Broadcaster David Jacobs dies at 87

David Sillito looks back at the career of broadcaster and presenter David Jacobs

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Broadcaster and presenter David Jacobs, whose career spanned seven decades, has died aged 87.

Jacobs, who stepped down from his Radio 2 programme last month because of ill health, died at home "surrounded by his family", the BBC said in a statement.

He started at the BBC in 1945, hosting shows including Housewives' Choice, Juke Box Jury and Any Questions.

BBC director general Tony Hall hailed him as "one of the great broadcast personalities".

"As a young and avid viewer of Jukebox Jury, I remember him every week scoring the hits and misses," he said.

"And I was still listening to him just last month as he fronted his show The David Jacobs Collection on Radio 2."

He added: "We shall all miss him tremendously."

Announcing in July that he was stepping down from his Radio 2 show, Jacobs said: "Over the past two years Radio 2 has given me time to be treated for liver cancer and Parkinson's Disease."

David Jacobs on Juke Box Jury Jacobs presented Juke Box Jury from 1959-1967

Jacobs started his broadcasting career in the Royal Navy in 1944, where he was made an announcer on wartime radio station Radio SEAC.

After leaving the Navy, he began working at the BBC as an announcer and newsreader.

In 1964, he became one of the original Top of the Pops presenters and he also worked as the BBC's Eurovision Song Contest commentator before he was succeeded by Terry Wogan.

He also introduced all 53 episodes of radio sci-fi serial Journey Into Space, as well as playing 22 characters.

Start Quote

So very sad to hear the news about David Jacobs, my friend and mentor. He gave me my first ever mention on the radio on my 15th birthday”

End Quote Bob Harris

He won a Sony Gold Award for outstanding contribution to radio in 1984 and was admitted to the Sony Hall of Fame in 1995.

Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan paid tribute to "a true giant of the BBC".

"David was a legend in broadcasting, not only for the Radio 2 audience, but for the whole population," he added.

His broadcast hallmarks were "great taste, authority and warmth", he said.

"I am sure his audience will feel they have lost a friend, as we all do here at Radio 2."

Radio 2 colleague Bob Harris wrote on Twitter: "So very sad to hear the news about David Jacobs, my friend and mentor. He gave me my first ever mention on the radio on my 15th birthday."

And veteran radio DJ Tony Blackburn said on Twitter he had been to his friend's 85th birthday party "and he did the most brilliant speech which I'll never forget - he will be sadly missed by all of us".

Radio and TV presenter Zoe Ball tweeted: "Dear David Jacobs has passed away. One of my all time favourite broadcasters. ThankYouForTheMusic RIP dear chap."

Helen Boaden, controller of BBC Radio, said: "From Juke Box Jury to Melodies For You on Radio 2, David's effortless presenting style belied his consummate professionalism."

In a career retrospective broadcast on Radio 2 last year, broadcaster Chris Evans described Jacobs as "the gentleman's broadcaster".

"David Jacobs [is] one of the cornerstones of British broadcasting," he said. "A man who always has time for you, who always has something worth listening to."

The BBC said Radio 2 would be paying tribute to the broadcaster with a number of special programmes.

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