Mike Smith (presenter)

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For other people named Michael Smith, see Michael Smith (disambiguation).
Mike Smith
Born Michael George Smith
(1955-04-23)23 April 1955
Romford, Essex, England[1]
Died 1 August 2014(2014-08-01) (aged 59)
Nationality British
Occupation Television and radio presenter, racing driver, pilot, businessman
Known for Television and radio presenter
Spouse(s) Sarah Greene (1989-2014; his death)

Michael George "Mike" Smith[2] (23 April 1955 – 1 August 2014), also known by his "on air" nickname Smitty, was an English television and radio presenter, racing driver, pilot and businessman.

Radio career[edit]

Smith 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, Smith occasionally broadcast when live outside broadcasts failed. In June 1978, he joined London's Capital Radio and presented a variety of shows, until July 1980 where Smith became the breakfast show presenter. He moved back to BBC Radio 1 in 1982, presenting the weekday early show from 6 to 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 to 9.30 am, where he remained until exactly two years later. Smith 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.

Television career[edit]

Smith's career as a television presenter 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.

Smith was one of BBC TV's presenters at Live Aid in 1985. He helped found Comic Relief and presented several of the TV shows.

Smith 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.

Pilot[edit]

Smith was a qualified helicopter pilot. He and his girlfriend (later his 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 Greene broke both legs and an arm, and Smith 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."[3][4]

Aerial filming company[edit]

In 2004, Smith founded Flying TV[5] – a company providing aerial filming services to broadcasters. As well as being Managing Director, Smith often acted as an aerial cameraman.[6][7]

Motor racing[edit]

Driving from the age of 8, Smith 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. Smith was also a motorsport 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, Smith 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 Smith 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. Smith never raced competitively again.

Personal life[edit]

Smith attended King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, where he was the resident DJ at the school Friday night sixth form disco. He married Greene in 1989, soon after their 1988 helicopter crash.

Death[edit]

Mike Smith died on 1 August 2014 from complications following major heart surgery. His wife of 25 years, the TV presenter Sarah Greene, survived him.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "findmypast.co.uk". Search.findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  2. ^ "MICHAEL GEORGE SMITH director information. Free director information". Companycheck.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  3. ^ "Robinson R22 Beta, G-SMIF". Aaib.gov.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  4. ^ "ON THIS DAY | 10 | 1988: BBC presenters in helicopter crash". BBC News. 1973-09-10. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  5. ^ "Helicopter Aerial Filming London, UK, Europe HD, Video and Photography". FlyingTV. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Lin Jenkins (2 August 2014). "Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith dies following heart surgery". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith dies aged 59". BBC News. 2 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Mike Read
BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show presenter

1986-1988
Succeeded by
Simon Mayo