Pop legend opens new radio station

POP legend Sir Cliff Richard delighted shoppers in a quiet seaside town by turning up in a red double decker bus to open a new radio station.The star, who has been in the music business for 47 years, was in Frinton on Saturday to perform the opening ceremony at revived pirate radio station, Radio London.

By Juliette Maxam

POP legend Sir Cliff Richard delighted shoppers in a quiet seaside town by turning up in a red double decker bus to open a new radio station.

The star, who has been in the music business for 47 years, was in Frinton on Saturday to perform the opening ceremony at revived pirate radio station, Radio London.

Station manager Roy Anderson invited Sir Cliff to do the honours because his single, I Could Easily Fall in Love with You, was the first record to be played on Radio London in 1964 when it was broadcasting from an old minesweeper off the coast of Frinton.


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Four decades later Sir Cliff was promoting his latest single, What Car, which was played by veteran DJ Mike Read, who also interviewed the Peter Pan-like pop star.

Sir Cliff was greeted by a crowd of about 200 people and was happy to sign autographs and have his picture taken with fans as he hopped on and off the bus, parked in Connaught Avenue.

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"It takes me back to the days of Summer Holiday. It's great to see so many people in little Frinton. I didn't know I had so many fans here," he said.

Sir Cliff recalled the start of his career in 1958, just down the road from Frinton, at the former Butlin's camp, in Clacton, where he was a singer, but not a red coat.

The celebrations were supposed to include a trip on board the old radio ship, the LV18 in Harwich harbour, but it was cancelled due to windy weather - much to the relief of Sir Cliff. "I'm not that good a sailor," he said.

"I never went on board the pirate ships. I listened to them. They were good for broadcasting. I hope this goes well."

Young twin pop stars The Cheeky Girls, added a glamorous edge to the launch. They have recorded a cover version of the 1960s song We Love the Pirate Stations to celebrate Radio London's comeback.

This time around Radio London is totally legal. It has a permanent licence to broadcast from a studio above the Woolwich building society, in Connaught Avenue. During the day it can only be received in East Anglia and the South East, but at night it can be heard all over Europe.

As a pirate station Radio London, or "Big L" as it was known, was the first to play many records which went on to be hits, including the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Many of its DJs launched Radio 1 when the Government outlawed pirate radio in 1967. Now, Mr Anderson said Big L will be competition for Radio 2.

"We're going to be broadcasting seven days a week, trying to do live programming, with some good DJs," said Mr Anderson.

"It's going to be interesting to see if over the next few months we can try and build a very large audience to rival Radio 2."

Regular shows will include psychic Susie Quinnell, who will feature on Trevor John's show from 10pm to midday on Saturdays and Sundays. She will offer readings over the air and a "psychic detective" slot.

As well as Mike Read, who has been voted National Broadcaster of the Year 10 times, DJs include Mike Ahern, formerly of Radio Caroline, Radio 1 and numerous Australian stations, and another ex-pirate Randell Lee Rose, who has also appeared on Virgin and Radio 2.

The station can be heard on MW frequency 1395kHz, Sky channel 940 and www.bigl.co.uk

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