The radio programme ‘Your 100 Best Tunes’ ran for 44 years, starting in 1959. Alan Keith devised and presented the programme for most of this time, as he sought to offer generally light and undemanding classical pieces. Alan Keith chose the original 100 pieces himself, but in subsequent years, listeners periodically voted the pieces on.
Alan Keith OBE (born Alexander Kossoff – elder brother of well-known actor, David Kossoff – 1908 and died March 2003) was a British actor, disc jockey and radio presenter, noted for being the longest serving and oldest presenter on British radio, at the time of his death, aged 94.
Born and educated in London, he changed his name to Alan Keith in 1926 and by 1928 was on the West End and Broadway stage for 8 years. By 1935, Alan Keith was already an established voice on the BBC radio, appearing in dozens of radio plays and spending 3 years as an interviewer for ‘In Town Tonight’.
In early March 2003, at aged 94, he recorded an announcement that he intended to retire from the programme after 44 years. However, he fell ill almost immediately and died soon after; his final broadcast was 12 days after his death.
I can still hear his distinct voice and signature tune – many years after listening to the programme – starting on an Ecko Bakelite wireless set in the early 60’s and ending on Hi-fi stereo! ‘The Grand Hotel’ with Tom Jenkins was also a favourite in our house along with ‘Sing something Simple’! Those were the days!