Richard Astbury MBE
Meet the man behind the microphone
|Richard was born in Worcestershire in July 1944, the son of a bank manager. Richard broke the family mould by attending drama school in Birmingham and subsequently became an actor.
Having experienced television drama Richard then moved into radio with the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) in 1969 with postings to Cyprus, Cologne, Berlin, Belize, Gibraltar, The Falkland Islands and Malta, which he physically closed in March 1979.
Richard spent 12 years in Germany, ten in Cologne where he became well known in the 70’s for his “Housewives Show” broadcast daily from the studios in Marienburg. This prompted the recording of his record “The Drinking Man’s Diet”, along with two other long-playing compilations and records of a risqué nature!!
Richard made a name for himself with the way he used to talk to the wives on the phone, again with the risqué contents that attracted the attention, not only of the British Forces, but many hundreds of thousands of German listeners. Richard was also well known for his weekly Sunday programme “Pop Around Europe”, playing hits from the European charts.
In ‘85 Richard took a sabbatical running “Riviera Radio” in Italy, beamed to the French Riviera. He returned to manage BFBS in London in ‘87. It was then that he was recruited into television as the anchor-man on the current Forces magazine programme “BFBS Reports”.
In October of ‘93 he became Head of Combined Services Entertainment (ex ENSA) which stages shows and visits to British Forces locations in The Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Cyprus, Bosnia, and Naval ships at sea. In the summer of ‘98 Richard left to concentrate more on radio and TV.
Richard has presented on Classic FM’s Breakfast Show and BBC TV interviewing Princess Margaret to mark the 50th Anniversary of VE day in May ’95. In August that year another invitation came from Buckingham Palace to interview Prince Philip in celebration of VJ day. Both programmes were broadcast on BBC One and have been repeated.
Richard was awarded the MBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List for ‘his outstanding contribution to the welfare of HM Forces as a BFBS programme presenter’. He retired as a staff presenter to go freelance in June 2006 and until July 2009 was seen regularly presenting “BFBS Reports” on BFBS TV.
For over 10 years, up until February 2009 Richard produced and presented "Asters Classics" on BFBS Radio Two, but this ceased when the network was reshaped.
Seven years of retirement has given Richard the opportunity to perfect an old family tradition of making marmalade and for about seven weeks at the beginning of every year he does little else. It’s the Seville orange season and Richard uses the time to make and experiment. This year he produced over 270 jars and entered 7 categories at the World’s Original Marmalade Festival at Dalemain Mansion in the Lake District. It was held in March and resulted in his biggest success so far with a Gold for his whisky marmalade followed by six Silvers.
All five flavours (2 alcohol free) are available solely from All Seasons Fruiterers, 135 High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hants PO13 9BU.