James Whale (radio)

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James Whale
James Whale
James Whale
Birth name Michael James Whale
Born (1951-05-13) 13 May 1951 (age 66)
Ewell, Surrey, England
Spouse(s) Melinda Maxted (m. 1970)
Children 2
Website jameswhale.co.uk

Michael James Whale (born 13 May 1951) is an English radio and television host. He is known for his plain-speaking, often acerbic and confrontational, broadcasting style; during phone-ins he frequently hangs up on callers he disagrees with or who do not make their point quickly enough.

Early life[edit]

Whale was born in 1951 in the village of Ewell in Surrey, the son of an English father, David Whale, and a Welsh mother, Anne (née Price), who owned a pub. Whale was educated at Longmead County Secondary Boys' School, [1] a secondary modern school in Epsom, Surrey.

Life and career[edit]

Whale first gained national prominence in the late 1980s with The James Whale Radio Show, a late-night programme produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV. In 1995, he hosted The James Whale Show on TalkSport until he was sacked in 2008 after urging his listeners to elect Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. He presented on Bid TV before returning to the airwaves on LBC in London.[2]

Early radio and television career (1974–95)[edit]

Whale started as a phone-in chat show host at Metro Radio in Newcastle, the first presenter of the Nightowls evening phone-in from the station's launch in 1974. He moved to Radio Derby to host a morning phone-in, working with Terry Christian, who became a colleague at talkSPORT.

In 1982, Whale joined Radio Aire in Leeds to host the night talk show. He was moved to the breakfast show in late 1986/early 1987, but soon went back to the late show where he would have more freedom of speech. In 1987 he recorded singles "The Whaley Rap" and "Wrap It Up For Xmas" and by late 1987 his show was simulcast with Red Rose Radio from Preston – both part of Trans World Communications, owned by Owen Oyston. In 1989 his third single "Bimbo" entered the UK Top 100 singles chart. An edited version of the B-side "A Big Big Egg" was the end theme for his TV show.

In 1989 Whale had his first TV show, The James Whale Radio Show, broadcast in a late-night slot on ITV, Radio Aire and Red Rose Radio. It was live, including interviews and phone-ins in which Whale often treated callers and guests with characteristic short shrift. Conservative MP Jerry Hayes had a regular slot in the show and Steve Coogan would also make a regular appearance. The show was moved to later and later slots, well into the early hours of the morning. The Superstation took over the overnight schedule for Radio Aire in 1990 and Whale moved to the ITV studios to present "Whale On".

In 1994, Whale presented a weekend afternoon show on LBC in London. He also presented The Blue Whale on Men and Motors.

Talk Radio/TalkSport (1995–2008)[edit]

Whale hosted phone-ins on talkSPORT from 1995 (when it was known as Talk Radio) to 2008, and a 10.00pm–1.00am programme. Whale was often called to anchor special broadcasts. On 21 December 2006, Whale presented The Mike Dickin Tribute Show, dedicated to a fellow talkSport presenter who had died in a car accident only three days before, Whale's style of presenting was similar to that of Dickin, who also had little tolerance for callers he disagreed with and didn't make a valid point.

The James Whale Show featured as guests celebrities such as Derek Acorah, Jodie Marsh, David Icke, Nick Pope, Alex Jones, Jason Kouchak, David Shayler, Lembit Öpik, Myleene Klass, Peter Stringfellow and Alistair McGowan. Another regular guest was 1970s famous psychic Uri Geller. Whale's friend Bernard Manning would often telephone on his way from gigs. On two occasions, Whale and American talk host Tom Leykis co-hosted shows that ran simultaneously as episodes of both their programmes.

In May 2008, Whale was sacked because he twice called on listeners to vote for Boris Johnson before the London mayoral election in 2008.[3] Ofcom fined Talksport £20,000, saying he had "seriously breached the due impartiality rules at the time of an election".

LBC (2008–13)[edit]

On 7 May 2008 Whale said he would join Bid TV.[4] He continues to broadcast on JamesWhaleRadio.co.uk. On 20 May 2008, Whale began a four-hour weekly evening phone-in on Internet radio station Play Radio UK.[5] However, on 2 September 2008 Whale said on air he was leaving Play Radio for book promotion and TV work. He said he would continue his blog.

After standing in for Clive Bull on LBC 97.3 for six days in August 2008, Whale covered for Nick Abbot for two weeks from 29 September 2008 on LBC.

