Radio 2 stalwart Desmond Carrington dies at 90

Long-time BBC Radio 2 presenter Desmond Carrington has died aged 90.

Carrington died “peacefully” following a long battle with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, his producer Dave Aylott said.

The broadcaster’s 70-year career began in 1945 after he became a professional actor at 16, although he was best known for his weekly evening show The Music Goes Around, which aired from 1981 until his retirement in October 2016.

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and BBC Music and former Controller of BBC Radio 2, said: “Desmond was a warm, caring and generous man who was much-loved by the Radio 2 audience and all those who had the pleasure of working with him during his illustrious career.

“He was a natural broadcaster and a key part of the BBC Radio family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Head of Radio 2 Lewis Carnie said: “Desmond’s weekly Friday evening programme, The Music Goes Round, was full of musical gems and treasures, and he will be very much missed by his listeners.”

Carrington announced he would be stepping down from hosting his popular show last year due to ill-health.

Desmond Carrington (Foldback Media Ltd/BBC /PA)

He told his listeners: “I wasn’t too well after my 90th birthday and it has been a bit difficult to carry on with the 36 happy years I’ve had making ‘the music go round’, so reluctantly – but I hope sensibly – I’m going to hang up my headphones at the end of October and say ‘enough is enough’.

“Seventy years on the air since 1945 isn’t a bad record, and it is now time to welcome someone younger.”

Following his retirement, Carrington was happy to be able to spend more time with his beloved cat Golden-Paws.

Carrington’s first stint on the radio was in 1946 as a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company, and it was around this time he also began working as an independent producer making programmes for Radio Luxembourg and the BBC.

As well as being a radio host, Carrington appeared in stage shows, TV plays and in several short films, including a short entitled Calamity The Cow alongside a then-teenage Phil Collins before he joined Genesis.

In the 1960s, Carrington enjoyed TV success as Doctor Anderson in medical soap opera Emergency – Ward 10.

His TV fame saw him appear in adverts, in quiz shows and other entertainment programmes, although he often returned to the stage.

It was his Music Goes Round record show – previously known as All Time Greats – that made him a long-lasting hit and a household name, as he entertained his listeners with his extensive collection of music with tracks spanning every genre.

Carrington famously broadcast the show live from his home on August 31 1997 – the day Princess Diana died – because the pre-recorded effort would not have been appropriate for the events that had occurred.

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