Miyerkules, Marso 2, 2011

Champion of North culture has died

BRIAN Holland, a broadcasting champion of North East culture in the 1970s and 80s, has died aged 65.

He worked for BBC Radio Newcastle and then moved to Tyne Tees TV where he was a producer and presenter.

In 1979 he became co-presenter with Eileen McCabe of a new show called Come In, If You Can Get In which was billed as a critical look at art, books, film, theatre and television in the region.

He also worked on The Tube, which helped to launch Channel 4 in the early 1980s, and a series of education programmes.

Brian was born in Lynemouth, Northumberland, and left school at 15 to serve an apprenticeship at the local pit.

In his 20s he decided to re-educate himself, attaining six O levels and two A levels inside 15 months.

Explaining his change of direction, he once said: "I just got fed up with bits of the roof falling on top of me." Deciding on a career in the classroom, he went to the Northern Counties Teacher Training College but got sidetracked by broadcasting after setting up a studio in a college annexe.

Before long he was recruited to join the new BBC Radio Newcastle where his first programmes included a history of mining in the North East and a wry weekly review of national news from a Geordie perspective.

He also had a culture review programme that nurtured local musical talent and reviewed the region's entertainment scene.

Brian was a passionate supporter of North East musicians, actors, authors, comedians and artists, backing them on and off-air.

He was equally passionate about Newcastle United and was the PA announcer at St James' Park for all home games in the early 1970s.

He joined Tyne Tees to present and research Come In, If You Can Get In but also presented and produced a series of half hour interviews with celebrities such as Derek Jacobi and Spike Milligan Although he left Tyne Tees in 1988, Brian's love of reading, music and regional arts - and also gardening - continued throughout his life.

Brian was divorced and lived in Lynemouth. He had four children, Julie, Tony, Laura and Jack, from his two marriages.

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