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14 December 1952 |
Ealing, London, England
Boyd was born in Feltham and grew up in Ashford in Middlesex attending Tudor Grammar School. His father, who was a boxing and weightlifting champion and later a bodybuilder, was from Newcastle upon Tyne. His mother, Gwen was a school teacher/headmistress at Martindale School for the disabled in Hounslow. On leaving school, he worked at a Debenhams store in Staines. Aged 19, he went to New York to work at a summer camp as soccer coach. From there, Boyd went on to study at Brighton College of Education. To finance his studies, Boyd worked as a night club DJ and stringer at BBC Radio Brighton; he also worked for two years as a dolphin trainer at the Brighton Dolphinarium, and later worked two seasons as a red coat entertainer at a Butlins holiday camp in Bognor Regis. In 1974, he joined start-up news radio station LBC as a journalist, and, in 1976, was made editor of the rolling news breakfast show "AM".
A gifted sportsman, he turned down joining Sussex County Cricket Club in 1975 to concentrate on performing.
From 1977 to 1980, Boyd was co-presenter of the ITV children's flagship magazine programme Magpie replacing Douglas Rae. In 1981, he devised, wrote, and presented, "What's Happening?", a news quiz. He also presented the Saturday TV-am show Wide Awake Club from 1986–1990, and its Sunday spin-off WAC Extra, throughout the 1980s. In 1982 he joined the cast of Jigsaw, including Janet Ellis, Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport. Tommy also hosted his own Children's BBC programme called Puzzle Trail.
Between 1982 and 1984, Boyd also fronted Central Television's Saturday morning kids TV show The Saturday Show alongside Isla St Clair and followed this with Saturday Starship in 1985 (co-presented by Bonnie Langford). From April 1991 – December 1992, he spent a period as the presenter for ITV's children's strand. In 1993/4, Boyd worked on the The Children's Channel, a satellite television channel.
In the late 1990s, Boyd presented the TV programme MLB on Five in 1997.
During the late 1980s Boyd was a radio presenter on the ILR station Southern Sound on the late Sunday evening show along with Nicky Keig-Shevlin and David Legg. The format of the show was phone-in/quiz style with the occasional record thrown in – 'Two Little Boys' by Rolf Harris and 'Narcissus' by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band being two that featured regularly. Boyd signed off each show by playing "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
He was a radio presenter on the British AM station Talk Radio (later talkSPORT) from its inception in February 1995 until November 1998, when he lost his job in a reshuffle at the station after it was taken over by a consortium led by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie. It was during this tenure that Boyd consolidated his reputation for being controversial. Broadcasting at first from 3pm to 7pm, transferring later to the 1am to 4am timeslot, the format of the show would involve Boyd making a proposition (e.g. "Save a life ... Humiliate a sunbather" or "Who needs their legs?") and engaging in a frequently heated debate. Less argumentative strands of the show would also see the emergence of "The Angry Hour" and "The Wonderful Hour", the latter of which would always take place during the final hour of the Friday show.
Boyd subsequently worked for the local station LBC in London, working on a Nightline phone-in programme during the early '80s remembered for its 'Mystery Guest' feature, where a famous person would come in and not talk in their real voice and people would have to call in and guess who it was – Roy Castle once featured and "talked" only by playing his trombone; later he joined BBC Radio Five Live. For his Nightline show Boyd was awarded the Royal Variety Club Radio Personality of the Year. He later co-presented the breakfast show with Anne Diamond, leaving the station in 1999. At Five Live he presented the weekday afternoon show 2.00 – 5.00, which consisted of sport and music.
During the late 1970s, he hosted the Saturday morning radio show Jellybone aimed at children. The show featured items such as a phone-in news quiz, and a segment where group or club members – such as bus spotters – were invited into the studio to discuss their hobby, and to take part in the Jellybone Jury, reviewing and scoring the latest record releases. Previous hosts of the show include LBC stalwart Therese Birch, and the late Jeremy Beadle.
In January 2000, Talk Radio was rebranded as talkSPORT, but with part of its schedules being retained for talk and non-sport phone in. After covering for absent presenters on several occasions, Boyd took up a permanent position in April 2000. In May 2000, he began an experiment on his Sunday night slot whereby calls would go straight to air unscreened. This later evolved into The Human Zoo. Boyd presented the show with Asher Gould. This style of programme came to light again in May 2006 when the LBC presenter Iain Lee started a show called Triple M, expanded from a half-hour section of his regular show using this format. Boyd also hosted a professional wrestling radio show on talkSPORT called Talk Wrestling. The show's success prompted him to investigate re-introducing wrestling as a mainstream entertainment in the UK. He hired Crystal Palace, and put on one of the biggest UK-run wrestling shows in recent years, including the future WWE heavyweight champion, Eddie Guererro. Boyd was sacked from TalkSPORT in March 2002 after failing to use the profanity delay to "dump" a caller's remarks that the royal family should be shot.
In early 2004, Boyd joined BBC Southern Counties Radio, where he presented a Saturday Night show (with a live internet feed) from 9 pm – 1 am with co-presenter Allison Ferns. It was here that the Human Zoo format was resurrected along with the more controversial aspects of the Talk Radio days. On the occasions when Allison Ferns was absent, cover would come in the guises of Lisa Francesca Nand, Alyson Mead, and on one show (New Year's Eve 2005), Boyd's wife, Jayne. From April 2006 to December 2007 Boyd presented a daily afternoon show from 1pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Several popular elements from the past resurfaced, such as "The Angry Hour", "The Irritable Hour", and once again on the final hour of the Friday show "The Wonderful Hour".
From August 2007, Boyd co-presented a Sunday night show on Play Radio UK, an internet radio station. In January 2008 he moved to Original 106 FM where he hosted the weekday breakfast show until September, before returning to Play Radio UK broadcasting a general talk and phone in show weekday late nights and via podcast, billed as "Global News Talk".
Boyd provided summer cover for Jon Gaunt on the Sun Talk, an internet-based radio station, and for a week in September 2009 he filled in for Steve Berry on 106.1 Rock Radio Manchester's Breakfast Show. In 2009 he launched a company called Digital Sport Radio, which makes radio for major sporting clubs and brands. He makes it clear that he is still keen on the talk radio concept, stating "I'm still hopeful that we'll get a proper Talk service in the UK before I go fully senile."
- "DJ fired after royal death threat". The Guardian. 12 April 2002.
- Leonard, Tom (13 April 2002). "DJ sacked over radio republican". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Tommy Boyd joins net station". Radio Today. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
- "Comment by Tommy Boyd at his blog, November 9, 2009". Mrtommyboyd.wordpress.com. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2010.