Sounds of the 60s: Brian Matthew 'saddened' to leave show after 27 years

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Brian MatthewImage source, PA
Image caption,
Brian Matthew said he was "saddened" to play his last track as host of the legendary Radio 2 show

Veteran BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Brian Matthew has hosted his final edition of Sounds of the 60s, choosing a song from Billy Fury to end on.

The presenter said he had "enjoyed every minute of my 27 years in the chair" as he played the 1962 track, Last Night Was Made For Love.

It comes a month after the BBC said the 88-year-old host was retiring from the show because of ill health.

Matthew said he was "saddened" to leave but would return to Radio 2 soon.

As the last track played out on a show that compiled his favourite moments from the past 27 years, Matthew said: "I'll be back on Radio 2 in the near future with something new, so keep your eyes open for further information."

Image caption,
Dermot O'Leary will present a new-look Radio 2 show at 08:00 to 10:00 on Saturday mornings

In January, Matthew had described the decision to take him off the show as "horrible", having been with the station since 1954. Sounds of the 60s began in 1990.

The BBC said it was the "right time for him to step off the weekly treadmill" of presenting the show, as he had spent several months off air recuperating.

But in January, Matthew told the Daily Telegraph: "I was ready and willing and able to go back, and they've just said they are going to put the programme in the hands of other people."

From 4 March, Tony Blackburn will present the two-hour programme at an earlier time of 06:00, a move which Blackburn said was an "absolute honour".

Image caption,
Tony Blackburn takes the reins at Sounds of the 60s from 4 March

Blackburn said: "To take over this show, 50 years after joining the BBC, is a real privilege and I can't wait to get started."

Sounds of the 60s' previous 08:00 slot will be replaced by Dermot O'Leary's show, with music entertainment and a Pause for Thought segment.

O'Leary said it was a "huge honour" to follow in Matthew's footsteps. "Brian did such an incredible job for so many years," he said.

'Thanks for the memories'

Fellow broadcasters and listeners paid tribute to Matthew's work on the programme.

BBC Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris said: "For more than 50 years from bantering with The Beatles to Sounds of the 60s, Brian Matthew has been my Saturday soundtrack. Thanks for the memories."

"What a massive loss to radio this is," said one fan, Sarah Jones. "Exceptional knowledge gone."

Craig Wright said: "Sad that it's Brian Matthew's last [show]. The soundtrack to many a Saturday morning".

Image source, Twitter

BBC Radio 2 said in a tweet that "we'll miss" Matthew, adding that he will present future specials on his "life and times in music".

Lewis Carnie, Radio 2's head of programming, said Matthew was an "outstanding presenter and, at 88, a radio legend."

He added: "He has made the programme his own with his natural ability, passion and warmth and we are incredibly grateful."

Image caption,
Brian Matthew, pictured in 1984

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