Friday 17 January 2020

Bye just for now, says Desmond Carrington at end of 70-year career

BBC director general Lord Tony Hall paid tribute to Desmond Carrington
BBC director general Lord Tony Hall paid tribute to Desmond Carrington

Broadcasting stalwart Desmond Carrington urged listeners to "dream the impossible dream" as he presented his final radio show after a career spanning 70 years.

The 90-year-old, who began his weekly Radio 2 broadcasts in 1981, ended his last programme with a heartfelt nod to listeners, BBC producers and "countless controllers".

Carrington presented The Music Goes Round, which was originally called All Time Greats, for 36 years since it first aired on Sunday October 4 1981.

Opening Friday night's show he played the same song that opened the hour-long programme in 1981 - The Johnny Mann Singers' Up Up And Away.

Following the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version of Impossible Dream, Carrington told listeners to, "dream the impossible dream."

"A sentiment I thoroughly endorse even if it is impossible."

Carrington began his broadcasting career in 1945 with British Forces Broadcasting Station and was first heard on BBC Radio in 1946 as a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company.

The broadcaster revealed his plans to retire last month for health reasons after he suffered a second heart failure on Christmas Day last year. He was operated on within two hours and returned to the show just 10 days later with neither the BBC nor his audience aware of what had happened.

He closed his final show with Mel Torme's That's All, and thanked listeners, who without "the whole thing would have been quite pointless".

The former actor then said he was off to "snuggle" on the sofa with "golden paws" his pet cat, before ending the programme with his trademark sign off "Bye just now from Desmond Carrington" .

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: "Desmond has made a huge contribution to BBC Radio as part of his remarkable 70-year career.

"He is a natural broadcaster who exudes great charm, and his weekly programme brings joy to listeners both at home and around the world.

On behalf of everyone at Radio 2, the BBC and all of his millions of listeners, I'd like to thank him for his incredible service and wish him well."

PA Media

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