email updated Page updated Saturday, February 14, 2009
Tributes to: Alan Turner
... who passed away on 15th June 2004

John Bradford:

I would add my tribute to Alan Turner. He was an integral part of a group of - for the most part - young people who created what remains in my mind one of the greatest examples of local radio ever, The Mercia. What you have all achieved since highlights what a bloody talented crew gathered together in the old working men's club and Alan was one of the best.

I have sadly known of his illness for some time from the Heart management but that in no way diminishes the cruel irony that someone who gave so much to broadcasting should be taken by throat cancer. You will hopefully hear soon that this - as one of a succession of tragedies to hit Chrysalis Radio staff - has prompted their management to try and launch a Radio Industries Benevolent Fund to cover the freelancers across our entire industry. If this does become a reality I hope we will all respond with enthusiasm when asked to run marathons or jump bungees or bathe in baked beans in the interests of raising funds.

Ian Rufus:

Although I'd seen very little of him in recent years, he was someone who, once met, never forgotten.

In the early days at Mercia he proved himself to be a dedicated and hardworking journo who, as well as commitment and skill, brought a great sense of humour, kindness and, of course, utterly outrageous behaviour! He'll be sadly missed.

Andy Armitage:

I'm sure we all have our individual memories of Alan, who was nothing less than a great character and was a lot of fun. I expect he'll be missed by those who were still working with him or were close to him. I hadn't spoken to him for three years, but it's still a bit hard to take. And of course he was another of the originals at the Mercia.

Gordon Astley:

How sad to hear that news. My mind immediately went back to those early days at Mercia and Alan's face lighting up when I played "Funkytown" !!! Please pass on my thoughts to Alan's family and friends.

I regret I shall not be able to be at Alan's funeral as I am 7000 miles away. At the appropriate time I shall download "Funktown", take a sherry and have happy thoughts about great times and a great bloke.

Tony Gillham:

What a sad piece of news. Only 2 or 3 days back I was recalling the days of "Tone & Turner" on the Breakfast Show at The Mercia. I had no idea that Alan was ill. What we had there will always be remembered as something special.

On those dark winter mornings, getting up at 3.30am and struggling into Hertford Place, Alan would always be there first. Always with a smile, usually with a cuppa. We knew we had to go for it, for the sake of everyone listening. We always did. Not sure if he'll be back after the break this time, but he'll never be forgotten.

Andy Lloyd:

I think that one of Alan's most endearing features was his ability to call a spade a spade to your face in a mannner that would make you laugh, rather than take offence. He was one of the key people at the start of Mercia Sound and I will never forget the numerous jokes and conversations that we had during and around breakfast news bulletins. He'd come into the studio (stumble some mornings), often bleary eyed from his exploits the night before but always with a quip and usually with a smile.

What a terrible shame he is gone. First John Warwick and now Alan - rotten this getting older lark!

Dave Jamieson:

Over the last few days, my mailbox has been filled with tributes to Alan Turner, with whom I worked as part of the original Mercia team and again briefly, at the start of Heart.

I can add nothing to what has already been said, except to comment on how evident it is that the spirit of the early '80s still exists. Alan, like the rest of us, was very proud of what we achieved in the early days and of being a part of it. For those of us who were there, it was a very special time, and Alan was one of the very special people who made it so.

I'm sure he's surprised at all the fondness which has been shown towards him during this week, but pleased that former colleagues from around the world have been drawn together again.

Ted Elliot (typically!) has coined the best possible epitaph : "Isn't Heaven a club that plays dance music?" Thanks Ted.

Kay Oliver:

I was very sad about leaving London when I joined Mercia Sound back in the 80's. Alan went out of his way to be kind to me and was always making me laugh. He told some really funny stories and did very good impressions of people( I wont name names) He was a really sweet chap and I am so sorry to hear about his death.

I will always remember Alan whenever he went in to read the news. He took it very seriously and his hands would shake on scripts.

The worst thing that ever happened to him was when the cart machine misfired on a five o'clock news read and he went back to what he called "the council thinggy" a story by Peter Lowe of course. Im sure he would want us to remember the happier times. Rest Well Alan.

Mark Foster:

Alan's passing is a reminder to us all how swiftly time moves and we should make the most of what we have. Alan was a great colleague - always a professional and possessing a distinctive style.

After the Mercia days our paths would often cross at news conferences or events and he never seemed to change at all. Whenever I think about Alan I always recall a blooper tape we made for one of the great Mercia Christmas parties.

He was interviewing a resident of Coventry's notorious Wood End district. It went something like this: Alan: Do you feel let down by the council? Resident: Let down? We feel like we've been hung out to dry and f***ing s**t on!

