You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alan Keith

BBC host of 'Your Hundred Best Tunes'

Alan Keith, BBC Radio 2’s venerable host of “Your Hundred Best Tunes” for more than 40 years on Sundays in Britain, died March 18. He was 94, the BCC’s oldest presenter and one of its longest on the air — more than 60 years.

Keith came up with the format in 1959, playing his own favorites. After the first broadcast, , listeners wrote in to disagree with his choices, he challenged them to submit their own selections, and the show became one of Britain’s (and arguably the world’s) longest-running radio programs.

Born Alec Kossoff in London (and brother of actor David Kossoff), he won a scholarship to the Royal Acad of Dramatic Art, where he was awarded a silver medal. He went on to numerous West End productions including George Bernard Shaw’s production of “Major Barbara” “Late Night Final,” “Dinner at Eight” and “Magnolia Street,” all in the 1930s.

He made his radio debut in 1935, presenting a variety show and continued in an almost countless number of radio plays as well as numerous television stints as early as 1938, specializing in playing Americans (such as “The Man Who Came to Dinner”), both on the tube and on film as well as radio.

But it was his one-hour per week on “Tunes” that left his greatest mark. He was fabled for spending incredible amounts of time scouring the BBC record library for the right pieces of music. Beyond that, he was known for his distinctive, comforting voice and informative introductions to the works he played. He is also remembered for his other programs, including weekly shows “Among Your Souvenirs,” “The Golden Years” and “The Years Gone By.” He had planned to announce his retirement in late March — only days before his death.

He was awarded an OBE in 1991.

His wife and he had two children.

More Scene

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content