Dotun Adebayo

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Dotun Adebayo

Oludotun Davey Moore Adebayo

(1959-08-25) 25 August 1959 (age 63)
Lagos, Nigeria
Other namesThe Referee. The Nightwatchman
Known for
SpouseCarroll Thompson

Oludotun Davey Moore "Dotun" Adebayo MBE (born 25 August 1959) is a British radio presenter, writer, and publisher. He is best known for his work on Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 Live, as well as the obituary programme Brief Lives.

Early life[edit]

Oludotun "Dotun" Adebayo was born in Lagos, Nigeria,[1] and moved to join his parents in England at the age of six.[2] His younger brother Diran Adebayo is a novelist, and his nephew Tobi Adebayo-Rowling is a professional footballer. As a young boy, Adebayo joined the National Youth Theatre, where he starred in Killing Time by Barrie Keeffe, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, and several other productions.

Adebayo was educated at Woodlands Park Junior School in Tottenham, where he was in the year below Winston Silcott. He then went on to Stationers' Company's Comprehensive School in Hornsey, North London, followed by Stockholm University, where he studied Literature. While there, he had a reggae segment inside a Saturday-night radio programme on Sveriges Radio P3. He then returned to the UK to study Philosophy at the Wivenhoe Park campus of the University of Essex.

While studying at the University of Essex, and presenting two programmes on the student radio station, in 1987 Adebayo was elected President of the University of Essex Students' Union to serve in the 1987/1988 academic year. Standing as an independent, he defeated Labour Students candidate Asad Rehman.

Adebayo revealed during an episode of Up All Night[3] that his middle names were "Davey Moore". His parents were boxing fans and had given him these middle names because the boxer Davey Moore had boxed and beaten British-Nigerian Hogan Bassey a year earlier. He spoke about this during the show's "Virtual Jukebox" segment when the Bob Dylan song "Who Killed Davey Moore" had been selected by a listener.


The American playwright Tennessee Williams chose Adebayo to play a small part in the world premiere of his last play, The Red Devil Battery Sign, in which Adebayo acted opposite Pierce Brosnan.[1]

Adebayo appeared in The Oblong Box at the age of eight, and Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier's The Element of Crime. As well as claiming to have been the first black Teddy boy in London in his early teens, Adebayo also won a Rotary Club public-speaking award as a teenager, and worked for the BBC from the age of 12 on the radio programme Network Africa. Around this same time, Adebayo nearly became the latest, 'Milky Bar Kid', only narrowly missing out on the part, owing to him not needing to wear glasses.

Adebayo resigned as President of the University of Essex Students' Union within a few months to take up a job with The Voice, Britain's main black newspaper, where he was music editor until 1991. His columns and articles have been published in Pride Magazine and the New Nation, as well as broadsheet and tabloid newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, London Evening Standard and the News of the World.[4]

Some of these columns were compiled into books: Can I Have My Balls Back Please (2000) and its sequel Sperm Bandits (2002), the latter a humorous look at the phenomenon of sperm theft. This led to a follow-up Channel 4 docudrama Sperm Bandits. He is working on his first novel, Promised Land, an epic saga spanning 50 years in the lives of Britain's richest black family.

In 1993, while appearing on Channel 4's The Devil's Advocate opposite presenter Darcus Howe, he was spotted by GLR programme executive Gloria Abramov, who was looking for a new presenter for the Black London programme. His broadcasting work on BBC London 94.9 gave him the opportunity to present other programmes, such as the Saturday night reggae show, and he eventually "presented everything except travel!" On his half-week of the Up All Night show on BBC Radio 5 Live, he presents both the World Football Phone-In and the Virtual Jukebox: this was a replacement for his Virtual Bookshelf.[5]

Adebayo's television work includes writing and presenting the documentary White Girls Are Easy (for Channel 4), and the weekly show Heavy TV.

Adebayo founded the publishing company X Press, with Steve Pope,[6] producing black fiction such as Baby Father, Victor Headley's Yardie (which became the first black British best-seller when it was published in 1992), and Cop Killer (which gained instant notoriety when 200 bullets were sent out to the press to promote the title). He is also responsible for the Nia imprint of literary black fiction, including titles such as J. California Cooper's In Search of Satisfaction, and the 20/20 imprint for current generic fiction such as the best-seller Curvy Lovebox. Adebayo also published the comic magazine Skank.

Adebayo is co-founder of Colourtelly, Britain's first general-interest black internet television station. To save costs, Adebayo uses his own house as the studio. When it launched on 1 August 2007, he had the aim of attracting 6000 subscribers to break even.

In September 2020, Adebayo became a co-presenter of On The Continent as part of the new Football Ramble Presents network, alongside Andy Brassell.

Personal life[edit]

Adebayo is married to singer Carroll Thompson, and they have two daughters. He supports Charlton Athletic Football Club.

In October 1999, Adebayo was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth II.[7] Ten years later, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2009.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Radio presenter delivers memorial lecture". Policy Studies Institute. 1 November 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  2. ^ Alison Donnell (2002). "Adebayo, Dotun". In Alison Donnell (ed.). Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture. Routledge. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-134-70025-7.
  3. ^ Adebayo, Dotun (23 July 2017). "23/07/2017". Up All Night. BBC Radio 5 Live.
  4. ^ "Broadcasting today: Dotun Adebayo". Lecture list. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Dotun Adebayo's Virtual Bookshelf".
  6. ^ Richardson, Anna (19 March 2008). "The X Press regroups". The Bookseller. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  7. ^ Heinemeier, Jo (31 May 2012). "Queen's Diamond Jubilee: TV and Radio guide". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. ISSN 0307-1235.
  8. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 13.

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