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Tommy Vance was born Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prew Hope-Weston in Oxfordshire on 11 July 1940 (although some sources vary between this and 1943). His helming of the Friday Rock Show (1978-1993) on BBC Radio One in the UK provided virtually the only outlet for rock and metal in the early 1980s, and his deep, rich voice became one of the most recognisable on British radio. He died of a stroke on 06 March 2005: Radio 1 repeated his last ever FRS from 1993 as part of a tribute. Dave Cash, his colleague at several radio stations said:

"Once you became friends with Tommy you were friends for life. He was a very private guy, but to his friends he was great, you could always rely on him. He's a bit like John Peel and Kenny Everett - he's irreplaceable, he was a total professional. Tommy was part of the group that actually cared about the music he was playing." [1]

Relationship With Alan FreemanEdit

Vance and Alan Freeman, sometimes known as Fluff, worked together at Radio Luxembourg in the 60's and later both ended working at BBC Radio One. Whereas Vance co-presented with fellow DJ's at the beginning of his Radio One career, Fluff had his own Pick Of The Pops, a chart based show, which was one of the most popular shows at the station. Fluff worked on other shows, including the Quiz Kid, but his most well known show was his Saturday's Rock Show.

Between 1975 and 1978, Fluff presented his own Saturday Rock Show, until the controller of Radio One, Derek Chinnery, decided to axe it, which forced Fluff to move to London's Capital Radio, where he presented Pick Of The Pops and the Rock Show on their station. Meanwhile Vance took over Radio One's Rock Show, which was moved onto a Friday. 

Most of the 80's, Vance was the only presenter on Radio One that promoted hard rock and heavy metal, until January 1989, when Fluff was invited to come back to present his Saturday's Rock Show, while Tommy was presenting his Friday's Rock Show. For the first time on BBC Radio One, there were two rock shows during the week that promoted hard rock and heavy metal. 

Vance and Fluff both promoted each others shows, and Fluff thanked Vance for staying on in the studio after Fluff presented his comeback show in January 1989. Both presenters were complementary of each other and remained good friends. 

In 1993, Vance decided to leave for Radio One and work for Virgin. However Vance was disappointed with Virgin's lack of rock airplay and decided to leave the station to do TV presenting on VH1's rock show and later on to co-found an internet rock station called TotalRock.  Meanwhile Fluff was sacked from Radio One in 1993, when a new controller of Radio One, Matthew Bannister, wanted Radio One to have a younger listenership, and decided to sack older presenters on the station. Fluff went onto Virgin in 1996 and had his own Friday Rock Show for 18 months until September 1997, when Radio 2 invited him to present his own Pick Of The Pops until 2000, when he was forced to retire, due to ill health.

After the death of Vance, Fluff went to his funeral [2] where he paid his respects along with his former Radio One colleagues Adrian Juste, Simon Bates and others who worked with Tommy Vance before and after Radio One.

Relationship With John PeelEdit

For the first year of its life, Top Gear was co-hosted by Pete Drummond, Vance and John Peel until Peel took over sole presentation in 1968. However, the creation of Tommy's show in November 1978 (in part to cover Alan Freeman's sudden departure) took two hours away from JP and he made no secret of his resentment at this (as when the same thing happened in 1984, with Into The Music removing yet more air time for the Peel show). Nevertheless, there was often an atmosphere of friendly rivalry between the two, with Tommy taking John's criticism of FRS very well:

"No matter what John Peel has to say on the air in terms of disparaging remarks with regard to the people who listen to the Friday Rock Show (as far as he thinks, you're all balding and got false teeth), I think it's safe to remember that Peely really was at the forefront of a lot of great music, and probably still is. Probably."

He also defended his colleague against listener criticism, and in fact the two had more in common than differences. They were the only Radio 1 DJs who had served in the forces (Vance in the Merchant Navy, Peel in the RAF); they both worked in US radio before moving to the UK; they did programmes for forces radio station BFBS; they had among the most distinctive voices on the air; they were both more interested in the music than in the cult of being DJs; and there was a considerable amount of crossover in their musical championship (Vance, like Alan Freeman before him, was just as willing to play punk as NWOBHM).

After Peel's death in 2004, TV reacted to his demise in a rather matter-of-fact way:

"People who don’t die before their time in the music industry tend to go straight to the House of Lords. Unfortunate for him, but when you die you die, don’t you? Unfortunate for his missus who had to go through the rigmarole of getting his body back to the UK. That was a hassle but to be fair, he’s dead and once you’re dead, you’re dead." [3]

Payola accusationEdit

11 years after his death, TV was implicated in an accusation involving sexual favours in return for playing records. The accuser was a BBC producer who named four other DJs still alive today and dubbed Tommy "king of the orgies." The letter turned up in an internal BBC probe, although the original letter (heavily censored) had been published in 1971. The claims were denied by Tommy's son Daniel and by Dave Cash, who said: "I’d never say we were church-going baptists, but there was never any payola involved. Tommy was never short of a young lady." [4]


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