Alan 'Fluff' Freeman MBE
(born July 1927 - died Nov 2006)
Alan 'Fluff' Freeman was already a radio announcer (and occasional singer) in Melbourne, when, in 1957, he took a holiday in the UK that stretched into a broadcasting career lasting more than forty years. His voice, the vocal equivalent of a twinkle in the eye, was first heard on Radio Luxembourg, but in 1960 he joined the BBC Light Programme to present 'Records Around Five' - on which he introduced his trademark 'At The Sign Of The Swinging Cymbal' theme - and, occasionally, 'Housewives' Choice'.
The show with which he is immortally linked, 'Pick Of The Pops', began as a segment within Saturday evening's 'Trad Tavern', but in 1962, rescheduled on Sunday afternoon, it became a programme in its own right and eventually a music radio institution, whose weekly chart run-down opened for ten years with the much imitated catchphrase 'Greetings, pop pickers.' He transferred to a weekday afternoon Radio 1 slot in 1972 and became the chosen voice for the network's ambitious, twenty-six episode documentary series, 'The Story Of Pop' (1973-4).
His perennial association with chart-based shows through the ensuing decades, whether on Radio 1, London's Capital Radio or Virgin Radio, overshadowed his tireless championing of heavy metal, as well as a lifelong love of classical music that in 1997 found an outlet on Radio 2, where 'Pick Of The Pops' was also revived. In 1998 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire, and in May 2000 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.
Fluff died in November 2006 in Brinsworth House residential home for retired theatre and entertainment professionals, aged 79.