NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Broadcaster Robbie Shepherd leaving Take the Floor after 35 years

Robbie Shepherd
Image caption Robbie Shepherd has been presenting Take the Floor since the early 1980s

Veteran broadcaster Robbie Shepherd is leaving BBC Radio Scotland's Take the Floor after 35 years this weekend.

The 80-year-old, a champion of the Doric dialect, was a compere and producer of variety shows before branching out into broadcasting.

He has presented the Scottish dance music show Take the Floor since the early 1980s.

BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie said: "Robbie is one of Scotland's most recognisable voices."

Robbie, explaining his broadcasting philosophy, said: "I like to think that I am broadcasting to a lady in the top tenement in Glasgow at the same time as I am chatting to a lady in a croft."

Thousands of listeners tune in to Take the Floor on Saturday evenings.

But Robbie has decided it is now time to step down from the show - and this weekend will be his final programme as permanent host.

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Media captionRobbie Shepherd says presenting Take The Floor has been "sheer pleasure"

Born in Dunecht in Aberdeenshire in 1936, he admits that when he first entered broadcasting he was initially "slated" for his accent in some quarters, and was just a "rough and ready country loon".

Since then his work has been recognised with an MBE, and he was also inducted into a hall of fame by the Trad Music Awards.

Image caption Robbie is a champion of the Doric dialect

His career has included stints on BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden and presenting televised sheepdog trials.

As well as his broadcast work, Robbie has been a regular commentator on the Highland Games circuit - including the famous Braemar Gathering which is attended by The Queen and members of the royal family - and a much-travelled concert compere.

He has written books on Scottish dance music and Scottish country dancing, and has written a newspaper column in Doric.

Robbie, who turned 80 in May this year, prepares for Take the Floor at BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Terrace base.

Image caption Robbie is pictured with Doris Speed, who played Annie Walker in Coronation Street, in 1967

Robbie said of the future: "I am taking a break, that is for sure."

He added with a smile: "But, as they say, I am a wanted man. I hope sincerely you have not heard the last of this Doric voice."

Image caption Robbie has been active on the Highland Games circuit
Image caption He is a much sought-after concert compere

Mr MacQuarrie said: "Robbie is one Scotland's most recognisable voices and, over the years, he has been like a close family friend for many of our listeners.

"A passionate supporter of traditional Scottish music, Robbie has, over more than three decades, shared his in-depth knowledge and his infectious enthusiasm with generations of Radio Scotland audiences.

"I'd like to thank him personally, both for his work with Radio Scotland and also for his passionate commitment, championing Scottish traditional music across the country.

"Although we're grateful that he'll continue to work for us on one-off broadcasts in future, we wish him well as he prepares to Take the Floor for the final time."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "sad" the "broadcasting legend" was stepping down from Take the Floor and wished him the best.

Image caption Even his 80th birthday cake earlier this year reflected his love of broadcasting
Image caption Colleagues said an emotional farewell this week ahead of the last show

Robbie said: "It has been 35 years of top-class music. From the great masters of the past to present-day performers, Scottish dance music continues to be a vibrant scene.

"So the time has come for me to hand over to a younger presenter (Gary Innes) and wish the Take the Floor team aw the best."

'Great atmosphere'

He added: "I would also like to thank the many hundreds of musicians, whose music we've featured, and the audiences in halls at our recordings across the country who have provided a great atmosphere for the show.

"I'll be looking fur ye all and aw the best."

Image caption Robbie is married to Esma

Robbie, who is married to Esma, concluded: "It's been 35 years of sheer pleasure."

Robbie's final Take the Floor will be broadcast on Saturday 17 September at 19:00.

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