John Pidgeon, British broadcaster and writer, Died at 69

  Media, Writer

John Pidgeon was born on March 1, 1947, in Carlisle, Cumberland and died on July 19, 2016.

He was a British journalist, author, music historian, radio producer, comedy executive, and crossword compiler.

He grew up in a village in Buckinghamshire, where he attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, his time there overlapping with Ian Dury and Roger Scruton.

John Pidgeon studied French at the University of Kent and postgraduate Film Studies under Thorold Dickinson at the Slade School, where his writing career began with a review of Carry On Henry for the BFI’s Monthly Film Bulletin.

He wrote an uncredited script for a BBC2 Film Night special on pop movies followed, and in July 1972 he began a weekly film guide for New Musical Express.

During that same time, he was invited to join the team about to launch Let It Rock magazine by Charlie Gillett, who subsequently recommended him as a scriptwriter for BBC Radio 1’s The Story of Pop.

During December 1972, John joined The Faces’ road crew for the band’s UK tour in order to write a roadie’s diary, which appeared in Let It Rock and America’s Creem magazine.

John’s friendship with the band led not only to 1976’s Rod Stewart and the Changing Faces, a book which Paul Gorman has suggested “broke the mould in terms of music books in the 70s,” but to a songwriting partnership with keyboard player Ian McLagan.

And in 2011, a Backpages Classics Kindle edition of Rod Stewart and the Changing Faces was published.

Nearing the end of the decade, Pidgeon was back into radio, making documentaries and special programmes for Capital Radio, whose Head of Music was The Story of Pop’s producer Tim Blackmore.

After the experience of producing and writing sketches for Brunch, Capital’s ground-breaking mix of music and comedy, whose regular performers were Steve Brown, Paul Burnett, Angus Deayton, Jeremy Pascall and Jan Ravens, John broadened his radio output with comedy documentaries and four series of the award-winning Talking Comedy for Radio 2.

During 1999, Pidgeon was approached by the BBC to run Radio Entertainment, which he did for six years, nurturing Dead Ringers, Flight of The Conchords, Little Britain, and The Mighty Boosh during his time in charge.

In 2005, John was appointed a Fellow of the Radio Academy in 2003 and chaired the Perrier Panel in Edinburgh.

Pidgeon’s first original recruits to Radio Entertainment was 23-year-old trainee producer Danny Wallace.

Reportedly in 2008, he was asked who in the media he most admired and why, Wallace answered, “Jonathan Ross for pioneering and quick wit- Terry Wogan for reassurance and warmth- And John Pidgeon, my mentor at the BBC – a finer and more creative man you’re not likely to meet.

John Pidgeon passed away at 69 years old.