Radio Memories – Clive Bull.

Here’s how I discovered this radio presenter. I hadn’t listened to the radio much before the mid-90s. But one night in 1996, I was going through the dial on MW to determine if there was anything that I might be interested in. I came across someone playing a game. Now I knew all about game shows on the TV, but game shows on the radio?!

This was called Round The Clock, and the presenter was someone called Clive Bull, who it turned out had already been popular for many years. I liked this because callers took part, and then a dice sound effect was played, with a counter being moved on to a square on a board which featured all of the presenters on the schedule (which at this time included the likes of Paul Coia and Fred Housego). vlcsnap-00807

They had all been asked a question, the callers had to determine what their answer would be, and clips of them saying “yes” and “no” would be played to the callers, which must’ve been rather difficult to put together, but it worked. On other days of the week, there would be other games played. These included Memory Bank, where a number would be nominated, a clip was played, and then the question was asked.

I remember the question that went on for a very long time, that featured a song with someone yodelling who had to be guessed. The amount of people who said “is it Frank Ifield?”. If it wasn’t him the first time, why would it be him the 50th! And there was also The Circle Line, featuring the dice again, where a counter would go around the Underground line, with the stations announced by an echoey voice, and questions asked.

This was all very good, and I soon made this my “about to go to bed” station of choice, and at this point Clive usually was in the 9pm-1am slot. This was on a station that would eventually turn into LBC (the history of LBC is rather complicated, but this wasn’t LBC at the time, even though it was). There was also the phone-in element.

Clive would take calls from a rather regular group of people, most of them were rather old, and some of them were dare I say it, a little eccentric. Clive sometimes liked to take clips of their comments and play them at random moments (“drop them food parcels!”). Clive didn’t know what to say if someone made a particularly odd or daft comment, so he would get rid of them and play colleague Douglas Cameron saying “thank you ever so much for the most interesting call!”.

Looking back now, I realise that most of the callers at that time when I was still in my early-teens were probably born around 1915. I probably should’ve spent more time listening to Kiss like everyone else my age… Other features included when the producer Bob had to go off for a tea break, so Clive would put callers straight to air (I have noticed that Nick Abbot and Tommy Boyd, the other radio phone-in presenters that I reviewed recently also did this, which is an odd coincidence). Be sure to make some valid points!

And there was Chris who was The Midnight Weatherman, who gave us a late update. Chris and Bob would often play Turning The Tables, where the listeners sent in questions for them to play, when it was usually the other way round, and Bob often won easily. Also contributing was TV critic Marcus Berkmann, who was fond of game shows (and has written a book about the subject), and he also once appeared on Fifteen-To-One, where had had a mini meltdown, and got knocked out on the final question.

About a decade ago, Clive took a long break from LBC, and it had even been announced that he had retired. But he did return, and he is currently in a weekend late slot. It’s good that he’s still around, but things have changed, there are no more games, no more features, and more more quirky callers, it’s now just a straightforward news phone-in like the rest of the station.

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