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Bill Buckley (radio presenter)

Bill Buckley (William Anthony Buckley, born 8 January 1959 in Birmingham, United Kingdom) is a former That's Life! co-presenter and occasional television personality, who is currently an over-night presenter on London talk radio station LBC 97.3.

Career

Bill’s broadcasting break came in 1982. While working as a newspaper reporter in his native West Midlands, he was chosen from thousands of hopefuls to present the celebrated consumer programme, That's Life!, on BBC1 with Esther Rantzen. His mother had entered him for the job without his knowing.

After three years, he left to become a reporter for the BBC’s Holiday Programme, and spent the next six years traveling the world. Other TV appearances include Call My Bluff, Blankety Blank, All Star Secrets, Songs of Praise, Children in Need (which he has since claimed on his LBC show that he loathed doing, being contractually obliged), and a huge variety of regional work in the south for Meridian Television on subjects as diverse as consumer affairs, politics and amateur film-making.

From 1989, he has also presented daily radio shows for numerous commercial and BBC stations in the South, London and Manchester.

Bill’s acting experience includes playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at Leatherhead, and an appearance in The Professionals (TV series). He also toured in the black comedy Widow’s Weeds, and starred in numerous pantomimes. In The Christmas before last, for example, he played King in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal, Brighton with 60s icon Twiggy and Peak Practice’s Simon Shepherd.

Bill was senior continuity announcer for Channel 5 Television from its launch for five-and-a-half years. His irreverent style proved influential throughout the industry. He is particularly well remembered by many for his wonderfully camp commentary over the closing credits of the channel's late-night/early-morning run of Prisoner: Cell Block H.

Bill has also written a hit song. He provided both the words and music for Su Pollard’s number two hit single, Starting Together. Bill regularly reviews the national Press on “BBC Breakfast”, the BBC News Channel and Sky News.

LBC Radio Show

Bill’s voice should be particularly familiar to LBC 97.3’s listeners because he has filled in for many of the station’s presenters for several years now. After being a staple of the weekend night-time slot since 2006 (also often covering weeknights when relevant presenter was away), from 24 May 2007 the show shifted every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings from 1.00 until 5.00am, replacing the outgoing Adrian Allen. Anthony Davis has since taken over his old slot of Saturday to Monday mornings. Other than the different days, the show format remained the same. Until 2008, on Tuesday mornings from 2.00am Bill was joined by Alan Capper, LBC's correspondent in New York to discuss all things American. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 1.00am and 2.00am was the Rolling Quiz (sponsored by AQA); where listeners correctly answer a question, and then set the next one. Although due to its popularity the quiz moved to every morning between 3.00am and 4.00am, in late 2007, and the AQA sponsorship has subsequently been dropped. Bill loves his food, and began presenting LBC's Sunday Afternoon Food and Drink programme from 20 January 2008, replacing Jeni Barnett who moved to weekday afternoons. Recipes by both Bill and his listeners can often be found on his programme's daily blog page.

Bill's presenting style is genial, relaxed and camp. Unlike many other presenters, who prefer to keep the majority of their personal lives separate from their shows, Bill often shares what has been happening in his personal life (or at very least selected highlights of it), and typically opens his show with a lengthy monologue update of what he has been up to. One particular saga that listeners followed with him through 2006, was his meeting of an American man identified as Harry or H McC, and Bill's whirlwind romance with him (Bill is openly gay), including a much anticipated trip to the States to visit him, and H McC eventually calling the relationship off. More recently, he has shared with listeners how he has become friendly with the owner of the local dry cleaners that he visits, and his dilemma of how to approach the man on asking him out for a drink. Although not a football fan (or any sports, for that matter), Bill's dream man is Thierry Henry, which he frequently reminds us during the course of his programmes.

Bill is notable for enjoying 'singalongs' with listeners who call in, claiming a broad knowledge of contemporary and classical music. Indeed, the show was for a while introduced by the Shep Pettibone's remix of Level 42's hit single, "Something About You". The track was chosen in a vote by listeners a few weeks after he first landed his regular weekend slot in 2006, and was used until the introduction of LBCs new jingle package in 2008. Bill's show often delves nostalgically into the recent past - for example, reminding listeners of confectionery and beverages of old; indeed, cooking is a common and well-liked theme of his show. He is well-known for his pernickety use of correct grammar and will often jump onto any mistake a caller makes. Regular features of his programme include 'caption contests': competitions to come up with the best headline for an interesting newspaper story. There are also joke competitions, including 'Knock, Knock', 'Doctor, Doctor', 'A man walks into a pub...' and 'What do you call a...'; and finally poetry and other word-based competitions, including limericks, acrostics, clerihews, haikus, recent addition "Definitials" (one word-per-line acrostics, with the title "borrowed" from a similar Radio Times competition), occasionally palindromes, and a number of other word-play games ("Cockney Rhyming Slang for 2007", and "Celebrity Gravestones", being just two such examples).

As well as being sometimes nicknamed "Ten Pantos" by regular contributors to his show (see 'Pantomime' section), Bill has also more recently been occasionally nicknamed "Marmite" by some listeners, in response to how people either love or loathe him and his many word-based competitions, just as people love or loathe Marmite.

Bill leaves his mobile phone on, primarily to use the predictive text function to decrypt some contributors wrongly worded texts. The phone also gives off a loud cockerel sound when a text is received, giving Bill scope for many innuendos, with the catchphrase "Ooh, pardon my cock!".

