John Peel Wiki

Keith Skues

A DJ colleague of Peel at Radio London and subsequently Radio One. Keith Skues did not share Peel's musical enthusiasms, but had a similarly English style of delivery marked by humour and eccentric mannerisms ("Talking of the weather...which we weren't"). In his DJ History interview Peel remarked that Skues had been "very helpful" during their time on Radio London. (Coincidentally, Skues had started his career in 1959 on BFBS in Germany, for whom Peel would also make a long-running series of weekly recordings between 1972 and 2001.) [1]

Skues' playing of old 78s on his show for BBC local radio in eastern England was mentioned approvingly on-air by Peel and also cited by him as an inspiration for the Peelenium [2] and the subsequent Pig's Big 78 [3].

In 1994, Skues, who also worked for Radio Caroline in the 1960s, published Pop Went the Pirates: An Illustrated History Of Pirate Radio. (The DJ portraits in the book included a bizarre and whimsical "biography" of Peel, possibly written by JP himself in 1967.) A revised edition appeared in 2009.

In a 2003 interview with Jeff Mills for FactMag, Peel chose Skues as a DJ he would book if he had his own radio station for a day.

On 01 October 2003, Peel discussed Skues' playing of old 78s with large amounts of surface noise:

"Keith Skues, who calls himself ‘Keith Skues, cardboard shoes’ – don’t ask me why. And a man for whom I have a lot of respect and affection and he does this extraordinary programme, which unfortunately now is at the same time as these programmes, so I can’t actually listen to him at all. But in each of them he plays a couple of 78s. I forget what he calls them but he’s got a name for them. And it seems to me he just plays them because they’re 78s and without bothering to actually listen to whether they are actually any good or not. There is a kind of pre-selection process with the Pig's Big 78s, obviously. But Skues just plays anything and sometimes the surface noise is about all there is left on the records – and I quite like that. You could justify it as a kind of art event or something."

Similar opinions can be heard being given on 20 August 2002.



  1. As related by Skues himself in his final four-hour Skues Collection show for BBC Eastern Counties, 26 September 2010.
  2. For example, 13 May 1999.
  3. See 20 August 2002, where Peel says he "stole the idea" from Skues.