John Peel Wiki

Jon Curle in 1971 presenting Night Ride

Jon Curle (1929-2012) was a BBC announcer and presenter who joined the Corporation in 1959 after training as an actor. He worked on various BBC networks, frequently on the Light Programme, and then hosted editions of the midnight to 2 a.m. show Night Ride after the birth of Radios One and Two in 1967.

In the early months of Peel's Night Ride, the second half of the two-hour show was presented by various Radio Two DJs and referred to in Radio Times as "the usual Night Ride", in contrast to Peel's hour. Then, Jon Curle sat in on two Wednesday Night Rides in October 1968, when JP was absent, and on his return became presenter of the second half of the Wednesday Night Ride, from November 1968 until Peel was removed from the show in April 1969. He showed himself to be more sympathetic than any of his Radio Two colleagues to what was a radical departure from the regular BBC late-night easy-listening format. Radio Times listed the two DJs as co-presenters, describing the programme as "The world of words and music explored by John Peel and Jon Curle".  Curle and his producers allowed Peel's show to influence the choice of material for the second hour (although this was restricted to non-needletime material such as film soundtrack albums) and sometimes played session tracks when Peel did not have enough time for them in the first hour of the show.

Jon Curle also enthused over Nick Drake's album Five Leaves Left, playing tracks from it on Night Ride. He continued to present two-hour Night Rides after Peel was moved to an evening time slot, appearing as a studio guest on Peel's "nameless show" of 28 May 1969 to preview his own programme. Curle's Night Ride featured sessions from artists such as Bridget St. John, who had previously appeared on Peel's segment of the show. He may have presented the second, reputedly "lost" BBC session by Nick Drake, broadcast in 1970 after Drake's debut session on Peel's "son of Night Ride" in the previous year. In March 1971 a Radio Times article, entitled Curle up and relax, described how, despite initial reservations, he struck up a friendship with Peel before establishing himself as sole presenter of the Wednesday programme.

Later, Curle moved to BBC Radio Three, where he became one of the station's team of announcers. He also contributed "newsreader voice" to The Who's album Quadrophenia.


  • [1] Jon Curle on Radio 3 - photos and archive recording