Died: 2 Sep 2013 | Posted: 5 Sep 2013
David Jacobs was born David Lewis Jacobs in Streatham Hill, London on 19th May 1926 he died aged 87 on Monday 2nd September 2013 peacefully, at home with his family. His wife Lindsay Stuart-Hutcheson who he married in 1979, his three daughters and grand children survive him. His son Jeremy died in 1972.
David was educated at Belmont College and Strand School. He was the youngest of three sons, their father also David managed a successful fruit importing business in Covent Garden, until he became bankrupt around the time David left school and his mother Jeanette earned a wage taking in dressmaking.
Before becoming a broadcaster David was a stable groom and had various office jobs until he was conscripted in 1944.
His first job in broadcasting was on Radio SEAC in Ceylon during his National Service with the Royal Navy. He went on to become Assistant Station Director and joined the BBC Overseas Service in 1947.
David was an actor on the popular Journey into Space, from 1953 to 1958 and then returned to broadcasting, presenting radio programmes; Forces Favourites and Housewives’ Choice.
David Jacobs introduced Bill Haley and Elvis Presley to the British public.He became the chairman of the television panel game Tell the Truth, and was the first presenter of Come Dancing.
The BBC rejected his concept, Hit or Miss, where a panel would discuss the latest record releases as they considered that watching people listening to records was not of interest. Then in 1958 Juke Box Jury a television panel game was imported from America to the UK and David Jacobs was the chairman. The programme ran for nine years with David and the panelist, Pete Murray.
David was voted TV Personality of the Year by the Variety Club of Great Britain in 1960. He was a jobbing broadcaster, during a typical week he would; present the afternoon programme Wednesday Magazine, take part in a Victorian evening on the Third Programme and read poetry on the World Service. He presented programmes on Radio Luxembourg, which were often sponsored by Toni’s Home Perm.
David had minor roles as himself in two films; The Golden Disc in 1958 and It’s Trad, Dad! in 1962. From 1957 to 1961 he presented the radio chart show Pick of the Pops.
In 1962 David declined Brian Epstein’s request to assist with the nationwide launch of the Beatles, as he had commitments with the BBC the Beatles were a success! and, in 1963 a special edition of Juke Box Jury with the Beatles was broadcast from the Liverpool Empire reaching an audience of 24 million.
David married Patricia Bradlaw in 1949, he highlighted his happy family life in his autobiography ‘Jacobs Ladder’ in 1963.
He was one of four regular presenters on Top of the Pops from 1964 to 1970. In the early 1970’s David hosted a television programme, Any Questions? and its companion programme, Any Answers?
David Jacobs had a traumatic personal life. His marriage fell apart and was dissolved in 1972 and his 19 year old son Jeremy was killed in a road accident in Israel while doing charity work.
In 1975 he married Caroline Munro his long-standing girlfriend, she and their friend Caroline Marsh died in a car accident on a mountain road in Spain when the couples were on holiday.
Soon after the tragedy David returned to Any Questions? with Richard Marsh (Chairman of British Rail) as a guest. Both considered the appearance as therapeutic, and as further therapy he wrote a book about their relationship, Caroline in 1978.
He was voted Radio Personality of the Year, in the same year and in 1984 he received a Sony award for his outstanding contribution to radio. He presented numerous Radio 2 programmes including a lunchtime series between 1985 and 1991, Melodies For You which ran for 12 years and latterly, The David Jacobs Collection aired on Sunday evenings, which took him into his seventh decade as a BBC presenter.
He hosted the return of the television parlour game, What’s My Line?, was a founder member of Capital Radio and presented travel programmes for Sky.
David Jacobs DL, CBE was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London, in 1983. and became president of the Kingston-upon-Thames Royal British Legion the following year. He was awarded the CBE in 1996.
He was both a brilliant organiser and a natural chairman. He did significant charity work for the Stars Organisation for Spastics, the RSPCA and, many other organisations. David was also a patron for the Dame Vera Lynn Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy, based in Five Oaks, near Billingshurst.
He announced his failing health on the Radio in July 2013 and his final programme of ‘The David Jacobs Collection’ was broadcast 4th August, just a month before in died he had suffered with liver cancer and Parkinson’s disease for some time.
David Jacobs was loved and admired. Everything about him as a broadcaster was polished and immaculate: the smooth voice, the smartly-cut single-colour blazers with brass buttons and the sharply-creased trousers, the military stance.
Juke Box Jury
An interview with David Jacobs