20 August 1927 |
|Years active||2006 –|
|Known for||Vlogging, autobiography|
|Web hosting service(s)||YouTube|
|Signature phrase||"Hello, YouTubers" or "Good evening, YouTubers"|
Making his YouTube debut in August 2006 with Telling it all, a series of five- to ten-minute autobiographical videos, Oakley gained immediate popularity with a wide section of the YouTube community. Amongst the autobiographical details revealed in his videos are the fact that he served as a radar mechanic during World War II, that he has had a lifelong love of motorcycles, and that he lives alone as a widower and pensioner in England.
His unforeseen rise has been widely reported by international media outlets and online news sources and blogs. After resisting all media attention for a long time (including requests for interviews, photographs, and attempts to identify him), insisting that he only wished to converse with the YouTube community in an informal and personal way, Oakley finally gave his first interview, for the BBC's The Money Programme, which was aired on BBC Two on 16 February 2007.
By mid-2006, geriatric1927 was the most subscribed user on YouTube. His rise to the #1 position took place in just over a week. In the process, he displaced users who had been around since the site's launch over a year before, including NBC-signed Brooke Brodack.
Oakley had 30,000 subscribers as of 25 November 2006 and over 53,000 subscribers as of 24 May 2010. He currently ranks as the 52nd most subscribed all time in the United Kingdom, and is the 19th most subscribed "Director" of all time in the United Kingdom. As of June 2012, Oakley has over 350 videos on YouTube under the pseudonym geriatric1927.
Telling it all
After Oakley's introductory video, "first try", which has been viewed over 2 million times, he began producing his very successful autobiographical series, Telling it all. These pushed him into Internet celebrity almost overnight, gaining mention in various newsmedia, such as BBC News and GMTV, as well as prompting the creation of web sites bearing his user name. In "Telling it all 7", Oakley repudiated those sites, saying he was in no way affiliated with them and had no say or control over their content.
In the series, Oakley describes some of the major events and periods of his life, including
- Growing up during World War II, and living as a young teen in a city that was bombed by the Luftwaffe.
- His experience in the primary and secondary education system of England in the 1930s, and his fortunate (in his eyes) selection to have his education 'extended' past the age of 14, a privilege during the period reserved for children deemed to be intelligent.
- His conscription into the British Army, and again his fortunate selection to be a radar technician, which occurred as a consequence of the aptitudes his superiors detected in him. This role kept him out of combat, for which he is grateful because he did not have to witness "the horrors of war", but was nonetheless imperative for the war effort.
- His return to civilian life and the job he had left behind.
- A period of tertiary education in Leicester, England, where he met his future wife, and developed his passion for motorcycling.
- His employment in Leicester as a public-health inspector.
In early 2010, singer-songwriter Al Chantrey, a friend of Peter's and a fellow YouTube user (AlSaysIt) wrote and recorded a song for him which Peter featured in a video. The song, entitled 'Telling It All' (based on Peter's video series) talks about Peter's life. The song is also available on iTunes on one of Chantrey's albums ('Lyrically Driven'). Peter and Chantrey have also planned to write and record an album together in the future.
The videos all begin with what has become his catchphrase, "Hello, YouTubers", or "Good evening, YouTubers", and end with his thanking the viewers for watching and saying "Good-bye" in his soft voice.
Oakley was featured in a recent installment Yahoo! Current Buzz (which chronicles the top searches on the Internet), entitled "Retired and Wired".
Involving the media worldwide
On 17 August 2006, Oakley uploaded the next installment of his series, "Telling it all 7", in which he made an important statement about how much attention he had received from the media over the past couple of days. Unlike previous videos in the series, "Telling it all 7" was not an anecdote of his life, but focused solely on the media response he had gained. He mentioned that this is not what he sought or wanted. This video was leaked out to the media because somebody reportedly intended to publish these videos—without permission from Oakley—for personal benefit. Also included in this upload was a clarification that any web sites using his username (geriatric1927) were in no way affiliated with him.
In "Telling it all 7", he stated that he had received many messages from advertising companies, telephone companies, and newspaper companies that wanted to interview him. Oakley, however, was not interested, preferring to speak only to his fellow YouTubers, whom he considered his friends.
Influence on others
Oakley's YouTube success inspired other older people, particularly men with vast life experiences to share, to begin posting vlogs on it. A notable user influenced by Oakley was a World War II veteran, Martin H Slobodkin (1920–2006), who under the name MHarris1920 started to post his own blogs. Martin died in October 2006, and received an outpouring of tributes from other YouTube users after his wife, Teresa posted a video announcing his death. His widow temporarily took over his blogs, but later closed this account. Another older person is Bernhard von Schwerin, who appears under the name bernie1927. He too was a World War II veteran, however on the German side. He was encouraged by Peter and has talked about his youth and his many travels and his emigration to the US in 1951.
Oakley's influence has not just inspired the older generation. Artist Annemarie Wright, 31, was so inspired by Peter Oakley's story, that she dedicated a piece of artwork to him. The image is of Oakley to the lyrics of The Zimmers version of 'My generation'.
On 16 February 2007, geriatric1927 made his first television appearance, on a special episode of The Money Programme called "Coming to Your Screen: DIY TV". It was produced by the BBC, who coincidentally became incorporated in the same year as Oakley's birth, 1927. The program was taped in the autumn of 2006.
On 14 March 2007, Oakley announced that he was working on some television programmes about silver surfing.
Oakley also was part of a BBC documentary in which he was recruited as one of The Zimmers, a group of pensioners whom the documentary maker Tim Samuels brought together to sing The Who's classic "My Generation" to highlight the plight of old-age pensioners in modern Britain. The single was released in May 2007 to raise money for the charity Age Concern.
Notes and references
- What to watch on the web: Video Blogs, BBC News, 27 November 2006 . Retrieved 29 December 2006.
- "geriatric1927's Youtube profile". Youtube.com. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Pensioner tops web video clips Alex Kumi, The Guardian, 2006-08-14
- "Kanaal van AlSaysIt". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "" (8 November 2009). "Friends". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "Lyrically Driven by Al Chantrey - Download Lyrically Driven on iTunes". Itunes.apple.com. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "video.yahoo.com". video.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Telling it all 7 - Something important to say youtube posting 2006-08-17
- "". "youtube.com". youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- "". "youtube.com". youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
|Most Subscribed Channel on Youtube||Succeeded by