How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 94.


Of all the people who have followed what I’ve done on the radio over the years, none of them has ever taken it as far as Nigel.

When you’re on the radio every day, you get a fair few people who become fans of what you do. Some of them go to great lengths to get closer to the show. They may become regular callers or show up at outside broadcasts and roadshows. Nigel did all of that and much more.

I first became aware of Nigel In 1997. I was presenting the Breakfast Show on 2CRFM in Dorset. A listener called in and told me there was a photo developing place in Boscombe that had become what he described as a “shrine” to the radio show.

I checked it out one day and sure enough the window of the place was plastered with pictures of me and the team. Nigel was a photographer, he had been going to every event we’d hosted and had taken pictures of us at these events.

Back then my side-kick, Richie Firth used to be dressed as a chicken. He would be out most mornings doing odd things on the air like finding out if a man dressed as a chicken could buy a luxury car, abseil down a water tower or interview a senior politician.

Nigel used to find out where Richie was going to be, get there before him, take photos all morning and have them up in the shop window before lunch time. This was way before everyone had access to high-speed internet. It was a great way for people to see what we’d been up to but we did wonder if Nigel’s behaviour was bordering on the obsessive.

Nigel would also bring gifts to the radio station. If I said on the air that I was drinking diet Coke, there’d be a six pack waiting for me in reception. He’d put birthday cards through my front door at home and leave beer or bottles of whiskey.

Once, when the Crunchie Wing Walkers were at Bournemouth airport, Richie was invited to be strapped to the top of a bi-plane. Our engineer rigged up a transmitter so Richie (who was scared of heights) could broadcast as he flew over the area.

We did the whole thing live and it sounded great on the air. I was in the studio talking to Richie who was freaking out most of the time. I remember most of the broadcast consisting of Richie screaming and me telling him to stop being such a baby. At one point I was able to put listener phone calls through to him. During one phone call a lady in her back garden was waving at him asking for him to wave back but he couldn’t because he was frozen with fear.

Then Richie said, “You’ll never guess who’s up here with me Graham!”, “Up there with you?” I said, then I couldn’t believe what I heard next, “Nigel”.

Nigel had hired a plane and was tailing the bi-plane, taking what turned out to be some amazing pictures for his shop window.

Craic on!

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If you enjoyed this Craic, please click “like”. If you’d like to talk to me about it, call me on +44 1438 422106 between 6 and 9 weekday mornings (UK time) on BOBfm.


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