Information

Sony Radio Academy Awards - Best Entertainment Programme goes to Golden Oldies

Date Posted: 16.05.2012

Beryl and Betty are golden girls of radio after scooping top award

THEY have combined age of 176 and entertain radio listeners with their humorous double act every week. Now, golden oldies Beryl Renwick, 86, and Betty Smith, 90, have become the oldest ever winners of one of the radio industry's most prestigious accolades. They scooped the best entertainment programme prize at the Sony Radio Academy Awards, beating 6 Music's Adam & Joe and Absolute Radio's Frank Skinner to the top spot. The duo were given a standing ovation by guests at the ceremony staged at London's Grosvenor House.

As they head home to Hull after an eventful trip to London, the pair will be ready for a well-earned rest after their story captured attention across the globe. Beryl and Betty had to be helped to the stage by award presenter Robbie Savage and ceremony host Chris Evans to collect the prize for their weekly show on Radio Humberside. The hour-long easy-listening programme has gathered a cult following over the past six years, with the elderly pair bantering with co-host David Reeves about fashion, the war, their love of crooner Michael Bublé and other topics.

The duo also thanked Mr Reeves, who produces the show, for discovering them and spotting their potential when they visited the radio studios in Hull in 2006.

Mr Reeves, who accompanied Beryl and Betty on stage, told them: "Thanks for taking a leap of faith." Simon Pattern, managing editor of BBC Radio Humberside, said: "The entire team is absolutely thrilled and delighted for David Reeves and the ladies. "It's the fact that they're not professional broadcasters that makes them so special. "They are two ladies who have lived their lives in the same place as our listeners. "They're a delight to have in the building and the programmes."

Mr Reeves said Beryl and Betty have been a huge hit with the listeners. He said: "Listeners like Beryl and Betty's truth and honesty. "It's very conversational and it's the contrast between me, in my 30s, and them at 86 and 90. "There's good chemistry. "That's one of the magical elements of the show." Beryl and Betty were described by judges as "a joyous, entertaining double act". Awards bosses said: "They give a voice to a sector of society unrepresented on radio and do it with a joy that puts many of their fellow broadcasters to shame."

Television and radio presenter Fearne Cotton, who picked up the award for best music programme, was also a fan of Beryl and Betty. As she accepted her award, she said: "Beryl and Betty, we're going out raving later." Beryl and Betty were also discussed on The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 yesterday and have previously appeared on The One Show on BBC 1, as well as attracting more widespread media coverage. Accepting the award, Beryl said: "Thanks very much. We both are absolutely overwhelmed for this."

“Betty had 10 children while I unfortunately didn’t have any,” says Beryl, who worked in department stores. She lost her husband in the Nineties, then fell in love again aged 73 with pensioner Stan Wilson, who later died. “You only have to look at photos of us to see how happy we were.

“We met in 1999 at my friend’s house. Stan said he’d take me home in his three-wheeler car... they’re funny, aren’t they! I don’t know why I did it but when he dropped me off I gave him a kiss and said thank you. When I got in the house I thought, ‘Why did I do that? he’ll think I’m after him and I’ve only just lost my husband!’ We started seeing each other and used to go on day trips and holidays. We had a lovely time. He idolised me. I’ll never get over losing him.”

Meanwhile, with her huge family, Betty used to spend every Sunday washing, drying and ironing clothes until 3am so the children had them ready for school. “I didn’t know where the next meal would come from but we just got on with it,” says Betty, who had numerous jobs, including a cook in a hotel. “Sunday lunch meant buying a stone of potatoes, the biggest cabbage, 1lb of onions and 4lbs of carrots, but just one chicken between 12 of us! If you got a wing to yourself it was wonderful.”

Betty and Beryl's words of wisdom

Betty on age: “We’re not old, we’re recycled teenagers.” Betty on pop queen Madonna: “She’s got two left legs.” On comedian and presenter Frank Skinner. Beryl: “I’ve always liked him. I’ve never heard a swear word from him.” Betty: “I’d grab him!” Beryl on getting a pay rise now they are award winners: “We’d willingly do this without pay because we love it.
You hear people ask, ‘Where’s Hull?’ Well, now they know.” Betty on Lady Gaga: “I couldn’t say on radio what I really think, we’re worth 1,000 of her.” Beryl on current fashion: “A lot of women now are wearing a coloured top with a coloured skirt. It’s not right. If you’ve got a multi-coloured top, you must wear a plain skirt or trousers.” On Michael Bublé. Beryl: “If he was in the studio now, I’d put me arms round and give him a squeeze. I’d polish his boots any day.” Betty: “We’re very experienced, we could show him a good time.”

Source : wew.bbc.co.uk, (May 15th 2012)
 

 


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