20th Century Troubadours BBC Radio 2



It all started with a chance participation in Pop Over Europe in March 1982. Martina von Senger the regular presenter was on maternity leave and she suggested to Tony Wills I should do the presenting job.

The recordings below are off air as we could not find the originals in the BBC archives, therefore the quality is not always as it should be!


- Pop Over Europe March 1982



Over coffee, with Tony Wills we discovered our mutual interest in the French Chanson. Tony was a producer on Radio 2 and was very keen to make programmes on that very subject. 

Our first Troubadour was Gilbert Bécaud. He was nicknamed Mr 100 000 volts on account of his vitality on stage.

This was the pilot we did with Tony Wills as producer, the beginning of a long collaboration and long friendship which has extended to the present days. We are still working together on other projects.


- Gilbert Bécaud


It turned out to be such a success that I was invited to write and present more of the same for broadcast the following year.The signature tune on this series was Moi j'aime le Musichall by Charles Trenet. In this chanson Trenet manages to mention most of France's famous chanteurs, but he forgot some, including Jean-Sablon, who should have been there, but instead Trenet who was jealous of Sablon's success just said "ding deng dong"!!!





The 20th Century Troubadours series continues


- Charles Aznavour


- Juliette Gréco


- Léo Ferré


- Yves Montand


- Jacques Brel


- The requests programme












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