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After a period working for Decca Records, Clayton first started to present jazz music on BBC Radio in October 1968, with a programme called Jazz on One which was broadcast on 247 metres Medium Wave on Sunday evenings.
In 1970, he went on to present Jazz Notes and his best remembered programme, Sounds of Jazz later in 1973 when BBC Radio 1 joined the BBC Radio 2 VHF transmitters broadcasting on 88-91 MHz FM at 10 p.m. every Sunday evening. The theme music to the programme was composed by Laurie Johnson. As well as playing jazz records, Clayton would organize and present 'live' jazz recordings with an audience (the tickets were complimentary) with each 'set' lasting about 30 minutes at the BBC studios in Maida Vale, London during the week. Artists such as Dave Shepherd with his quintet, piano player Colin Purbrook, Danny Moss and Jeanie Lambe and Kenny Baker (trumpeter) frequently appeared. The Mike Westbrook Orchestra made several broadcasts and filled the studio.
He interviewed the jazz singer Sarah Vaughan on his Sounds of Jazz programme in July 1977, when Vaughan sang a live tribute to the music of composer George Gershwin. On another occasion he interviewed the late jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, who both played live and played some of his memorable recordings.
Clayton wrote three books along with his colleague Peter Gammond; A Bluffer's Guide to Jazz, Jazz A-Z and 14 Miles on a Clear Night.
His show, Sounds of Jazz, continued to be heard on BBC Radio 2 until his death. On BBC Radio 3, he succeeded Steve Race as the presenter of the Saturday afternoon programme Jazz Record Requests. And played requests from an international audience on "Jazz For The Asking" on the BBC World Service.