BRMB RADIO's KING OF COMEDY
HOLDEN was BRMB Radio's 'King Of Comedy' and a radio genius.
Joining BRMB in 1985 he stayed until around 1992. Phil
originally presented the afternoon / drivetime show "Holden In The
Afternoon" from 1985 to around 1991. This included Phil's amazing
and infamous "Pop Quiz" which for some reason Phil would always win!
Holden In The Afternoon was, for me, required listening as it was for
many listeners in the Midlands- Phil's presentation style was unique,
incisive, and hilarious earning him the award of
Top Radio Comedy Personality in the British Comedy Awards in
1991. Later, Phil went on to present the Late Show on BRMB.
Music taste? - Definitely serious quality rock such as Led
Zeppelin. Favourite pub? -
Most definitely "The Frog and Calculator"!
Here is a piece about PHIL HOLDEN from the Birmingham Post and Mail in
Rule number one of interviewing a BRMB DJ : never let a friend give you
lift to the station. At a quarter to ten on a Wednesday evening,
without an A-Z, we are on a scenic tour of Aston's industrial estates,
looking for Aston Road North, the home of BRMB, tucked away beside the
Expressway. Thanks to the directions of a garage forecourt
attendant, I arrive only five minutes late. Phil Holden has only just
got in himself and is on air in under ten minutes ... totally unruffled.
Phil's show has endeared itself to BRMB's audience with its blend of
humour, self-parody, a predilection for some cracking music (he is an
unashamed Led Zeppelin fan -"they are without doubt the best live band
I've seen in my life," he says) - and the Wednesday evening pop
quiz. Here listeners ring in with questions for Phil to answer
but, surprisingly, they have yet to win. Accusations of rigging have
often been levelled, but Holden is adamant: it's just that the rules
are sophisticated, he maintains.
But, I ask, will they ever win? "It's extremely unlikely. No, not
really." "It's not that they don't have the opportunity to
it's just that they throw it away."
It's best to remember when interviewing Phil Holden - do not take this
man seriously, because he certainly doesn't. It is this streak of self
deprecation, disguised as a comically over-inflated ego, that gives,
his show its unique flavour.
A Leicester University graduate, he had the idea of becoming a
journalist but, after interviewing Kenny Everett and Anne Nightingale,
quickly changed his career direction. Tapes were, sent to radio
stations, and jobs with Chiltern Radio in Luton and Radio Victory in
Hampshire followed - as well as a stint on The Voice Of Peace in
His on-air chat is littered with bits of popular culture from the last
few decades - the conversation in any one show may range from Tex
Ritter to The Spinners or wrestling commentator Kent Walton. "The
thing you have to do is to give the listeners reference points, some
common ground," he says. "I'm just a disembodied voice coming out
of somebody's speakers in the kitchen or in somebody's bog."
"You just observe things and use them.. I'm constantly looking at
things - just things that people can relate to. It's just prodding
people, reminding them or amusing them." 'It's all right to do it
in a pub round a table with your mates, who you already know, and only
for five minutes," he adds, 'but to do it for three hours, five days a
week, consistently, is actually quite hard work."
I suggest that, however light-hearted, he might be a touch cynical?
Somebody once described my sort of humour as 'a constant struggle to
rise above mediocrity'," he laughs. "Humour is cynical - that's its
humour. If you take cynicism, if you take a certain aggression, call it
what you will, out of something which is supposed to be humorous, it
can't be humorous."
The Phil Holden who assaults the ears of Birmingham is quite
outrageous. Is a certain amount of audacity called for?
" I suppose it must be really - to be on the radio, or anything that's
entertainment- orientated, you have to have some sort of ego."
That evening's pop quiz goes much as to be expected - the home team
goes down by eight points, giving Holden a 13-5 win.
"You were good tonight," he commiserates, "but not good enough."
Does he treat it as a contest to the death - Holden against the world?
"I don't see it like that," he grins, "they're my initiates if you
like, they're going through a trial by fire."
But he does provoke them just a little bit? "Oh no, no, no," he says,
with a smirk, "I'm just being honest with them.'
PHIL HOLDEN -
THE AUDIO FILES
SOME OF PHIL' S UNIQUE
BROADCASTING ON THE BRMB AUDIO PAGE - HERE !
On - Have A Listen!
'A Close Personal
"A CLOSE PERSONAL
FRIEND OF MINE"
Phil Holden was on the mid-afternoon show,
"Holden In The Afternoon",
on BRMB from 1985 and
subsequently on the late show Monday to Friday. Phil also
presented a weekend programme. In the above photographs Phil can
be seen with (as he would say) "a close personal friend of mine"
Samantha Fox who popped in to Phil's afternoon show on 10th March
1986. In the right hand photo Phil is seen with seen with the
winner of his 'Bad Taste Competition" - a stuffed kangaroo's head.
Phil had asked his listeners to send in their worst
ornaments for the competition, the winner received a Harrods
voucher. Other tasteless entries included a flamenco dancer with
a spinning ashtray on her head, and a donkey that dispensed
cigarettes. Even Phil, who admitted to being a "student of tack",
was taken aback by the range of ghastly entries. The entries were
displayed at Pertemps in Birmingham.
|A LOUSY BADGE !
This was a badge that Phil sent to lucky listeners who appeared on his
afternoon show in the mid-1980's.
One of Phil's peculiar trails within his show was a local man saying
"This is Dick The Skin, Man Of Bronze on BRMB." Then Phil would
say "Nice one, D.T.S.M.O.B!"
I don't think that we ever really found out who D.T.S.M.O.B. was, but I
did get a 'lousy'
After Phil left BRMB in the early 1990's I believe I heard him on BBC
Local Radio in the Midlands and perhaps on BBC Nottingham or Leicester,
however I don't think Phil is involved in radio any longer, and it is
understood that at one time he was living in Worcestershire.
It is a shame that
radio seems to have lost Phil's talents as his shows were always unique
entertaining, bordering on the hilarious at times as he foxed and
bemused his phone in victims (contestants) - Phil Holden's shows were
quite simply broadcasting genius!
See more of the shows that would have been
heard in the Midlands on BRMB Radio in the late 1980's and early 1990's