Tommy Boyd is someone who I remember watching on the TV, but by the mid-90s he had left the screen and got into radio. Because I still had a lot of goodwill for him following his time on TV-am and CITV, I thought that I would give him a listen. I was rather surprised to discover that he was someone who was often let go from radio stations for his antics. Tommy hosted a live phone-in on Talk Radio on weekday afternoons, and he seemed to be interested in why people had particular opinions and attitudes, and what the world was all about.
He could be classed as being something of a wind-up merchant, but at least he was a good one. He would begin shows by making a statement like “I think that this should be banned”, and then wait for the response. He would often get callers who said “Tommy, you’re talking rubbish”. The next day, he would state “I think that this should be legalised”, and he’d get a different group of people say “Tommy, you’re talking rubbish”. It was as if they hadn’t actually heard him hold exactly the opposite opinion just a day earlier, and I think that he got a thrill out of doing that, even if this meant that it was difficult to know what his actual views on anything in the news were.
He would often end up saying to inarticulate callers “you have poor communication skills!”, and this came alarmingly close to being a catchphrase. He also seemed to attract a rather large share of dotty old ladies who simply wanted to shout at him. He would often end the week with The Wonderful Hour, that was full of touching anecdotes, and was rather a contrast to the usual debate.
After this, Tommy was briefly on LBC, often presenting alongside Anne Diamond, which brought back more memories of TV-am. By the early-2000s, Tommy returned to the newly-named TalkSport, now on weekend evenings. Features included a football questions competition. And he also dedicated an hour to younger listeners, and discovered that most of them wanted to talk about wrestling (I must admit that I did occasionally watch WWF on Sky One at the weekend so I knew a little about this myself).
This was then turned into a full hour, featuring fans and pundits offering their views on what was happening on the wrestling scene (and occasionally having an argument with Tommy and pretending to throw him through a table). This resulted in Tommy putting on a big live event featuring lots of famous wrestlers grappling it out including Eddie Guerrero. Yes, the Eddie Guerrero!
And there was The Human Zoo, which put callers straight to air. Most of them seemed to be bored teenagers who had put together comedy sketches or songs, and rather a lot of them seemed to admire Tommy’s colleague Mike “I’ve had a gutful” Dickin. He also often bickered with his producer. Being in my teens at the time as well, I did enjoy this. Most of the calls were rather weird, but after having managed to put up with Timmy Mallett for many years, Tommy was ready for anything.
There was also an opening sequence which boasted of Tommy’s career achievements, including meditating within the ancient walls of Machu Pichu, and also being good showbiz friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger, not like you, no. By this point, Tommy had attracted something of a cult following, although this only really meant that there was a website dedicated to his work, and about 50 men thought that he was brilliant.
Then he left again, and even briefly turned up on the BBC Local Radio circuit, before he ended up on increasingly small-time internet radio stations, talking to almost nobody at all, which was rather disappointing for someone of his stature in the business. I do hope that we haven’t heard the last of him yet though, and he can continue to share his hard-earned wisdom for a long time to come.