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13 December 1957|
Manchester, Lancashire, England
|Known for||Radio and TV presenter|
|Television||Top Of The Pops|
Gary Davies (born 13 December 1957, Manchester, England) is an English broadcaster. During the 1980s and early 1990s he was a BBC Radio 1 disc jockey and a regular presenter of Top of the Pops. As of 2018 he can be heard on BBC Radio 2.
After working in marketing for a mail order company and managing a Manchester disco, Davies began his broadcasting career at Manchester's Piccadilly Radio in 1979 before joining BBC Radio 1 in 1982 to present a Saturday late night show, making his debut on 4 December 1982. Within weeks he was on the roster to present Top Of The Pops on BBC television alongside his Radio 1 colleagues. He initially spoke with strong hints of a Mancunian accent, but by the mid-1980s he had adopted an exaggerated mid-Atlantic twang.
BBC Radio 1
The Bit in the Middle
In 1984, Davies was given the slot for which he became one of radio's biggest stars when he took over the Radio 1 lunchtime show. He called it The Bit In The Middle and it consisted of humorous features, such as The Day-To-Day Challenge, in which the same person would go on air each weekday to answer quiz questions and try to upgrade their prize, and Willy On The Plonker, which involved a crazed piano-playing of a well-known hit for listeners to identify.
The show was hugely important in the 1980s as at the time the new UK Top 40 was announced on Tuesday afternoons. On Sunday 6 September 1987, for one time only he presented the Sunday Afternoon Stereo Countdown of the Top 40 from 5 pm to 7 pm filling in for Bruno Brookes.
The show always ended with the instrumental section of The Look of Love by ABC from the album The Lexicon of Love.
There was a marketability about Davies as he was regarded by some female listeners as a heart-throb. He was projected as an eligible bachelor of the station, complete with a catchphrase "Young, Free and Single" and a jingle "Wooh! Gary Davies".
Davies became popular on the Radio 1 roadshows throughout the 1980s but his own show rarely changed until it was rebranded in 1991 as Let's Do Lunch, with new features, including Spin & Win (a variation on Willy On The Plonker, with a cryptic clue replacing the frenetic piano work) and the Classic Track, which was the one time of the week Radio 1 played a piece of classical music. Previous feature The Sloppy Bit (a dedication followed by love song) was unchanged but renamed Lots Of Love. He also introduced The Non Stop Half Hour from after the 2.30 pm news until 3 pm, which was half an hour of non stop music.
With updated technology, the chart rundown was moved forward to Sundays from 4 October 1987 onwards. Instead, Davies did countdowns of the US chart and the UK album chart — although the US chart he featured was not the official Billboard one, but an airplay-only chart compiled by Radio and Records magazine.
In 1992, Davies quit the lunchtime show and moved to weekend breakfast, keeping a selection of the features. He also started a Sunday late night slot. The Lots of Love feature moved to this show, with dedications being read out over the music to Dances with Wolves. During this period, he could also be heard deputising for weekday presenters when taking their holidays, usually Steve Wright or Nicky Campbell.
Leaving Radio 1
In 1993, with a new regime at Radio 1 wishing to squeeze out the older presenters representing a past era, Davies was sacked. His last record was Layla by Derek and the Dominoes — which had also been his first record on the station eleven years earlier.
The last two years of Davies' Radio 1 career allowed him the opportunity to display his love of music; higher-profile shows often negated the need for DJs to be heard caring for the songs they were playing, concentrating instead on the personality side of the programming. Davies got his opportunity to display his musical knowledge - he was, for example, the first DJ to play Radiohead on Radio 1, when a copy of their Drill EP was sent to him.
Davies was also the last Radio 1 DJ to host Top of the Pops before the show's "year zero" re-vamp in October 1991.
In January 1994, Davies moved to Virgin Radio, presenting their Sunday morning Classic Tracks slot from 10 am to 2 pm. The show later went out from 9 am to 1 pm and he remained there until early 1995.
After a brief sabbatical, Davies then rejoined Virgin Radio in December 1995, taking over the Sunday late night show from 10 pm to 2 am. This gave him the chance to revive his Sunday night format. Davies then went on to present the weekday late night slot in January 1999, where he remained until December 2000.
Davies was heard on the Real Radio and the Century Radio network, presenting a CD chart show every Sunday originally from 1 to 4 pm but from 2006 the show went out from 4 pm to 7 pm. However, this finished in mid-2008. Currently[when?] he owns a publishing company called Good Groove, where he also manages new artists.
On 9 June 2017, Davies stood in for Sara Cox to present a special 2¾ hour edition of Sounds of the 80s on BBC Radio 2. This was his first time back on BBC Radio for 23 years. In October 2017 and January 2018, Davies sat in for Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 show. On 18 May 2018, Davies took over from Sara Cox as host of Radio 2 Sounds of the 80s.
- Randall, Mac (2000-09-12). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-385-33393-1. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- "Radio Rewind: Gary Davies page".
- "Gary Davies - United Kingdom | LinkedIn". Uk.linkedin.com. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "Gary Davies sits in". BBC. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
- "Presenter Gary Davies returns to BBC Radio". Radio Today UK. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
- "Gary Davies back on daily show with Radio 2". Radio Today UK. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
- Bourne, Dianne (18 May 2018). "Ooh Gary Davies! The Manchester DJ legend on his BBC return and how it all started at The Twisted Wheel". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 22 June 2018.