Judi Spiers is well-known in the West Country. Her voice will be familiar to anyone who’s listened to her daily chat show on BBC Radio Devon, which she’s been presenting since 1998; and her face will be familiar to anyone who’s seen her supporting events in aid of the various charities she supports. But I wonder how many people spotted her in Lynda La Plante’s drama The Governor back in 1996 or in Baywatch in 1992?
Judi began her television career at Westward TV as a continuity announcer and ‘right hand man’ to Gus Honeybun (whom she cites as her biggest influence). She went on to host her own programmes at Westward and TSW. Joining the BBC, she made three series of ‘Bazaar’ (Blue Peter for adults) before working on Pebble Mill. She then moved to radio, presenting weekend shows on BBC Radio 2, before coming home to the West Country and her daily show.
She continues to make programmes for independent TV and has also been known to tread the pantomime boards on occasion.
Chudfest caught up with Judi recently for a chat:
Hello Judi; thanks for taking time out to talk to us. You started out as a television presenter and an actor before moving to radio. Isn’t the more usual route the other way around – moving from radio to TV?
JS: “On the contrary, many of the biggest names in broadcasting are equally at home on radio and TV; just think of Terry Wogan and Jonathan Ross. Actually, most broadcasters would give their right arm for a radio show. There’s a longer shelf-life on the radio.”
There are pictures on your website of lots of the personalities you have met and interviewed over the years. How would you say you most enjoyed meeting?
JS: “Well, that’s very difficult to answer, there have been so many. But I would have to say I prefer meeting stars rather than celebrities and the names that come to mind are some of the greats of the film world like: Jack Nicholson, Kirk Douglas, Jack Lemon and Rod Steiger.”
Judi, we are very grateful that you have agreed to be one of the Chudfest patrons. We know you are also a patron or an ambassador for several charities as well. What do you see are the role of a patron?
JS: “I have always said I am not interested in being just a name on a piece of paper. I want to be able to provide practical help and am happy to draw attention to what is going on and help raise funding for the various causes.”
You can read more about Judi Spiers on her website and catch up with her show daily on BBC Radio Devon between 9am and 12 noon.