Alan: Do you think you could say that again in a broadcastable fashion? Like I said, ever the pro!

Richard Lawley:

How sad that another original has left us - and Alan was an original in every sense, not just as one of the original crew that had the privilege of being part of Mercia Sound. We all must have fond memories of Granny Turner - and those memories will live on with us for the rest of our lives.

Robbie Mason:

I was stunned to hear of Alan's passing, obviously I'm a little further away than most of you. The last time I saw Alan was 1990 on a trip back to the UK when he said with a lot of sadness (and a little smile at having outlasted everybody else) that he was the only original member of the Mercia team left.

The others were right he was always happy to see you, always ready to uplift someone if they were feeling low - he was never difficult to be around (bit like a golden retriever if truth be known) and always professional. He, and John Warwick who passed a couple of years back were 2 great professionals who will be greatly missed.

Peter Lowe:

I've not been in the office for two weeks and was shocked to return to this news. The fact that I have dozens of e-mails about the same subject is evidence alone of Alan's popularity and the effect he had on all of us. Of the hundreds of people I've worked with in the last quarter of a century (!), Alan is right up there on the all-time list of amazing characters. He was very hard-working and professional, he was funny, he lived life to the full and he really did care very much about other people. Ooh mate, I'll tell you won't be forgotten.

Tony Harrison:

After reading so many tributes for Alan over the last few days it is clear that we all agree that he was a special individual working for a special station, the likes of both will sadly never be repeated.

Colin Palmer:

Alan was a great fun-loving character with a wicked sense of humour and something of an anarchist at heart ! Many people thought I was mad when I promoted him to Deputy News Editor at Mercia but I recognized that he was also a bloody good journalist and a real professional with a genuine love for radio . Despite his sometimes outrageous behaviour Alan also had a very sensitive and caring side to his nature and was truly one of the good guys.

I’ll miss his sparkling humour… I jokingly called him “loveable “ once.. and he retorted dryly : “You may be small Palmer and beautifully formed …but you’re not my type.” (Thank God, I sighed.) Our paths have crossed a few times over recent years and Alan always brought a smile to my face I’m glad I knew him and he’s certainly one of those people I will never forget.

Rob Gurney:

Alan was truly unique. As a fresh-faced and somewhat naive 16 year old, I must admit I was more than a little taken aback when I first met him! But that was Alan...outrageous, but a really warm human being and someone whose help and advice (however directly it was given!) I will always be grateful for.

Ted Elliott:

Hi Everyone I think we have all been stunned by Alans passing because he truly was a very honest and nice human being. He said what he thought and lived how he wanted to live without causing offence to others. His lust for life was infectious.

Monday mornings he used to come into my little production cubby hole and tell graphic stories of his weekend exploits. How he got up for work after partying all weekend I don't know, but he always looked more awake than most of us. In many conversations whilst at Mercia and in our days at Heart together, his passion for radio was always evident, especially the Mercia days. Isn't Heaven a club that plays dance music?

Chris Jackson:

It seems incredible to me that he should have left us so soon. When I started as an eager student helper-outer at Mercia several weeks before the thrill of the very first morning of transmission, I had no idea just how fantastic my next few years would be. Even now some 20 odd years later I still think back to those times as my happiest in broadcasting - not least because of the wonderfully warm, welcoming, fun and spirited team of people who were a joy to be around and who taught me so much.

Alan was one of those very special people. The nickname "granny", though wholly deserved, did not do justice to his entirely generous and nurturing character - even to a newbie greeble like me. I am grateful that our paths crossed even if only for a couple of years. I had always thought my treasured "Mercia Memories" could never be tarnished, but Alan's death has rather proved me wrong. My hope is that Nigel and Alan's family will know how much fun and laughter he brought to so many people.

Sandra Ciuffini:

I am very sad to hear about Alan .I would like to add my great memories to the tributes. When I was a new advertising rep at Mercia I often used to bump into Alan at the coffee machine and he would always crack a joke usually about the colourful clothes I was wearing! The last time I went for a meal with Alan in Pizza Hut he was dressed in his leathers and he ordered a 7" hot and spicy which he said was his favourite and of course he took great delight in embarrassing the waitress . He really was a great character full of fun and will be sadly missed

Donald Steel:

I had just started at Mercia Sound and was presenting the religious programme early on Sunday morning. Alan arrived to read the news. He had been clubbing half the night and was still in his leathers. He buzzed down on the talkback: "hell to heaven". I thought, I am going to like it here.... Alan may have had his ups and downs but I can think of few others who had more fun than he did. I seem to remember him getting into trouble once with the IBA for announcing a track on "Some Like It Hot" by saying "come on girls, scream your tits off to this one". For the IBA he was a guy before his time. For me, he was hugely entertaining and never disappointing. What a huge, individual, personality we have lost.

