Edward Stewart Mainwaring
Personal tribute by Mary Payne (All links are below this eulogy.)
Ed's career in broadcasting had an unusual beginning. He was playing bass with a jazz group when he was offered a job at Radio Hong Kong as a sports commentator. By the time he had been with the station for four years, Ed had evolved into DJ Eddie Mainwaring.
Ed was one of the longest-standing Radio London DJs. He joined Big L in 1965, presenting his first show in July 5th and was given the 1500 - 1800 show after the departure of Pete Brady. Dave Cash gave him the nickname 'Stewpot' and he soon became the regular host of the station's most popular programme, the Sunday morning Fab Forty countdown. He hosted the Fab Forties whenever he was aboard the Galaxy, for around two years.
Over Christmas 1966, Radio London raised money for Oxfam by listeners pledging money in return for dedications. The DJs co-presented shows throughout the festive season and on Christmas Day, Ed was paired with Kenny Everett, who decided that they should sing the weather forecast.
(left) l to r, Ed in the Galaxy Mess with PD Ben Toney
His afternoon slot made Ed very popular with children returning from school and he introduced the much-loved 'School Spot', featuring daily a different one nominated by its pupils. This stood him in good stead for hosting 'Junior Choice' and TV's 'Crackerjack' some years later. Ed introduced the fictional character of Myrtle (the name of his then real-life girlfriend) to the show, with the catchphrase 'Hello Myrtle" and the 'silly-voice' response "Hello Dear". Although Ed and Myrtle said farewell on Radio London's final day, August 14th 1967, the catchphrase followed him ashore.
A particularly memorable moment came in May of 1967 with Radio London's Sgt Pepper scoop. On May 12th, Ed was told to promote throughout the afternoon, the exciting news that the station was the first to have a copy of the much-anticipated new Beatles album. Big L listeners would be the first to hear it during a sponsored segment called 'It's All Happening' that went out between 1700 and 1800. Naturally, everyone aboard the Galaxy had gathered round to listen. The sounds of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had such a profound effect on John Peel that he burst into tears, so Ed generously handed over the show to him.
Not long after, Ed was one of the first to participate in the 'Radio London Holidays With DJs' scheme. Conceived at the dawn of the overseas package tour industry, this was a Big L promotion where listeners would pay to holiday with their favourite jocks at Estartit in Spain.
Chris and I first met Ed at Broadcasting House around 1968 or 69. We were recording an interview on behalf of Wycombe Hospital Broadcasting Service and Ed was very generous with his time, introducing us to other DJs in the building and taking us to the canteen for a cup of BBC tea. He also invited us to accompany him to a local sports club, where he was involved with arranging football matches for youngsters.
Ed regularly participated in Radio London reunions. John Cookson covered the Big L 97 broadcast from the Yeoman Rose for Sky News in Aug 1997:
|"During our visit, two of the great names from pop pirate history, Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart and Tony 'Bird Brain' Brandon, were also making a sentimental return to Big Lil, after 30 years. Amazingly, although Tony had filled out a bit and Ed had one or two grey hairs (haven't we all!), neither looked a lot different and scrambled aboard like 2-year-olds! Certainly the familiar wit and repartee soon started, with both reminiscing about the old days and the 'Summer of Lurrve'! I asked if they thought the same spirit could ever be recaptured on shore. Ed thought not. "There was something special about being on a pirate radio ship in the North Sea, in a roaring gale in winter," he said. "You obviously can't recreate that in a studio on land and that's what gave pirate radio its special magic and appeal to millions of listeners."
Pauline Miller met Ed when he came aboard the Ocean Defender during a 1997/8 Big L recreation from St Katharine's Dock in London. Pauline was manning the shop with the late Jenni Baynton.
"I remember the day Ed Stewart came aboard as Coffee Break guest and then came down to the shop for a bit of a chat and a kiss from each of us – a true ladies' man but we weren't complaining. It was wonderful (there's that word again) to chat with him about his days aboard the Galaxy and hear about the times they all had together."
In 2002, we (Chris and Mary Payne), who now owned the company Radio London, organised a huge offshore radio reunion in London. It commemorated the 35th Anniversary of the Marine Offences Bill-enforced closedown and the continuation of Caroline to defy the law. Ed was there to enjoy it with his ex-offshore friends, many of whom had followed him to Radio One.
