August 27, 1990: BBC Radio 5 goes on air

BBC Radio 5, a BBC radio network, carried sport, children’s and educational programmes from 1990 to 1994.

The success of BBC Radio 4‘s coverage of the Gulf War of 1990-1991, on a service known as Scud FM, demonstrated the popularity of a 24-hour radio news service. A rolling-news and sport station, named BBC Radio 5 Live, replaced Radio 5 in March 1994.


Hello, good morning and welcome to Radio 5.

Five year old Andrew Kelly officially launched the station at 9.00am

Prior to this, the new station’s frequencies broadcast a long sequence of programming trails linked by Jon Briggs (one of the station’s launch presenting team) and pre-recorded sketches from comedians Trevor Neal and Simon Hickson (consisting of the two larking about in the studio amid the strains of “Sailing By”, and Trevor suddenly being cut off while he was reading his so-called “Ode to Radio 5”). The official first programme was Take Five, a pre-recorded programme by Bruno Brookes.


The “old” Radio 5 signed off at midnight on Sunday March 27, 1994 with a pre-recorded Nigel and Earl sketch at the end of one of the network’s Irish music magazine programme Across the Line. Ten minutes later, the frequencies closed down for the night following a generic BBC Radio News and Sport bulletin and the new Radio Five Live began its 24-hour service at 5.00am on Monday March 28, 1994.

Notable Presenters on BBC Radio 5

  • Danny Baker (1990-1993)
  • Tommy Boyd (1990-1994)
  • Jon Briggs (1990-1992)
  • Rob Brydon (1991-1994)
  • Garth Crooks (1990-1994)
  • Mark Curry (1990-1994)
  • Dominik Diamond (1993-1994, including Fantasy Football League, before it moved to TV)
  • Simon Fanshawe (1990-1994)
  • Nick Hancock (1992-1994, Room 101, before it moved to TV)
  • John Inverdale (1990-1994)
  • Caron Keating (1990-1993)
  • Mark Kermode (1991-1993)
  • Liz Kershaw (1991-1994)
  • Ross King (1990-1993)
  • Mark Lamarr (1991-1994)
  • Des Lynam (1991-1993, including They Think It’s All Over, before it moved to TV)
  • David Mellor (1992-1994)
  • Guy Michelmore (1990-1993)
  • Mark Radcliffe (1990-1993)
  • Marc Riley (1992-1994)
  • Angela Rippon (1990-1994)
  • Mark Steel (1992-1994)
  • Johnny Vaughan (1993-1994)
  • Johnnie Walker (1990-1994)


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