Jack Jackson (radio personality)

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Jack Jackson
Birth nameJack Jackson
Born(1906-02-20)20 February 1906
Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Died15 January 1978(1978-01-15) (aged 71)
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England
GenresBritish dance band
Occupation(s)Bandleader, trumpeter, composer, disc jockey
InstrumentsTrumpet, cornet
Associated actsthe BBC Dance Orchestra

Jack Jackson (20 February 1906 – 15 January 1978) was an English trumpeter and bandleader popular during the British dance band era, and who later became a highly influential radio disc jockey. The BBC’s nickname “Auntie” is often credited to Jackson.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

He was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, the son of a brass band player and conductor, and began playing cornet at the age of 11 before playing violin and cello in dance bands.[2] He learnt to play trumpet and worked in swing bands in circuses, revues, ballrooms and ocean liners.

In 1926 Bert Ralton brought his band to England, and Jackson joined them for a three-month tour of southern Africa, starting at Cape Town in October. In January 1927 they were in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe); they played in Salisbury (Harare) then stayed on for hunting picnic party. Unfortunately Bert Ralton was shot in the leg and died the next day.[3]

1930s and 1940s[edit]

Jackson joined Jack Hylton's band in 1927, staying until 1930 as the orchestra's lead trumpet and cornet. During this time, he also "freelanced" for numerous bands and studio orchestras. After leaving Hylton in late 1930, Jackson returned to England where, after briefly playing with Ray Noble and Roy Fox, he joined Jack Payne and the BBC Dance Orchestra in 1931, staying with him after leaving the BBC the following year. He left Payne to form his own band in 1933.[2] By the end of year, Jack Jackson and his Orchestra started a five-year residency at the Dorchester Hotel in London. His signature tune was Make Those People Sway, and his regular closing theme tune was Dancing in the Dark.[4] By 1939, he had a regular radio show on Radio Luxembourg.

Later life and career[edit]

After the war, he decided not to reform his band, and turned to compering on the BBC Light Programme in such shows as "Record Roundup", which ran from 1948 to 1977. His methods of presentation included punctuating records with surreal comedy clips and using quick cutting of pre-recorded tapes to humorous effect.[5] This was a major influence on later British disc jockeys such as Kenny Everett and Noel Edmonds.

He had a chat show on ITV in 1955.[2] His presentation style was evident in the 1960 comedy and musical film Climb Up the Wall, in which he starred. He appeared as himself in Jamboree (1957). He emigrated to Tenerife in 1962, sending his taped programmes by air to the BBC each week. He was one of the disc jockeys that launched BBC Radio 1 on Saturday 30 September 1967. He broadcast at 1pm with the "Jack Jackson Show". He then moved from Radio 1 to BBC Radio 2. Suffering from a bronchial illness, he returned to Britain to live in 1973, and died in Rickmansworth in 1978. He is remembered as a member of the UK Radio Academy's Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ "Jack Jackson: Rhythm And Radio Fun Remembered". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Dance Band Encyclopaedia: Jack Jackson".
  3. ^ Mitchell & Dellow 2013, pp. 7–8.
  4. ^ Ades, David; Bickerdyke, Percy; Holmes, Eric (July 1999). This England's Book of British Dance Bands. Cheltenham: This England Books. pp. 47–49. ISBN 0-906324-25-4.
  5. ^ "Radio Rewind - BBC Radio 2 - Light Programme Menu". www.radiorewind.co.uk.


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