We were instrumental in organising the 2007 Radio Academy Celebration of Sixties Offshore Radio, which consisted of panels of DJs representing the respective offshore stations. Mary was producer of the Radio London panel and was delighted when Ed agreed to participate.
The last reunion for Ed was Radio London's 50th Birthday on December 23rd 2014, where he assisted his ex-Galaxy pal Duncan Johnson in attending an occasion that meant a great deal to him..
We are deeply sorry to see the departure of another Radio London DJ. They were people who formed a big part of our lives during the Sixties and we have been privileged in later life to count them as friends. Ed, you will be greatly missed.
(MP3 Audio) At the 35th Anniversary Offshore Reunion, Ed describes how he got his nickname.
(MP3 Audio) Weather Forecast December 25th 1966
(Youtube video) The 35th Anniversary Offshore Reunion: The spectacle of the'Stewpot Roll' is approximately 20:00 in.
Radio London Holidays With DJs (feature)
Radio London Sgt Pepper Exclusive (feature)
The 35th Anniversary Offshore Reunion (feature)
(BBC audio) Ed's final Junior Choice, Christmas 2015
Keith Skues presents his own tribute to his old shipmate (10/01/16)
Pirate Hall of Fame Tribute
Andy Walmsley blog
Final 30 minutes of the Anneka Rice Show, (16/01/16)
Radio 2 tribute programme with Anneka Rice, Wednesday February 10th, 2200 - 2300 (Thanks to Mike Barraclough)
Tributes Received by Radio London
Ben Toney, Radio London's first Programme Director
I am so sorry to hear about Ed. He was a good DJ and a good friend. My condolences to his family and friends.
Tony Brandon, Big L DJ
As a very close friend of Ed's since 1967, I along with many others are deeply saddened that he has passed away.
He suffered a massive stroke and had he survived would have spent the rest of his life in care which he would have hated.
Ed was best man at our wedding way back in 1968 so Jill and I have always had a special place for him in our hearts.
He was an excellent broadcaster and how nice that he was able to present his favourite programme – "Junior Choice" – so shortly before he died.
Norm St John, Big L DJ (and fellow golf enthusiast)
What sad news this is. Ed Stewart, Edward Mainwaring (AKA Stewpot) was a fine man and a talented broadcaster who started his career in the entertainment business as a musician in Hong Kong. I first met him there and later we were to work together on Radio London (Big L).
Ed was from a kind and generous family who lived in Wimbledon, London. Each year his mother would personally wrap Christmas gifts for all the DJs on Big L.
Farewell my friend.
(Right): Shipmates Tony Blackburn, Head DJ Tony Windsor, Ed, Kenny Everett, Norm St John. Photo courtesy of Norm.
Mark Roman, Big L DJ
John Edward, Big L DJ
David Hawkins, Big L engineer
John Sales, dedicated listener
|It's very sad news, indeed, and so very unexpected. There are, sadly, so few of the original Radio London presenters still with us, now and we are, yet again, another one down. Certainly, yes, Ed has left us at far too a young an age for these days, but I'm glad to know that he didn't have to suffer for years before he died.
I obviously listened to Ed on Radio London in the Sixties and he always came across as a warm and friendly presenter. I watched him a few times on "Crackerjack" some years later and listened to "Junior Choice".
I had the pleasure of meeting him at the 35th Offshore Radio Anniversary celebration in London and I clearly remember him doing his famous "Stewpot Tummy Roll" during the presentation he gave at the event. It's now available on YouTube. He seemed much the same in person as he did on air, really.
I know Ed came up to Harwich in 2007 to do a show on Pirate BBC Essex. Didn't get to meet him then, unfortunately, but certainly saw him around and listened to his show.
Then, in December 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting him again at the 50th Birthday celebration for Radio London in London. He'd brought along Duncan Johnson, from his care home, with the help of (Radio London's original steward) Mitch Philistin. Several of us, Ed included, helped to man-handle Duncan, in his wheelchair, into the venue.
I really can't believe Ed Stewart has gone.
'Fab' Alan Field, Fab Forty chart compiler
|Aside from the hundreds of shows I've enjoyed from one of my all-time favourite DJs, I probably met Ed Stewart just three times. The memories span the best part of 50 years.
