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Andy Kershaw

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Related article: Andy Kershaw: Show And Session List

Andy Kershaw
Andy Kershaw (1959- ) is a broadcaster on BBC Radios 1 and 3 from Rochdale in Lancashire. He is the brother of Liz Kershaw who has an illustrious radio career. She was also in a band called Dawn Chorus And The Blue Tits with Carol Vorderman. They did one session for Peel, apparently after Carol had had a relationship with Andy and musical differences with Liz.

His interest in music encompasses folk in all its forms, and this has led him to advocate world music in particular on his shows, which began on Radio 1 although he actually started his BBC career presenting the Old Grey Whistle Test. For a while he acted as Billy Bragg's chauffeur after becoming Entertainment Officer at Leeds University and booking the Clash and a return visit of the Who.

Links To Peel

Andy remembered attending a JP roadshow at Leeds University, although John's first memory was of being invited to stay at AK's flat and being greeted at 1 a.m. with twenty assorted musicians. [1] Originally, his shows were broadcast from Manchester from 06 July to 27 September 1985, when the show moved to London (replacing Tommy Vance's unsuccessful Into The Music) and Kershaw became a colleague of Peel's (even sharing the same office in Broadcasting House, Egton 318), with John constantly referring to him (affectionately) as either "brother Kershaw" or "the boy Kershaw" (the latter referring to their twenty-year age difference). Kershaw still speaks fondly of Peel and Walters and likens himself to Tigger, Walters to Pooh and Peel as a rather grumpy and disconsolate Eeyore. Both Ken Garner and Sheila suggest that the BBC may have been looking on him as a replacement for John, but their overlapping interests led them to become close friends and their shows usually followed one another in the Radio 1 schedules. Andy was like a breath of fresh air - they had a "simultaeously epiphanic experience" on hearing the Bhundu Boys for the first time.

A Life In Radio09:54

A Life In Radio

Kershaw talking about working with John Peel and John Walters

John referred to him as "a great but combative broadcaster," [2] as Kershaw would stoutly resist changes to his programmes within the BBC (John also recalled having to break up a fight between AK and Simon Bates at a Christmas party). However, the sense of narrative in Peel's programmes was missing from Kershaw's: John interwove his family life and history with the music, whereas Andy's shows concentrated on the tracks themselves, with two or three continually segued together and uninterrupted by his comments: he didn't reveal much about himself. The show handovers eventually disintegrated into send-ups of 'matey DJ chat.' The pair shopped for African music at Stern's in Whitfield Street and went together on annual trips to the TT Races in the Isle Of Man until Sheila's near-fatal brain haemorrhage in 1996.

Another common feature was the presence of specially commissioned sessions: these have seen limited releases, and, while lacking the kudos of Peel's, encompass a wide variety of artists from many different countries, mainly African. However, it could be said that he scooped Peel in being the first to broadcast, among others, the Wedding Present in session, and admitting a number of artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits that John disliked. One session by Papa Wemba was broadcast on both shows in 1992. He championed the Bhundu Boys and became a close personal friend to the band. He was also constantly finding new world sounds for Peel, who would often thank him for sending him, for example, the latest release from Mongolian throat singers. He also played a great deal of country, blues and American folk. After he lost his Radio 1 slot in 2000, the following year saw him on Radio 3, which he came to regard as his spiritual home, becoming associated with Womad. He presented a tribute show shortly after John's death, and disappeared from the airwaves for some time following a traumatic and convoluted personal life and nervous breakdown, but reappeared in 2011 with a series of world music documentaries with Lucy Duran, Music Planet, again on Radio 3.

Like Peel, he has pursued a second career as a writer, contributing journalistic pieces to the Independent (notably an article in which he blamed the Radio 1 management for causing Peel's death by "marginalising" him) and producing an autobiography, No Off Switch, in 2011. An enthusiastic world traveller, often attracted to dangerous or unlikely destinations, he has also contributed to current affairs programmes, most memorably with an eye-witness report on the Rwandan genocide in 1994. He was a vocal and active campaigner against landmines.He also travelled to North Korea, Angola, Mali, Zimbabwe and numerous states. More recently he has done occasional spoken word programmes for Radio 4.

See Also

External Links

Footnotes
  1. The Independent, 1995-02-12, retrieved 2012-10-27.
  2. Margrave Of The Marshes, p.88 (Corgi).

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