Ed Doolan

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Ed Doolan MBE
Born Edwin Myer Doolan
(1941-07-20) 20 July 1941 (age 75)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Radio Broadcaster
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Christine

Ed Doolan MBE (born 20 July 1941 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian born naturalised British radio presenter who is a veteran of the BBC since 1982. He currently presents a weekly show trawling through his broadcast archives from noon until 1pm on BBC WM on Sunday lunchtime. He has been honoured by the British Radio Academy, earning a place in the Radio Hall of Fame. He has been presented with Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham's three universities and was the first person to have ever achieved that honour.

On Doolan's lunchtime show of 22 February 2011, he announced he was cutting down on the number of shows he would be presenting, stating he could no longer "continue the current work schedule";.[1] His lunchtime show was on a Friday only from 9 September 2011, and he began presenting a new 9 am – 12 noon Sunday show from 11 September 2011, before reducing his workload even further and switching to his current Sunday lunchtime show.


After a ten-year career as a school teacher in Sydney, Edinburgh and from 1967 at Highgate Junior School in London,[2] he moved to Cologne, taking his first step into broadcasting with Radio Deutsche Welle, the German World Service, in August 1970.

From 1974 until 1982 Doolan worked at BRMB Birmingham's first commercial radio station, then moved to BBC WM in 1982. Doolan began his consumer programme on BBC WM in 1988. Well known for pioneering social action broadcasting, tackling dishonest and cavalier traders on behalf of the consumer, Doolan also took on the big utilities, the councils of the West Midlands and even areas of national government if an injustice was done. There has been approaching 7000 programmes over the past 20 years or so, and his Sunday show continues to be one of the most listened-to in the region. He is also a writer and a TV presenter who has featured on news programmes BBC Midlands Today and has written approaching 950 weekly columns for the Birmingham Mail.

On his consumer show, Doolan aimed to 'make a difference' to the less fortunate and in his radio and charity work he can proudly claim to have had great success, being heavily involved in the many charities carrying his name. Doolan also has a huge collection of radio and television programmes on cassette, reel to reel, VHS, CD and DVD. He even discovered a 1968 "Christmas Night with the Stars" containing a ten-minute lost segment of Dads Army.

In 1993 Doolan co-presented the live and local TV talk show Central Weekend Live but prefers radio to television. Famous people Doolan has interviewed include: Telly Savalas, Rolf Harris, Leonard Nimoy (from his BRMB days), Slim Dusty (deceased), Jim Davidson (live studio guest), Ian Smith (Harold from Neighbours), Princess Anne, and all high-profile West Midland politicians since 1974.

Other memorable moments were with Mohammed Ali, Nelson Mandela, Prince Edward, Charlton Heston, Bob Monkhouse, and Barry Humphries.

Doolan has also interviewed every British Prime Minister (except Harold Wilson) since Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who took charge on 19 October 1963.[3]

In January 2015 Doolan revealed that had been coping with dementia for two years, and that was the reason why he had stopped working on live radio, although he plans to continue working "as long as the BBC will let me". He says ″Up till now I've kept pretty quiet about this because I wasn't quite sure how to approach it. But I think if what’s happening to me is happening to other people who can come out and say this is me, this is what’s happening, then people don’t get frightened by it.″.[4]


Doolan is famous for his live broadcasts from UK and abroad. Notable programmes have come from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hong Kong, the world's oldest radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, Birmingham Symphony Hall and the newly refurbished Town Hall. On his 60th and 65th birthday, Doolan broadcast his show live from Weston Super Mare with bus loads of BBC WM listeners. On one occasion an escaped prisoner rang up his show to put his side of things. Doolan handled this chap with dignity and maturity, persuading the chap to hand himself in to the police. Doolan didn't know where the police station was - but the prisoner directed him.

Brother George was a character on Doolan's show in the 1990s. Doolan would talk to his "brother" George "live" from Australia on the phone. There was some speculation on the true identity of brother George, as Doolan only has a sister. Before the days of digital, Doolan pre-recorded George and "talked" with him live by running the tape on an open fader.

Doolan gave 'Dove Awards' to people or companies who have done good things. He played the sound of doves cooing. He gave Turkey Awards to people or companies who had done bad things, playing the sound of turkeys gobbling. Doolan has carried a manbag around for 20 years or more. It contains his heart medication. If something in it bleeped it was usually time for him to make his way around to the studio.


  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-12538964 BBC WM Presenter Ed Doolan Reduces Shows
  2. ^ Hughes, Patrick; Davis, Ian F. (ed). Highgate School Register 1833-1988. p. 103. 
  3. ^ http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-04512.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-radio-legend-ed-doolan-8507525

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