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PETER BROOMFIELD (article first published : 2002-07-19)

Well-known broadcaster Peter Broomfield died on July 16 in Durban after a long illness.

Born in the South of France, Peter Broomfield (77) was, in his time, one of the greats of South African national public radio. His quirky sense of humour and laid-back style made him a favourite of the airwaves…not that radio was his first or only choice for a career.

He went to sea from England as a 16˝ year old in 1942 and worked in coastal salvage ships, tankers and then the Union Castle liners – where he was asked to announce quiz programmes to passengers on board. He settled in South Africa in the early 1950s, failed a voice audition in the Cape Town studios, went on to work as a personnel officer with a large tobacco company, and applied to the SABC in Johannesburg, failed the audition again, but persevered, and went on to became an announcer on Springbok Radio for a year

This led to his Pick-a-Box series that travelled the country playing jokes on contestants. He also presented In the Modern Idiom.

He married Nilo, the 21-year-old actress daughter of Wena Naude, one of the foundation members of Afrikaans Theatre.

After a spell overseas, and time on the SWABC presenting Rule of Thumb and Be with Peter B, he returned to the then English Service to present Open House each morning for nine years (’76-’86)…and some of his guest were Charlton Heston, Bill Haley, Cliff Richard, Peter Lawford and Teddy Wilson. He went on to present Peter B Live on Radio South Africa each Friday evening; and Anything Goes with Peter B on Radio Port Natal until the end of 1990.

He was no mean performer on the piano and filled in at the Butterworth Hotel in Durban ‘between times’. He lived in Pietermaritzburg for some time and eventually settled in Durban where he continued to freelance for SAfm, presenting documentaries and assisting Monica Fairall on Saturday Gold.

A memorial service will be held for Peter in the M1 studio at the SABC in Old Fort Road on Thursday July 25 at 10h00.




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