Karl Stein:

I did not come into contact with Alan that much during my years at Mercia but do remember playing in as part of Continuity shifts his Some Like It Hot (I think thats what is was called) - and that was an experience 'cos you never quite knew what was coming next, but it was always professionally timed and set ready for ads / news etc.

Mark Baggett:

Whilst we are on the subject of clubbing I recall a story about Alan but I'm not sure whether it was true. Apparently he was at The old Nightingale Club in Brum one night when the building started to collapse and sections of the roof fell in onto assorted punters, being the consummate journalist he phoned the Mercia newsroom and left this hot story as a message on the answer machine. However knowing Alan's predilection for heavy partying, the morning journalist assumed he had just been off his face at the time and had made the whole thing up - the story never got broadcast!

What is true is that Alan was a friend and confident, direct and to the point but we all loved him anyway. He will be sorely missed.

Sara Blizzard:

I will always remember Alan being so full of life and so keen to tell you about the exciting weekend of partying he'd been doing as he burst through the little swing door in reception always running up stairs two steps at a time.

When I joined Mercia as a total novice to the industry he was someone you could look up to, a consummate professional and once I'd recovered from the rather direct comments he used to dish out in the usual Alan style, he was a very kind and caring individual. The world of radio won't be the same without him.

Richard Barnes:

I was the tea boy on the breakfast show with the late and fondly remembered John Warwick, with Clive Skelhon doing early, me doing PRS getting the carts out, getting the traffic, I was 15 / 16. I later went on to be a presenter after sticking my demo tape underneath the wiper blade of Stuart Linnell's new Jag, just before GWR took over and took away the magic the 'local' station had.

I remember Alan as a larger than life character and extremely amused when he realised he was the first gay person I had met, I asked him one morning if he was married. He looked at me as if I was taking the p**s and then realised I was a naďve 15 year old. It made him laugh. I laughed to at my realisation of my naivety. This was a good moment, a life moment. Although I knew him for a very short time I remember him as gentle individual, passionate about living his life and a consummate professional. I raise a glass and toast to Alan, thanks for making me laugh.

John Mills:

Dear All, It was with much sadness that i heard of Alan's demise. However, it did evoke fond memories of a forthright and very likeable guy, whose tales and antics always kept us smiling at Mercia. He will be sorely missed by everyone who came into contact with him. Hopefully, at some stage some form of tribute could be played on Mercia, in memory of Alan.

Tom Wadrop:

Hi Everybody I was just flicking through my E-Mails and was devastated to see the news about Alan. I worked with him a lot when I was doing sports bulletins for Mercia before GWR ( Gangsters Wrecking Radio) took over and destroyed what was a good local station. Alan and Andy were the first two gay people I had worked with, and I was bit apprehensive at first, but was put at my ease when I realised that they didn't try to force their beliefs onto people who were not of that persuasion.

I knew he was ill, but didn't know how serious it was and it came as quite a shock. More so because it was only yesterday (Thursday) that a chap came through Birmingham Airport, where I now work and I said to some of my colleagues that he looked like a lad I used to work with at Mercia. He really did look like Alan. Isn't it a strange world we live in? Alan was also a good friend to my wife (Marion) when she was having a lot of medical problems and they quite often used to sit and chat while I cobbled together a sports Bulletin.

The world has lost a great and dedicated journalist who, if there is a heaven will be at this very moment giving them hell (forgive the pun), and telling them he "wants thirty seconds for the five o'clock bulletin" and "he wants it now". I'll hopefully be able to get to the funeral to pay my last respects to someone who I considered to be a friend, and who helped me tremendously when I first joined Mercia.

Simon Garrett:

When I went to Mercia I had worked with gay men before, but nothing had prepared me for Alan - as if anything ever could. The expression 'in your face' had to be coined specifically for him. I was one of that shameful breed who enjoyed their radio but saw it primarily as a stepping stone into TV. Not so Mr Turner. He took no pleasure in his Coventry Cable exploits (save perhaps the time the kitten weed on his hand) and made it abundantly clear to anyone and everyone who'd listen that he was a radio man through and through. And so he was.

Mercia was very different from BRMB and Viking where I had worked before - a real education. I learned a great deal from Alan about writing, interviewing and turning stories round bloody quickly. He always pretended to be dead gruff and uncaring but it took the tiniest little scratch at the surface to see precisely the reverse was true. People and stories mattered to him and he was genuinely fond of his workmates.

