Gary Davies

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Gary Davies
Born (1957-12-13) 13 December 1957 (age 63)
Manchester, England
Years active1979–present
Employer BBC
Known forRadio and TV presenter
Television Top of the Pops
Spouse(s)Lisa Tchenguiz (divorced)

Gary Davies (born 13 December 1957) is a British broadcaster. From 1982 to 1993 he was a BBC Radio 1 disc jockey [1] and a regular presenter of Top of the Pops .


As of June 2017, he can be heard on BBC Radio 2 presenting a Friday night show Sounds of the 80s as well as regularly standing in for other presenters including Zoe Ball, Ken Bruce, Sara Cox, OJ Borg and Steve Wright.

Early career

After working in marketing for a mail order company and managing a Manchester disco, Davies began his broadcasting career at Manchester's Piccadilly Radio in 1979 before joining BBC Radio 1 in 1982 to present a Saturday late night show, making his debut on 4 December 1982. Within weeks he was on the roster to present Top of the Pops on BBC television alongside his Radio 1 colleagues.

BBC Radio 1

The Bit in the Middle

In 1984, Davies took over the Radio 1 lunchtime show. He called it The Bit in the Middle which consisted of features, such as 'The Day-To-Day Challenge', in which the same person would go on air each weekday to answer quiz questions and try to upgrade their prize, and 'Willy on the Plonker', which involved crazed piano-playing of a well-known hit for listeners to identify.

On Sunday 6 September 1987 he presented the Sunday afternoon stereo countdown of the Top 40 from 5 pm to 7 pm, filling in for Bruno Brookes.

Davies was promoted by Radio 1 with the catchphrase "Young, Free and Single" and a jingle "Wooh! Gary Davies". [2]

Davies' own show rarely changed until it was rebranded in 1991 as Let's Do Lunch, with new features, including 'Spin & Win' (a variation on 'Willy on the Plonker', with a cryptic clue replacing the frenetic piano work) and the 'Classic Track', which was the one time of the week Radio 1 played a piece of classical music.[ citation needed ] Previous feature The Sloppy Bit (a dedication followed by love song) was unchanged but renamed 'Lots of Love'. He also introduced 'The Non Stop Half Hour' from after the 2.30 pm news until 3 pm, which was half an hour of non-stop music.

With updated technology, the chart rundown was moved forward to Sundays from 4 October 1987. Instead, Davies did countdowns of the US chart and the UK album chart – although the US chart he featured was not the official Billboard one, but an airplay-only chart compiled by Radio and Records magazine.


In 1992, Davies quit the lunchtime show and moved to weekend breakfast, keeping a selection of the features. He also started a Sunday late night slot. The 'Lots of Love' feature moved to this show, with dedications being read out over the music to Dances with Wolves . During this period, he could also be heard deputising for weekday presenters who were taking their holidays, usually Steve Wright or Nicky Campbell.

Leaving Radio 1

In 1993 Davies was dismissed. His last record was Layla by Derek and the Dominoes — which had also been his first record on the station 11 years earlier.[ citation needed ]

Davies was the last Radio 1 DJ to host Top of the Pops before the show's "year zero" revamp in October 1991.

Virgin Radio

In January 1994, Davies moved to Virgin Radio, presenting their Sunday morning Classic Tracks slot from 10 am to 2 pm. The show later went out from 9 am to 1 pm and he remained there until early 1995.

After a brief sabbatical, Davies then rejoined Virgin Radio in December 1995, taking over the Sunday late night show from 10 pm to 2 am. This gave him the chance to revive his Sunday night format. In 1997, Davies moved to an earlier slot on Sundays from 6-10pm, before moving on to present the weekday late night slot in January 1999, where he remained until December 2000.

Century Radio

Davies was heard on the Real Radio and the Century Network, presenting a CD chart show every Sunday originally from 1 to 4 pm but from 2006 the show went out from 4 pm to 7 pm. However, this finished in mid-2008. Currently[ when? ] he owns a publishing company called Good Groove, where he also manages new artists. Good Groove's first publishing hit was "Black Coffee" by All Saints and Davies later went on to sign singer Corinne Bailey Rae. [3]

BBC Radio 2

On 9 June 2017, Davies stood in for Sara Cox to present a special 2¾ hour edition of Sounds of the 80s on BBC Radio 2. This was his first time back on BBC Radio for 23 years. [4] [5] In October 2017, January & October 2018, and October/November 2020, Davies sat in for Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 show. [6]

On 18 May 2018, as part of a re-organisation of the Radio 2 DJ roster, following changes to the station's evening line-up, Davies took over from Sara Cox as the host of Radio 2's Sounds of the 80s. [7] He also provides holiday cover for fellow Radio 2 presenters including Zoe Ball, Ken Bruce, Sara Cox, OJ Borg and Steve Wright.

on 21st & 28th August, Gary sits in for Paul Gambaccini & host Pick of the Pops featuring 1982 & 1994, the following week the charts will be 1979 & 2000.

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  1. Randall, Mac (2000). Exit Music: The Radiohead Story. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 71. ISBN   978-0-385-33393-1.
  2. "Radio Rewind: Gary Davies page".
  3. "Gary Davies - United Kingdom | LinkedIn". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  4. "Gary Davies sits in". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  5. "Presenter Gary Davies returns to BBC Radio". Radio Today UK. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  6. "Gary Davies back on daily show with Radio 2". Radio Today UK. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. Bourne, Dianne (18 May 2018). "Ooh Gary Davies! The Manchester DJ legend on his BBC return and how it all started at The Twisted Wheel". Manchester Evening News . Retrieved 22 June 2018.