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Image for The DJ Derek: A Local Legend

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Last on

Fri 1 Jun 2012 11:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 01 June 2012

Poet Miles Chambers presents the story of the legendary reggae DJ who M.C.s in Jamaican patois, and who also happens to be a white, bespectacled 70 year old ex-accountant.
In the 1960s, a managerial career with the accounts department at Cadbury's seemed to be mapped out for a young, ambitious Bristolian called Derek Serpell-Morris. Thirty years later the same Derek was spinning the discs for hundreds of thousands of revellers at a festival in Spain. He's had sets at Glastonbury, the Big Chill, released his own compilation album on the Trojan record label and even appeared in a Dizzee Rascal video.
Derek's transformation began against a backdrop of racial pressure in Bristol; from the 1963 bus dispute when the Bristol Omnibus company refused to employ black people, to the riots of 1980, Derek has slowly but surely established himself as a fixture of the local scene before branching out nationally to become the 'legend' that he is today.
Miles speaks to the people who have witnessed and crucially, supported, this remarkable metamorphosis; his neighbours, fans, family and of course to Derek himself. There are many pretenders who have taken his name, but this is the story of the original DJ Derek.

Producer: Sarah Langan.

  • DJ Derek's speech at Plantation, Bristol, Fri 27 April

    DJ Derek's speech at Plantation, Bristol, Fri 27 April

    DJ Derek giving a speech at Plantation restaurant in Bristol after being awarded the Lord Mayor's medal for his services to music on Friday 27th April 2012.

  • DJ Derek receives Lord Mayor's medal for services to music

    DJ Derek receives Lord Mayor's medal for services to music

    DJ Derek receives the Lord Mayor's medal for his services to music at Plantation restaurant in Bristol on Friday 27th April 2012.

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