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Alan "Fluff" Freeman - image (c) and courtesy BBC
Alan "Fluff" Freeman, MBE
was born on: 
Wed, 06/07/1927
Melbourne Australia
and died on: 
Mon, 27/11/2006
Twickenham, London, England

So much more than a DJ - an icon.


Alan Freeman, known as "Fluff" in honour of a pullover that had been washed so many times it had become fluffy, was born in Melbourne, spent five years with local radio stations then moved to Radio Luxumbourg, Europe's not-quite-pirate radio station. Then he moved to the BBC, first at the "Light Programme" which was struggling to compete with offshore radio and its modern music and presentation, and then when the BBC surrendered to the pop wave and created a dedicated station, transferred to Radio One.

His 1970s Saturday Afternoon programmes remain embedded in the memories of the soft-rock generation, who were also introduced to classical music which Freeman dropped into his programmes when he knew it would fit.

It was his voice, developed after two years of training as an opera singer, that marked him out: he projected where others shouted. His deep tones brought music to more than a generation of British and, through the BBC World Service, global listeners. From time to time, he would take the shilling of commercial radio but he always returned to the BBC, where repeats of his programmes run even today on BBC Radio Six.

In 2000, he became largely unable to look after himself due to severe arthritis and asthma and he moved into a residential care home, Brinsworth House, in West London, run by an entertainment industry charity.

He died in late 2006, aged 79. He had lived alone since leaving Australia in 1957. But he never really retired, continuing, until shortly before his death, to travel, with assistance and a zimmer frame, into London to present another groundbreaking series in which he linked classical music and rock for a new generation.

Editorial Staff