Derek Chinnery

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Charles Derek Chinnery (born 27 April 1925 in Richmond, London) was the controller of BBC Radio 1 from 1978 to 1985.

Early life[edit]

He attended Gosforth Grammar School (since 1973 the Gosforth High School).


He joined the BBC in 1941 aged 16. From 1943-7 he was in the RAF. He returned to the BBC in 1947, becoming a producer in 1952.

BBC Radio 1 controller[edit]

He took over from Charles McLelland and was succeeded by Johnny Beerling. He relaxed the guidelines on banning records, allowing records to mention a commercial product. He axed Sounds of the Seventies. He admitted that while he was controller he confronted Jimmy Savile over allegations of inappropriate sexual activities, which Saville denied; Chinnery said "there was no reason to disbelieve" Savile. Chinnery took no further action, saying: "He was the sort of man that attracted rumours, after all, because he was single, he was always on the move, he was always going around the country."[1]

He once described Radio 1 listeners as unemployed student louts with no money to spend.

His successor, Johnny Beerling, would also be ex-RAF.

Personal life[edit]

He married Doreen Clarke in 1953 in Marylebone.

External links[edit]

  • Radio Rewind
  • Interview recorded in 1983 for British Library's Oral History of Recorded Sound [1]


  1. ^ "Jimmy Savile 'asked about rumours' by BBC boss". BBC News. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
Media offices
Preceded by
Charles McLelland
Controller, BBC Radio 1
Succeeded by
Johnny Beerling