Whale presented the drivetime show on LBC 97.3 between 4.00pm and 7.00pm every weekday. In March 2013, it was announced that existing LBC 97.3 presenter Iain Dale would replace him in this time slot as Whale's contract was not renewed.[6]

Recent projects[edit]

Since leaving LBC 97.3 he has presented shows at BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Three Counties Radio, BBC WM, occasionally BBC Radio Kent and a new online format of his hit 1989 TV show, Whales Weekly. He has recently been interviewed on the Dead Air Podcast giving details of his plans for future shows and projects. He also appears every Thursday on Sky News Sunrise reviewing the papers and he currently discusses the week's news on the One to One Press Review on Voice of Russia–English.

He also hosted the first season of the TV show - The Book Show, along with producer and co-host Paul Andrews. It was broadcast on the SKY satellite channel Information.TV from 2013-2014.

On 28 July 2016, Whale entered the Celebrity Big Brother house to compete as a housemate in its eighteenth series. He was the sixth to be evicted - coming ninth overall.

The New James Whale Radio Show[edit]

In September 2013 Whale brought back The James Whale Radio Show, teaming up with Rob Oldfield from Dead Air Podcast to produce his new weekly show. The show is a revamp of his old show from the '90s with topical news, guests and the promotion of new music.

BBC Essex[edit]

On 13 December 2013, Whale announced that he would be the new permanent presenter of the BBC Essex breakfast programme. He presented his last show on the station on 23 September 2016.[7]

BBC Kent[edit]

Whale is currently hosting "Something for the weekend" on BBC Radio Kent Saturday mornings from 10am until 2pm. The show is character driven, and heavily features the production staff. The producer plays a character called "EDNA" a robot who knows everything, and is assisted by a tardy Engineer called Zac Daunt-Jones, who "knows nothing". Zac is often late, and usually doesn't appear until the second hour. Zac regularly mentions on-air that he has been married five times.

talkRADIO (2016–present)[edit]

Whale began covering shows on talkRADIO in October 2016 and he started presenting the Monday to Thursday evening show between 19:00 and 22:00 on 7 November 2016. This show reunited Whale with former producer Ash. [8]

Charitable work[edit]

In 2000, Whale was diagnosed with kidney cancer and said on air why he would be leaving. He survived, and says it affected his outlook on life. Whale founded the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer in 2006 to fund research and raise awareness of the disease. Through the James Whale Network sufferers or carers can contact and speak to other survivors of kidney cancer.

Whale has often spoken of his dyslexia[9] and is a patron of the National Literacy Association.[10]


Whale participated in a live Newsnight programme on 26 April 2007 on BBC Two, broadcast simultaneously on talkSPORT, in which he referred to two-week refuse pickup throughout the UK and the 'scandal' of global warming. Whale should have had a live link to the Newsnight studio, but due to a technical failure this was not possible. Whale announced he believed global warming was solely a natural phenomenon. He described recycling as a 'joke' and believed prisoners should sort rubbish and recyclable waste. When asked if Green councillors were a good idea, Whale replied "I don't think Green anything's a good idea!" Whale also often criticises politicians for jumping on the Green bandwagon, in particular Conservative Party leader David Cameron for his 'vote blue, go green' slogan, saying Cameron is 'not fit to govern'. Whale has often stated his admiration for Margaret Thatcher but says he will no longer vote Conservative as long as David Cameron is the party's leader.

2008 London Mayoral Election[edit]

After United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage appeared on his TalkSport show, Whale said that he was going to run for election as UKIP candidate in the 2008 London Mayoral Election, although he did not.

Personal life[edit]

Whale has been married to Melinda Whale (née Maxted) since 1970, and has two children, James and Peter,[11] and owns two dogs.



  1. ^ Almost a Celebrity: A Lifetime of Night-Time Author: James Whale. Retrieved: 10 November 2011.
  2. ^ Plunkett, John. "James Whale back on the radio as drivetime host of LBC 97.3", The Guardian, 2008-09-09. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
  3. ^ "BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Radio host James Whale is sacked". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Sacked DJ Whale becomes TV host". BBC News. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008. 
  5. ^ Plunkett, John (12 May 2008). "Whale to host web radio talkshow". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  6. ^ (22:00-00:00) (2011-11-09). "Whale takes over LBC Drivetime show". LBC. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Tweet". Twitter. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Martin, Roy. "James Whale to host evenings on talkRADIO". Radio Today. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  9. ^ DFS 110
  10. ^ National Literacy Association - Our Patrons
  11. ^ "Bio at the James Whale Fund site". Archived from the original on 26 November 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 

External links[edit]