Jimmy Mack
1934 – 2004

Tony Currie remembers a good friend

My friend, Jimmy Mack died in the early hours of Sunday, 4th July, 2004. He had just celebrated his 70th birthday.

His broadcasting career began on board the "Comet" presenting shows for 242 Radio Scotland, a role he managed to fit around his full time job as an insurance rep.

When Radio 1 began, he often appeared on Scottish "Radio 1 Road Shows" as well as Radio 2's "Night Ride". He joined BBC Radio Medway in Chatham, where he was breakfast presenter for six years. During this time he also deputised at various times for John Dunn, Ray Moore and Charlie Chester on Radio 2, as well as producing programmes for Radio 4 and even doing a brief stint on WROI in Rochester, Indiana, before returning to Scotland to present the flagship daytime show on the newly-launched BBC Radio Scotland in November 1978.

His programme was instantly successful, and as well as becoming one of our best loved radio presenters, he also often hosted television series.

Jimmy was awarded an MBE in 1996 and co-ordinated efforts to raise over 650,000 for his local church. As with everything he did, he was extremely modest about his achievements, and always had more interest in other people's successes than his own.

He had fought cancer for the last six years, and remained on the air on Clyde 2 until a fortnight before his death. He always sounded relaxed and professional.

I remember sitting in with Jimmy on one of his Radio Medway shows back in 1969, and marvelling at how easy he made it all look. That never changed. He also retained a warm sense of humour that lasted, I'm told, right up to the very end.

His wife Barbara celebrated her birthday recently and she and Jimmy came to, and greatly enjoyed, the Tony Hatch show which I produced on Glasgow's Tall Ship. The video of the evening gives nothing away of his condition, yet it was the last time Jimmy was seen in public.

Although I have never particularly socialised with colleagues (I see enough of most radio people!) Jimmy and his wife were exceptions, and along with Dave and Barbara Marshall we enjoyed many laughter-filled evenings in each other's company.

Those I will miss, but even more so I'll miss listening to one of my favourite broadcasters.

Goodbye Jimmy. Thanks for everything.

TONY CURRIE

Paul Peters adds a tribute
(Nov 2006)
I have just been looking through you web pages and just can't believe what I have just read. 'Jimmy Mac died in 2004'.

Back in May, when I did my spot on 'Home Truths' I telephoned BBC Radio Scotland to try and find Jimmy to tell him about it, as he produced the shows that I did at Radio Medway in 1971/72. The girl on the switch board said "never heard of him" I pressed her for more information about him and she said "I've been here 9 years and I don't know that name" so I left it at that.

Jimmy was so very kind to me back in 1971. I contacted him and sent him a half hour tape of a show that I had recorded at home, on my old Ferrograph Tape recorder. He liked it and said he would use the tape on Medway's Guest D.J. Show. I said 'great, but I'd rather come down and do the show at Chatham'. O.K. was his reply. He met me and my friend Tony Hasemer (who worked for BBC TV) at Chatham Railway Station and took us to 30 High Street, Chatham, the Radio Medway studios. I think that this had been a pub at one time and the studios were up in the attic if I remember rightly.

Jimmy produced that and several other shows that I did for Radio Medway. He also let me present the 78 show which I really loved doing. I made my way to the BBC Record Library opposite Broadcasting House and got them to help me with dates of old recordings. I remember asking how I could date records from the record numbers and was given this tatty piece of foolscap paper with all the dates typed against the record numbers. I spent a couple of hours copying this all out. The lady then folded it up and put it safely back into her desk draw. It's probably still there!

Jimmy was so kind and helpful to me. I wrote to him at BBC Radio Scotland about 11 or 12 years ago asking him if he remembered me. "How could I forget Paul Peters," was his reply and it came with a lot of helpful advice that I did not make use of.

Jimmy was so kind and helpful to me. I wrote to him at BBC Radio Scotland about 11 or 12 years ago asking him if he remembered me. "How could I forget Paul Peters," was his reply and it came with a lot of helpful advice that I did not make use of.

Jimmy was a natural broadcaster. He came over the airways as a friend and that's why I sent him that first tape. I only wish I could just say thank you so very much Jimmy for your kind friendship and the faith you had in me.

"Thank you"

Paul Peters
Tony Currie printed out a message from Ben Healy to give to Jimmy's widow, Barbara. Tony described the funeral as:

A nice gathering - an interesting mix of BBC and Radio Clyde folk, which is unusual. When we came into the church, the organist played:

There's No Business Like Showbusiness
Thank You For The Music
Everlasting Love
Spirit in the Sky
In My Life

And as we left he played:

The Long and Winding Road
Let it Be
Hey Jude

It was very much a Jimmy Mack gig!

Very sadly, it was less than a week later that Tony lost another dear friend, Tony Allan. His tribute, and those of others, can be found here.

The photograph of Jimmy aboard the Comet is one of a set of personal photos which Jimmy contributed to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame and is used here by kind permission of the webmaster, Jonathan. The full set of pictures is here.
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