David Franklin (broadcaster)

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David Franklin (17 May 1908 – 22 October 1973) was a British opera singer and broadcaster.

Born in London in 1908, David Franklin was educated at Alleyn's School in Dulwich and at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He originally trained as a schoolteacher. A bass singing in amateur productions, he was discovered in 1934 by John Christie, the founder of the Glyndebourne festival. In 1936, at the age of 28, he made his professional debut as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne. He sang with both the English and Welsh National Opera companies. He was leading bass at Covent Garden from 1947. He created the role of Mars in the world premiere of Sir Arthur Bliss's opera The Olympians in 1949. A throat condition forced his retirement from professional singing in 1951.

He taught at St. Albans School in Hertfordshire during the 1940s and early 1950s, directing many School productions during this time.

On retirement, Franklin turned to writing and broadcasting. He wrote the libretto for Phyllis Tate's opera The Lodger. An excellent raconteur, Franklin was, from 1966 to 1973, a panellist on the light-hearted radio panel game My Music, chaired by Steve Race. Ill health forced him to retire in early 1973 during the eighth season of the show. He was replaced initially by Owen Brannigan and later, after Brannigan's sudden death, by John Amis. He also became the chairman of the very long running popular BBC radio panel game Twenty Questions from 1970 to 1972, following in the steps of fellow distinguished broadcasters Gilbert Harding, Richard Dimbleby, and Kenneth Horne. He died in 1973 at his home in Evesham, survived by his wife, Hilda (née Bickell) and two daughters.


  • D. Franklin: Basso Cantante (his autobiography) (Gerald Duckworth and Company 1969) ISBN 978-0-71-560416-8
  • D. Brook: Singers of Today (Revised Edition - Rockliff, London 1958), 90-93.
  • Percy Scholes and Michael Kennedy: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (Oxford University Press 1996) ISBN 978-0-19-280037-4.
  • International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory (6th Edition) (Burke's Peerage 1972).