1968 - Night ride
Once within the walls of Broadcasting House, John's celebrity began to grow. He was in demand as a DJ and he also began to write columns for the newly emerging music press and sleeve notes for the LPs of his favourite artists.
In January 1968 John was asked to present another Radio 1 show, similar in style to his Perfumed Garden show on Big L. The show was called Night Ride and went out on Wednesday nights from midnight until 1am, establishing John's reputation as a nocturnal DJ. Night Ride was where John came into his own. During the first broadcast in March, John announced:
"This is the first of a new series of programmes on which you may hear just about anything".
The Perfumed Garden may have been "out there", but Night Ride was about as leftfield and outrageous as it got. John Lennon and Yoko Ono came in and played a cassette recording of their unborn baby's heartbeat over the air, and Downing Street was horrified when, during a debate about sexually transmitted diseases, Peel happily declared he had once caught a venereal disease and that more should be done to educate teens about the risk of STDs. There was a riot going on in radio land and John Peel was at the front holding the banner!
1968 also saw John's first television appearance. He appeared as a regular pundit on music, poetry and art on the radical alternative arts show, 'How It Is'. Whilst espousing the virtues of Captain Beefheart or some other outrageous band or book, a particularly pretty and feisty member of the 'How It Is' studio audience caught his eye. Sheila Gilhoolly eventually was to become John Peel's second wife. Alongside music, she was the love of his life.