Jimmy Grant

Jimmy Grant
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Interview Date(s): 
1 Feb 2007
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see also 588 and 590


Jimmy Grant was born in Southampton in 1920. He attended King Edward VI School and gained a BSc in Physics at University College, Southampton in 1942. In 1943, he studied piano at Trinity College of Music, qualifying externally as LRAM. 

During the war, Jimmy was an Experimental Officer in the Ministry of Supply and after the war, he taught Maths and Science at Eastleigh County High School. In his spare time, he played in a jazz quartet alongside the likes of Roy Plummer and
Nat Gonella. 

In 1948, Jimmy joined the BBC as a Programme Engineer in Plymouth. A year later, he transferred to the BBC Radio Variety Department in London. Jimmy was never happier than when working in the studio with musicians. If you asked him what his biggest thrill was, he would tell you that
it was a special Light Programme anniversary extravaganza, involving the combined personnel of the BBC Revue and Variety Orchestras, with arrangements specially written for the occasion and featuring the wartime singing star,Vera Lynn. 

Although Jimmy was at ease in the world of complex musical arrangements and professionally trained musicians, he didn’t let his formal musical education stand in the way of adventure. He produced Jazz Club, devised a ‘Jazz for Moderns’ spot when the genre was under threat, and in 1957, he conceived Saturday Skiffle Club (soon to be renamed Saturday Club). 

Jimmy will be best remembered by millions as the creator of Saturday Club, the pre-eminent radio show for teenagers – from the era of Lonnie Donegan, through the salad days of Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to the psychedelic rock of Jimi Hendrix. 

In 1972, Jimmy took early retirement to look after his elderly widowed mother. He taught music and English on a casual basis and gigged locally well past his official retirement age. 

In 2005, Jimmy took up residence in a sheltered retirement apartment in Brompton Court, Bournemouth. He suffered a stroke in September 2016 and was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Jimmy
died with his relatives by his side on 16 October 2016.

Bill Aitkin