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Desmond Carrington signs off from BBC Radio 2 show

Desmond Carrington

Broadcasting legend Desmond Carrington has ended his final The Music Goes Round show with his trademark sign-off “bye just now”.

Carrington had presented the BBC Radio 2 show since 1981 during a broadcasting career that spanned more than 70 years.

Carrington, broadcasting as usual from his Perthshire home, thanked his loyal Friday evening listeners at the end.

The 90-year-old revealed his plans to retire last month for health reasons after a second heart failure.

It was also revealed that he had suffered from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in recent years.

He opened his last show with The Johnny Mann Singers’ Up Up And Away, the same song that started the first one on October 4, 1981.

At that time, the show was titled All Time Greats and was broadcast on Sundays.

Eclectic mix

Carrington started every show with the jolly greeting “Evening all, from home in Perthshire”, invariably worked in a mention for what his cat Golden Paws Sam was doing that evening, and always signed off by saying “bye just now, from Desmond Carrington”.

Every week, listeners would be guided through an eclectic mix of music from several different eras, usually based around a single theme.

For many years the show was pre-recorded but it went live in 1997 on the evening of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, when Carrington contacted the Radio 2 controller, because he was concerned that the theme he had chosen that evening would not be appropriate.

The show went live that evening and has done ever since, including once when Carrington had undergone heart surgery just two days earlier.

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Producer Dave Aylott (left) was often mentioned by Carrington in his shows

In his final show, he played the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s version of Impossible Dream, and afterwards urged all of his listeners to “dream the impossible dream”.

“A sentiment I thoroughly endorse even if it is impossible,” he said.

He closed the show with Mel Torme’s That’s All, and said “the whole thing would have been quite pointless” without the listeners.

He pointed out that he had now been “rabbiting away on the wireless for 70 years” and “there comes a time to hang up the headphones and for me this is it”.

‘Great charm’

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.

During the 1950s and 1960s he had some success as a film and TV actor, and played Dr Chris Anderson in Emergency-Ward 10 for six years – but was also widely recognised as the face of adverts for Daz washing powder.

In 1967, he appeared in the children’s film Calamity the Cow, which was notable as it also featured an appearance by aspiring young actor Phil Collins, who later decided that his future also lay in music.

Carrington also compered one episode of Come Dancing, the 1970s predecessor of Strictly Come Dancing.

BBC director general Tony Hall paid tribute on Carrington’s retirement, saying: “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.

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PA

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Replacing the show on Friday evenings will be a new programme with Tony Blackburn, who tweeted his “good wishes” to Carrington as his last show ended.

“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.”

Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan added: “I want to thank Desmond for his extraordinary contribution to Radio 2 over four decades. He is a unique broadcaster and has always been a central character in the Radio 2 family. We will miss him, as will his adoring audience.”

Carrington’s Friday evening slot will initially be filled by a series called Sounds of the 50s – which will run until the end of the year.

Then from January, Tony Blackburn – whose return to the station was announced this month – will present a new hour-long show each Friday evening.