Johnnie Walker (DJ) bigraphy, stories - British radio DJ

Johnnie Walker (DJ) : biography

30 March 1945 -

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

He is noted for 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.

On 27 February 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 music from the 1970s, and occasionally deputises for other presenters when 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.

Other work

Walker has done voice-over work for television adverts. He has appeared on GMTV several times, and was an advisor to the film The Boat That Rocked, released in April 2009. On 29 June 2009, whilst covering for Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2, Johnnie revealed that for many years he and another DJ, Chris Bull, had been responsible for playing the records between sets on the Pyramid stage at the Glastonbury Festival, an important role as it sets the mood for the next act. His wife, Tiggy, had suggested playing Oasis's "Wonderwall" before Bruce Springsteen's set two days earlier---an inspired choice that soon had the crowd singing along. From the crowd's reaction, Walker turned to Bull, saying "How are we going to follow that?".

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 23 April, Walker took over a show on Sundays from 5-7 pm. As well as his Sunday show, Walker also deputised for an unwell Brian Matthew on Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s from 2 September 2006 until the programme broadcast on 25 November 2006 when he too had to take time off the air to have an operation. He returned to the programme on 6 January 2007 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.

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 a car salesman, before becoming a DJ in bars and ballrooms.

Current work

From 28 January 2007, his Sunday show was broadcast from 4.30-6.30 pm. In addition, he also deputised for Terry Wogan on Radio 2's Breakfast show up until the end of 2009. His autobiography was published on 31 May 2007 - while the previous year another book, 'Johnnie Walker - Cruisin' The Formats', put his radio work in the context of radio development over 40 years.

From 9 August to 14 August 2007, Walker was one of several former pirate radio disc jockeys at 's six-day revival of pirate radio that marked the 40th anniversary of the Marine Offences Act. He was also part of "Pirate BBC Essex" programmes broadcast over Easter 2009 to celebrate 45 years since Radio Caroline started.

On Saturday 7 February 2009 Walker started a new ten week series called "Pirate Johnnie Walker" on BBC Radio 2. This show recreated the sounds of pirate radio from the 1960s, and had other Pirate DJs from the era as guests.

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Living octopus

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