1990-1997 - From The Archers to Nirvana
John fulfilled a lifetime ambition in 1991, appearing on his favourite show, Radio 4's daily soap opera, The Archers, as himself.
As far as music radio went, John was spoilt for choice. Nirvana, the defining band of the early 90s, first played a Peel Session in 1989 and revisited the show in 1990 and 1991. Other notables inducted into the Peel hall of fame included The Charlatans, The Lemonheads, The Farm, Ride, and PJ Harvey.
John also escaped being sacked as Radio 1's new controller, Matthew Bannister, scythed through the station's older DJs. John's credibility saved him, but he watched his Radio 1 colleagues disappear, including Bob Harris, Tommy Vance, Alan Freeman, Johnnie Walker, Gary Davies, Simon Bates, and Dave Lee Travis, who famously launched an attack on the BBC's management during his last show.
Despite being the last of the old school of Radio 1 DJs, John took great pleasure in working with the new breed of young broadcasters including Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs. John played the surrogate father role to Hobbs, handing over to Mary Anne every week before her Tuesday night Rock Show. In 2004 Mary Anne commissioned a bespoke neon sign and gave it to John for his 65th birthday. The sign read 'Dream Dad'.
In 1996, John faced a tough personal challenge. Whilst at the Isle Of Man TT Races with fellow DJ Andy Kershaw, John learned that Sheila had suffered a brain haemorrhage. Although Sheila made a complete recovery, John was understandably shaken.
A happier event took place during one of his last ever Top Of The Pops appearances. John was wrapping up a link to camera when Michael Aspel appeared behind him, tapped John's shoulder and presented him with the infamous This Is Your Life big red book. A moving half-hour followed, with John recounting stories from his past and meeting friends, including an old colleague from Dallas. John, always ready with the waterworks, was visibly touched.