Derek Jameson, broadcaster and editor, dies aged 82
- 12 September 2012
- From the section England
Veteran broadcaster Derek Jameson has died, it has been announced.
The 82-year-old, who edited three national newspapers, had a heart attack at his home, his wife Ellen said.
Jameson edited the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the News of the World and was also managing editor of the Daily Mirror and a popular presenter on BBC Radio 2.
He was born in poverty in London's East End where, without parents, he grew up in care.
Jameson began work in Fleet Street as a messenger boy at the age of 14 and rose through the ranks to edit some of Britain's biggest newspapers.
He developed a reputation as a man who could build circulation. When asked to launch the Daily Star - the first new national tabloid for 75 years - he took it to more than a million copies within a year.
He also added half a million readers at the Daily Express, which languished at less than two million when he joined it.
In 1984, he lost libel action against the BBC after Radio 4 called him "an East End boy made bad".
However, it was the BBC, recognising his gifts as a communicator, which turned him into a celebrity with television series such as Do They Mean Us? and his popular breakfast show on Radio 2.
He went on to present a chat show for six years with his wife, establishing Europe's largest late night radio audience.
Producer Gary Bones, who worked on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Jameson in the early 1990s, said: "Derek was not only a unique broadcaster and Fleet Street legend but also a really nice, kind and generous man who always knew exactly how to tap into the mood of the nation at the time.
"I remember nothing more demonstrated his sensitive nature than when he broke down on air during his daily review of the papers while reading a story about a child with leukaemia.
"Listeners at the time will remember his daily catch phrase, 'morning, morning, Jameson here'. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his wife Ellen."
Jameson told his story in his autobiography Touched by Angels, with a second volume Last of the Hot Metal Men chronicling the dying days of the old Fleet Street.
Much of his fame rested on his strong Cockney accent, which he regarded as unique because it contained elements of Manchester, where he worked for eight years, and wartime days as an evacuee in Hertfordshire.
He told how when he rang directory enquiries on one occasion the operator asked: "Is that Derek Jameson?"
Jameson leaves Ellen, his third wife, and four grown-up children.