BBC Radio Five Live.

Returned again to Radio 1

In September 1991, as well as presenting for Radio 5, Walker returned to Radio 1, taking over from Richard Skinner on the 'Saturday Sequence', every Saturday from 3-7 pm. He went out from 3-6 pm in March 1992.

He remained until October 1993, moving to Saturday 7-11 pm, before moving back to Saturday afternoons in November 1994 from 2-5 pm, where he remained until he left Radio 1 for good in October 1995.

In early 1996, Walker was on London's Talk Station LBC, presenting the weekend programme 6-10am. In addition, he was heard on Classic Gold stations around the UK on Saturday from 12-2 pm.

Radio 2

In 1997, in addition to his Classic Gold shows, Walker was on BBC Radio 2 presenting documentaries and filling in for presenters.

In April 1998, Walker was offered his own weekly show on Radio 2, Saturday 3.30-5.30pm, then six months later, as well as Saturday afternoons, Walker took over from John Dunn from 5-7 pm Monday to Thursday. Des Lynam presented Friday's edition.

In early 1999, Walker came off his show having been the victim of a tabloid exposé over his cocaine problem [] .BBC Radio 2 bosses gave Walker back his drivetime show after he was fined £2,000 for possession of cocaine. He was suspended by the BBC when the drug allegations were published in the News of the World in April 1999.

Richard Allinson filled in for him on Drivetime and Billy Bragg took over Saturday afternoon. Walker returned to his Drivetime Show, Monday to Friday; Janice Long took over Saturday afternoons.

Illness announced

Walker told listeners in June 2003 that he was suffering from cancer. He ended his show by stating he was beginning treatment and would be take time off to recover, after which he played 'Bridge over Troubled Water' by Simon and Garfunkel. Stuart Maconie filled in for him, then on Thursday 24 July 2003, the BBC announced that Noel Edmonds would join Radio 2, to present Drivetime for 8 weeks. Edmonds took from Monday 4 August until Friday 3 October.

Walker's recovery continued, but there was to be no return after Edmonds. Stuart Maconie continued as stand-in, and at the beginning of Monday 6 October's Drivetime show, he played Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' for Walker, remarked that he was doing well, and that he was due to return at the end of the year.

On 12 February 2004, Radio 2 announced Walker would return on March 1. This was followed by his own message. "'Well, it's taken a lot longer than I originally thought, but I reckon I'm fit enough now to come back to the Drive Time Show on Monday 1st March. I'd like to thank Jim Moir and Lesley Douglas for keeping the door open for me all this time, and also to Stuart Maconie for doing such a great job on the show while I've been away. And a huge thank you to Radio 2 listeners for all their wonderful support since I left the show in June 2003. I've been very lucky to have had so many good wishes and kindness sent in my direction, it helped enormously with my recovery - thank you so much. It will be great for us to be re-united again from 1st March".

On Monday 1 March, Walker returned. His first record was Eric Clapton's 'Hello Old Friend' which includes the lyrics '…it's so good to have you back'. Walker and Clapton were born on the same day. Walker later [ presented a show on Radio 2] to celebrate the fact that they were both turning 60.

Johnnie Walker made an MBE in the 2006 New Year's Honours List.

New Projects

In February 2006, it was announced that Walker was stepping down as host of Radio 2 Drivetime to take over a show on Sundays and conduct interviews with musicians. His last drivetime show was on the 31 March, with Neil Diamond as a guest. The final song played by Walker on the show was "Human Touch" by Bruce Springsteen. Since April 23, Walker took over a show on Sundays from 5-7 pm. As well as his Sunday show, Walker was also deputising for Brian Matthew on Radio 2's "Sounds of the 60s" until the programme broadcast on 25 November 2006. He returned to the programme on 6 January 2007 following a spell in hospital and continued to host the show until Brian Matthew's return on 10 February. He also returned to his own Sunday show the following day.

Personal life

Walker admits a turbulent life. He has two children from his first marriage. Johnnie is now married to "Tiggy" who was previously the folk musician Gordon Haskill's fiance.

Walker's hobbies include motorcycling (he likes old Harley Davidsons)

Current Work

Since January 28 2007, his Sunday show has been broadcast from 4.30-6.30pm. In addition, he also deputises for Terry Wogan on Radio 2's Breakfast show. His autobiography was published on 31 May 2007 [cite news | url = | work = Yorkshire Post Today - Leeds,Yorkshire,UK | title = Johnnie Walker: The Autobiography | date = 2007-10-01 | accessdate = 2007-10-01] [cite book
last = Walker
first = Johnnie
authorlink =
coauthors =
editor =
others =
title = Johnnie Walker: The Autobiography
origdate =
origyear =
origmonth =
url =
format = Hardback
accessdate =
accessyear =
accessmonth =
edition =
series =
date = 31
year = 2007
month = May
publisher = Michael Joseph Ltd
location =
language = English
isbn = 0718148533/9780718148539
oclc =
doi =
id =
pages = 416
chapter =
chapterurl =
quote = From pirate radio to Buckingham Palace and an MBE
ref =
] .

August 9 to August 14 2007, Walker was one of several former pirate radio disc jockeys at BBC Essex's six-day revival of pirate radio that marked the 40th anniversary of the Marine Offences Act.

Other Work

Walker has done voiceovers for television adverts. He has appeared on GMTV several times.


External links

* [ Johnnie Walker's BBC Radio 2 Show]

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