Thursday, 21 August 2014

We'll always have Stroke City

Today I awoke to the news that Northern Ireland lost one of our greatest broadcasters. Hot on the heels of the tragic loss of Robin Williams, our own radio presenter who, had the same sharp wit which was part of who we all wear.

As someone whose father, was only two years older, but from the same working class roots in Derry/Londonderry I grew up with that North West sense of humour. Of course with a time slot starting at 10:30am I didn't get to listen to Gerry every morning, nor did I get to listen to his handover from Stephen Nolan regularly. However, when I did or when he had his appearances in TV they would almost always lighten up the morning, especially if I'd been screaming at some caller on the Stephen Nolan show.

It was only Gerry, who broadcast from the BBC Radio Foyle studio, that could come up with the solution to the Derry or Londonderry dilemma. After a while of calling it Derry Stroke Londonderry he shortened it to Stroke City. Those of us in the know knew it had a double meaning to the general health of the populous but was also a comedic answer to the political correctness of what to call the City of his birth (that of my fore fathers).

He tried to make it on Radio 4 but without success, but his humour was always at home in Northern Ireland and we got where he was at. But he did win the Gold Sony Award for best regional radio presenter in 1990 and Royal Television Society Regional Presenter of the Year in 2004.

He hadn't been on the air since November 2012 as the illness that finally claimed him took hold (he'd been a regular part of the Radio Foyle/Radio Ulster schedule since 1985). Our airwaves have been the lacking as a result. But there was always the hope that he would some day return, this morning that hope was taking away.

Bout ye Gerry/Londongerry, rest well puppet chin. We'll always have Stroke City.

Gerry Anderson 28 October 1944 - 21 August 2014

A few years back there was an animated series using real clips from Gerry's shows so I thought I would share a few of them here.

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