Douglas Muggeridge (1928 – 26 February 1985) was the controller of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 from February 1969 until 1976. Muggeridge was educated at Shrewsbury School. He first worked as a reporter for the Liverpool Post, joining the BBC in 1956 as a radio producer. He was appointed as controller of Radio 1 & 2 in February 1969. Following on from Robin Scott, the first Controller for the two networks, Muggeridge tried to up-date the BBC's thinking on pop music radio. Although not a great pop music fan himself, he was responsible for giving both networks their individual identities and for introducing a twice-daily news magazine programme to Radio 1. Entitled Newsbeat, the programme still features on the network today.
In 1971, he appointed Rodney Collins - known as a supporter of pirate radio through his weekly music newspaper columns - as Publicity Officer for the two networks in an attempt to gain more coverage for Radio 1 in music papers such as the NME, Melody Maker, Disc and Music Echo and Record Mirror. In 1972, Muggeridge signed up leading BBC broadcasters such as Tony Blackburn, Jimmy Young and Pete Murray to long-term contracts in the face of the challenge from the new local commercial radio stations. He was later the Director of Programmes and Deputy Managing Director of Radio, before becoming Managing Director of External Broadcasting in 1981, overseeing the BBC World Service. He was nephew of Malcolm Muggeridge. He died on 26 February 1985 in St Thomas' Hospital, London.
Links to Peel
The appointment of Douglas Muggeridge as controller of Radio 1 had an impact on Peel's career. Muggeridge's predecessor, Robin Scott, had supported the DJ and his shows, both the weekly Top Gear show, which was in a prime Sunday afternoon listening spot, and Peel's adventurous Night Ride. But after Scott's departure this changed; Top Gear producer Bernie Andrews was taken off the programme and the show itlself was moved around in the weekend schedules. Night Ride was moved to an early evening Wednesday slot on medium wave only, and was eventually taken off the air altogether.
In an interivew with Melody Maker in early 1969, Douglas Muggeridge described his musical tastes as "middle of the road", and, although he also described Peel's DJ style as "very interesting", he admitted that he was less interested in the "sharp end" of modern pop than his predecessor had been. With his background - he had previously been head of talks and features in the BBC's Overseas Service - he seemed a traditional BBC man, with Kenny Everett describing him as ‘a pin-striped prune’ (quoted in Robert Chapman, Selling the Sixties, London 1992, p.259).
Like Everett, Peel occasionally got into trouble with his bosses due to his outspokenness, and he later recounted how he had undergone a difficult interview with a BBC superior who mentioned public school education. Peel responded by saying that he too had been educated at a public school - Shrewsbury. His interviewer asked which house Peel had been in, and the DJ told him ("Riggs Hall"), to which the response was "How's Brookie?" Douglas Muggeridge was also an old boy of Shrewsbury School and, as the "Brookie" mentioned was Peel's old housemaster Richard Hubert John Brooke, it is likely that Muggeridge was the BBC employee Peel was reluctant to identify..Peel said that after this interview, he knew that his future at Radio One was secure, and indeed, despite his complaints about the station's music policy and his DJ colleagues, he remained on the station throughout Douglas Muggeridge's time as controller.