Mike Smith (television presenter)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2007)|
|Born||23 April 1955|
|Known for||TV and radio presenting|
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Greene (m. 1989)|
Mike Smith (born 23 April 1955; also known as Smitty – his "on air" nickname) is a British television and radio presenter, racing driver, pilot and businessman.
He began his broadcasting career at Chelmsford Hospital Radio, before joining BBC Radio 1 in 1975 as a freelance producer and presenter. His work included promotions and production work for the Radio 1 Roadshow, Quiz Kid and most daytime network shows. As a standby DJ he occasionally got on-air when live outside broadcasts failed. In June 1978 he joined London's Capital Radio and presented a variety of shows until in July 1980 he became the breakfast show presenter. He moved back to BBC Radio 1 in 1982, presenting the weekday early show from 6–7 am and a Saturday morning show.
In 1983, Smith took over the weekday lunchtime show from 11.30 am–2 pm until March 1984, when he briefly left to present BBC Breakfast Time. He returned to Radio 1 in May 1986, taking over from Mike Read on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show from 7.00–9.30 am, where he remained until exactly two years later. Mike admitted to Chris Moyles in a BBC documentary aired in May 2010, “When Moyles met The Radio 1 Breakfast DJs”, that he really missed being on the radio but not television
His TV career as a presented included Thames TV's CBTV, BBC1 entertainment magazine shows Show Business (1983) and Friday's People (1985–87), Noel Edmonds' The Late, Late Breakfast Show (1984–86), That's Showbusiness (1989–96), and Julian Clary's Trick or Treat for ITV.
He presented BBC TV's Railwatch which aired live for five days in February 1989. Other large outside broadcasts included Hospital Watch, Airport Watch and the BBC coverage of The Royal Tournament.
He and Sarah Greene appeared as themselves in Ghostwatch (1992).
Smith is a qualified helicopter pilot. He and his then girlfriend (now wife) Sarah Greene were injured on 10 September 1988 when the Robinson R22 Beta helicopter he was piloting (bearing the personal registration G-SMIF) crashed in Gloucestershire. Smith reported apparent unrecoverable loss of engine power whilst circling to reconnoitre an unfamiliar landing site. Both passengers survived, although Sarah broke both legs and an arm, and Mike suffered a broken back and ankle. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch neither criticised nor exonerated Smith in relation to the crash (it being beyond its remit to do so), concluding simply that "... examination of the helicopter [including flight control, fuel, engine control, dynamic systems and the engine itself] revealed no failure or unserviceability that could have resulted in a loss of rotor speed."  
Driving from the age of 8, he raced at the age of 14 in grasstrack events, building his own cars. In 1972, aged 17, he passed his test and took up motorsports in racing, rallying and rallycross. In 1976 he progressed to Formula Ford 2000 with the Patrick Head-designed Sark. He was also a motorport commentator, mainly at Brands Hatch where he also, age 21, ran the marketing operation. It was through that during this time he became interested in broadcasting.
While still broadcasting Smith raced in several British Touring Car Championship races as well, driving a newly homologated Sierra Cosworth in 1987, and then alongside Frank Sytner in 1988 with whom he often clashed in a BMW M3. He also won the Willhire 24 Hour at Snetterton in 1986, driving a Ford Escort RS Turbo. Veteran commentator Murray Walker remarked that Smith "guaranteed action by the bucket-load".
In 1989, Mike established a BTCC team known as Trakstar with Robb Gravett. They ran two Sierra Cosworths, which had been imported from the Australian Touring Car stable of Dick Johnson. Gravett went on to become runner up in Group A, but Mike struggled with his recovery from the helicopter crash. However, loss of a major sponsor in 1990 meant that only one car could be run, which was raced by Robb Gravett who became champion. Mike never raced competitively again.
Smith attended King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, where he was the resident DJ at the school Friday night sixth form disco. He married television presenter Sarah Greene in 1989, soon after their 1988 helicopter crash.
|BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show presenter