Ian Woods mentions the late shift. I loved Alan for doing it so often. I found it the most depressing of the lot and would far rather do earlies. Alan found it suited his lifestyle perfectly:Nip out for the late bulletin, do the calls, grab what you couldn't get to on the phone and leave a stack of carts for the morning before tearing out clubbing to God Knows what hour of the morning.

Back the next day with the gory details, of course, and taking gleeful pleasure in watching the rest of us callow straights turn green with horror! Which reminds me.. by their very nature fashions come and go but Alan boasted (loudly and often) his nipple rings before the current trend for piercings was ever conceived.

The best thing I can say is that I don't think I ever worked a shift with him in three years without him making me laugh. He will be missed.

Paul Robinson:

Thank you so much for informing us of the sad news so elegently. There is nothing worse than l learning of the passing away of someone who made a significant impact on so many people, as not hearing the news. I remember Alan from my four years on the Good Morning Mercia breakfast show when between bulletins Alan would give me headlines of the night before-always entertaining, frequently an education and yet on air he was always the consumate pro.

Alan was always fun to invite into the studio at 6am in the morning, which was not the case with everyone on earlies. He was a great broadcaster and loved his job and life. I will never forget his impact on me as (then) a youngish DJ He will be missed.

Steve Lee:

Alan's programme 'Some like it hot' came under my own overnight continuity shift so like the rest of you a whole string of memories has been sparked off in the last few days. (Fond memories of happy days)! Alan would really have been 'chuffed' to think he had the power to bring back the good old days on Mercia when it was truely local 24 hours a day.

No doubt among my many tapes here, his distinct voice will bring back further memories of a radio station that I am still proud to have been associated with between 1984 and 1989. Earlier tonight I rang Karl Stein who was unaware of Alan's passing and expressed considerable shock. I want to express my sympathy to Nigel and Alan's family.

Steve Dawson:

I too was deeply shocked to hear of Alan’s untimely passing. I am proud to say that I played at least a small part in his life when he was “Made Redundant” from The Mercia (then in Capital Radio ownership) and was finding it difficult to get a job in radio despite his wealth of experience and knowledge.

I was very pleased to give Alan a job at Isle of Wight Radio where I was then P.C. He stayed with my wife Shelley and me on the island sharing our home for a couple of months before finding a flat.

We laughed away many a night into the small hours. Alan hit the Island like a Tornado! They had never met anyone like him, It was FANTASTIC. During his time on the Island Alan had an impact on the careers of many of the folks working in that small newsroom some of whom have gone on to much greater things.

God Bless you Alan – You were a breath of fresh air and will be sadly missed.

John Taylor:

Having worked with Alan for two years in the Mercia newsroom during the mid-80s, I was terribly saddened to read about his death on your website. Lots of my old colleagues have already paid tribute to both his personality and his professionalism, and although I haven't seen him for nearly 20 years, he still stands out in my memory as a warm, funny and outrageous character.

One particularly memorable evening was when I agreed to accompany him to one of his favourite haunts, a very 'out' nightclub in Birmingham called the Nightingale, to witness the scene at first hand. It turned out to be a great evening, though I'm not sure which part Alan enjoyed more - snogging someone in a rubber vest (who he claimed was a policeman), or watching my reaction. I was naturally terrified about being chatted up (or worse) and Alan gave some advice which has stayed with me ever since: "Don't cruise them, John, and they won't cruise you".

Sorry I'll never have the chance to swap reminiscences with you, Alan, but wherever you are - keep on cruising.

Taken fron "The Radio Magazine"

Alan Turner 1951-2004 17 June 2004 Alan Turner has died at the age of 52.

Alan started his career working for the Tamworth Herald and Castle Bromwich News. In 1980 he joined Coventry's Mercia Sound and become one of the first voices on air, as an original member of their News Team. Aside from working the news desk,

Alan was also a late night DJ presenting a high-energy dance show called Some Like It Hot with features including Al's throbbing 12 inch. In 1991 he left Mercia to join Isle of Wight Radio and freelanced for the BBC. In 1994 he joined the new West Midlands regional station 100.7 Heart FM as Senior Journalist and later became Deputy News Editor.

Paul Fairburn, Managing Director of Chrysalis Radio Midlands commented: "Alan was a very dear friend to many of us. He was here from the start, before 100.7 Heart FM started broadcasting and before I became Managing Director. It is so sad that he won't be with us to celebrate our 10th anniversary in September.

We miss him deeply and are thinking of his family." Chris Kowalik, News Editor of Chrysalis Radio Midlands added: "Anyone who's ever met Alan would never forget him. He was opinionated; outspoken; wildly funny and your best friend who could always keep a secret. As a journalist he was by far the most experienced and knowledgeable. This newsroom will never be the same again."

Site © Kevin Sykes