In mid 2007, after Bill had taken over the weeknight slot, it became a running joke for people to phone in during the straight-to-air last half hour of the preceding Clive Bull show impersonating Bill. This continued until Bull's straight-to-air segment was dropped in a shakeup by new management in Autumn 2007.

Gynecomastia

Bill has publically admitted to having suffered from gynecomastia and that he had his enlarged breasts surgically removed. Bill said that they were easy to control when they were A cups but they just kept growing to 40' D cups. From his teenage years he had to be bound up like a mummy in order to pose a manly posture, however this became very difficult as he became top heavy. "Winter months were particularly difficult as the nipples would pop through" said a now relieved Bill.

Varicose Veins

A bad dream one night brought another imperfection to Bill's attention "In the dream I was lying on the beach and everyone was pointing at my legs" said Bill. In The morning Bill checked his legs and found he had varicose veins. "It must have been my body's way of telling me my legs were not quite perfect" said Bill. So after recovery from the operation Bill is so looking forward to the time he can show off his legs by waxing them and wearing a tiny pair of shorts. "If rough builders want to wolf whistle me I will not mind at all" said Bill.

Haemorrhoid

One of Bill's greatest fears was that if/when he got his OBE, he would not be able to bow to the Queen properly because he had developed Piles.However while casually discussing his ailments with Agony Aunt (and staunch republican) Claire Rayner OBE, she reassured him that he would not have to collect it, as she got her OBE in a Jiffy Bag through the post.

Cookery

In September 2005, Bill was seen for a whole week on Channel 4, competing in the reality cookery and entertainment show, Come Dine With Me. Bill had originally applied for the second series of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, but his details were passed onto the production team behind Come Dine With Me - and Bill found himself a participant in this programme. Bill was characteristically amiable and mild-mannered on Come Dine With Me, in contrast to some rather irascible fellow contestants. Most of all, though, it was his cookery which led him to victory - something he has acknowledged with typical modesty.Thanks to Channel 4's new channels Bill's contribution is repeated often, gaining new fans along the way.

Bill has previously cooked on the Carlton Food Network and live on Channel 5 on Open House with Gloria Hunniford. He has also appeared as a judge on ITV1's Britain's Best Dish and UKTV Food's The People's Cookbook with Antony Worrall Thompson and Paul Rankin. Bill will be appearing again on Britain's Best Dish, this time as a food critic, in September 2008. He has been cookery editor of a magazine and last year was elected to the prestigious Guild of Food Writers. Bill is a near-professional chef, and says that the one thing he would salvage in a fire would be his treasured 'recipe scrapbook'. Bill is also a restaurant reviewer for viewlondon.co.uk.

Ann Maurice's Interior Rivalry

In early 2007, Bill took part in Five's house makeover contest Ann Maurice's Interior Rivalry, after competing in a previous series. The twelve contestants were split into teams of four, and each team's first task was to make over a living room. However, Bill became very unhappy with the working conditions (which included killing cockroaches), and particularly with the over-night living and sleeping conditions. When asked by Ann at the end of the task which member of his team he felt could have given more, Bill deflatedly named himself. He was one of the contestants dropped from the next round. After returning to his LBC show after filming, Bill admitted to his listeners that he was very unhappy about the whole experience, and vowed to not mention the programme so nobody would see it. However, a few days before the programme was broadcast, on Thursday 23rd March, at 8pm on Five, one of Bill's regular callers alerted him on air that it was about to be shown. Bill claimed to be very embarrassed and nervous about the whole thing. He comforted himself with the comment from a cameraman, who after Bill was dropped from the programme, commented "Don't worry, it's only on Channel 5, no-one will see it anyway!!" Ironically, a few years previously, Bill had been the senior continuity announcer at the station. No mention of this was given in the programme.

Pantomime

Nicknamed 'Ten Pantos' by LBC fans, Bill has appeared in a number of shows. Panto has allowed him to shine both as an actor and vocalist. Bill's love of performing in panto is clear from a diary entry during his stint in Cinderella at the Hawth, Crawley, in December 2004:

"Time flies when you're being frozen by fairy magic, yanking false legs from scheming ugly sisters and waltzing at royal balls in a powdered wig."

Trivia

  • Bill's musical prowess was already well developed when at school. He was a pupil at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School For Boys in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham. The school has a church organ in its main assembly hall, and Bill used to play the organ to accompany the morning singing of hymns.
  • Bill appeared as an "extra" in Central Independent Television's long running soap Crossroads. His only spoken words - all two of them - "Yeah, sure" - were to 'Kevin Brownlow'. In 1981 when the protagonist character 'Meg Richardson' was axed, Bill released a record called 'Meg Is Magic' in support of her. Bill has since claimed that he was coaxed into performing the record to try and drum up publicity; the record flopped and went unnoticed; the record production company subsequently went out of business.
  • Although not known to each other, Bill also shares a path of destiny with Carol Vorderman. In the Spring/early Summer of 1982, both Carol's mother and Bill's mother had noted Press advertisements for presenters new to television. Without hesitation both mothers sent in applications on their behalf. Carol and Bill were unaware of this until they had been chosen from thousands of hopefuls, Bill to present That's Life, Carol to show off her maths genius on Countdown.
  • One of Bill's biggest fears is pigeons. He claims that he can't stand them when they flap up around him. He has recently undergone therapy for this fear. Its early days but Bill has said on his radio show that the therapy is starting to work.
  • Former fellow presenter Iain Lee had a running gag of claiming to his listeners that Bill Buckley was the only black presenter on LBC. (This was not true, Bill Buckley is white.)
  • Bill claims to be extremely intelligent and a member of the high-IQ society MENSA, whose entry test he claimed to be easy.

External links

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