In 1957, two years into a job as a BBC producer-cum-announcer, Brian Matthew, who has died aged 88, was invited to present the BBC Light Programme’s Saturday Skiffle Club. Skiffle, that shortlived but vital hybrid that incubated British rock’n’roll, duly expired shortly afterwards, and so, in October 1958, the show was relaunched as Saturday Club, with Matthew as presenter.
Its first lineup is the stuff of a lost era: a crooner, Gary Miller; Johnny Duncan, an American expatriate scratching a British living out of the rock boom; a teen idol, Terry Dene, remembered now only for his ephemerality; and an eternal verity, Humphrey Lyttelton. The first record played by Matthew was Lonnie Donegan’s cover of Woody Guthrie’s Grand Coulee Dam. The following year Saturday Club was