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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 03:42 GMT
Obituary: Alan 'Fluff' Freeman
Alan Freeman
"Fluff" Freeman: Veteran pop picker

With his familiar welcome of "Greetings, pop pickers" and triumphant, brassy theme tune, Alan "Fluff" Freeman was an institution in British radio.

He spent more than 40 years in broadcasting, but his enthusiasm never waned.

Freeman's unbreakably sunny personality, gift for intimacy with his listeners, as well as an ear for a good tune, all established him as one of the UK's leading disc jockeys.

Despite working into his 70s, Freeman's enduring good humour and ability to laugh at himself meant he stayed a favourite with his youthful audiences, long after younger DJs had moved away from the microphone.

Even when he was satirised by Harry Enfield in his famous Smashy and Nicey sketches - based on a pair of ageing disc jockeys - Freeman laughed along, and shared the joke by appearing in a cameo role.

Fluffy jumper

Born in 1927 and brought up in Melbourne, Australia, Freeman originally wanted to be an opera singer. Two years of training convinced him otherwise, and he became a disc jockey in Tasmania.

Alan Freeman
Freeman moved to London in 1957
The nickname Fluff, earned by a favourite jumper he wore until it was covered in fluff balls and made him look like a sheep, came with him to London in 1957.

After a brief period with Radio Luxembourg, Freeman joined the BBC in 1960. His American-style energy and insistence on playing the Pick of the Pops chart in reverse order soon made his Sunday afternoon show required listening.

The show ran on the Light Programme and Radio 1 until 1972, when Freeman transferred to an afternoon slot, adding the Saturday night rock show to his portfolio the following year.

Presenting Top of the Pops, advertising soap powder and Brentford Nylons on television all helped establish his celebrity.

Freeman's career continued to flourish into his 40s, transferring to London's Capital Radio in 1979, where he was named radio personality of the year.

'Tireless dedication'

He returned to Radio 1 a decade later for a revival of Pick of the Pops. After a spell at Virgin Radio he brought the programme to Radio 2 in 1997, as well as hosting a classic cuts programme, Their Greatest Bits.

Alan Freeman appearing in The Young Ones
"Fluff" could laugh at himself, here in the BBC's Young Ones

Arthritis and increasing problems with asthma forced Freeman to move into a residential home in 2000. Nevertheless, for a while he continued to make the journey to Broadcasting House to record his two weekly shows, before handing Pick of the Pops over to Dale Winton.

The same year, Freeman was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for "tireless dedication to UK radio" - presented by Winton.

But Freeman had always considered himself fortunate, rather than talented. He had found a profession he excelled in, one that brought him the pleasure and satisfaction to carry on long after he could afford to retire.

RIP Super Pop Picker and thank you for the music!
James Sorrie, Corby, UK

Single all his life, and nervous of any lasting attachments, he called his own radio "my friend, my lover, my everything for most of my life".

By the time of his retirement, Freeman's love for radio was reciprocated by his peers.

Presenting Freeman with his lifetime achivement award, Winton said he was "a man who has served, and is held in the highest affection by, quite literally, every sector of our industry".


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