The first time was in the Spring of 1966. I was just a kid, quite amazed at getting my underage self into the Starlite Ballroom Greenford for a Radio London night, and Ed was guest dj. I think I was in awe as I watched. I'll always remember seeing his trademark Stewpot tummy roll that he performed for the crowd. I don't think I've ever seen anyone else do it. Ever.
Fast forward to the 35th anniversary commemoration of the closedown of Radio London, and I was helping to greet guests and show them to where they were supposed to gather. I chatted briefly with Ed as he arrived, and he was talking about the memoirs he was writing, and he happened to mention (in the most general terms) the signature tune he used on Radio London. "Oh..", I found myself saying out loud, "...'Lover' by Buddy Merrill". As he headed off to mingle with his former shipmates, I felt a certain pride when I saw him take out his pocket dictaphone to record the details I'd just reminded him of. I wonder if it made it into the book?
And then, just over a year ago, at Radio London's 50th birthday party, I had the pleasure of meeting Ed again. He was friendly and chatty as always, only this time I had an even greater liking and respect for him. He'd taken the time trouble and expense of bringing wheelchair-user Duncan Johnson to the venue in central London from his care home on the western outskirts, and Ed played his full part in physically lifting and carrying man and machine up and down the stairs, so Duncan wouldn't miss the occasion. Now, that's a star!
Stephen Chesney, dedicated listener
I was greatly saddened by the death of Ed Stewart. Although most will remember him for Junior Choice, Crackerjack and as a Radio 2 presenter I admire him particularly for his time at Radio London. I rated him number 3 in the list of Big L DJs, after Kenny and Cash. I remember listening to Ed`s first show from the Galaxy, as a summer relief DJ, in July1965. I had been a listener of Radio London since February when Duncan Johnson joined, so to me Ed was the first "new boy." I took to him immediately. He was very professional at the microphone which may be why he soon started assisting with news reading. He was entertaining and later voiced an imaginary character called Myrtle whose drabness rather than femininity amused me.
I was delighted that he was made permanent. When Dave Cash moved to the Breakfast show in October 1965 following Pete Brady`s departure Ed was given the 3.00-6.00pm slot which he kept until the Spring of 1967 when he moved to the midday slot. His 3.00pm show was memorable for the daily "Schools Spot". Ed was the longest regular presenter of the Fab 40 show on Sundays, a job he had for nearly 2 years. He was the third longest serving Radio London DJ, after Paul Kaye and Tony Windsor and was appointed senior DJ after TW left in February 1967. It was entirely appropriate that on the sad day of closing on 14th August that year Ed should present, jointly with Paul Kaye, "Their Final Hour."
After leaving Radio 1, Ed had a daily afternoon show on Radio 2 to which he returned later after a stint at Radio Mercury. He was then moved to a rather nostalgic Sunday teatime show in which he developed a close bond with his loyal audience. His warmth towards his listeners was very evident. It was shameful when the show was axed and Ed was dropped by the BBC. On his last show he played as the penultimate record, "You don`t have to say you love me" by Dusty Springfield, coming in on the line, "Left alone with just a memory," just as he had done decades earlier on "Their Final Hour." It was a poignant moment. That record always reminds me of him.
I was pleased that in recent years Ed was invited back to Radio 2 to present each Christmas Day a Junior Choice special edition. 2015 was no exception and so it was just a couple of weeks ago that I listened in, not really for the playlist but just to hear "Stewpot" again, the warmth, professionalism and sparkle still there.
Pauline and Dave Miller, dedicated listeners
I first remember listening to Stewpot on Radio London and especially the School Spot, as well as his numerous other programmes over the course of his life on board. My next encounter with him was when my late friend Jenni and I were shopkeeping during a late 1990s RSL and he paid a visit to us. We found him a great personality, polite, and enthusiastic and supportive of anything to do with the history of offshore radio which, of course, had it not been for Radio London no-one would have had the benefit of hearing him on air at all, along with many of his other seafaring colleagues. This was followed by the 35th anniversary gathering of Radio London in 2002 and Dave and I certainly remember the 'stomach roll' – how could one forget it? – and enjoying his company along with those of many others from the offshore era. The last time we saw him in the flesh, so to speak, was on a '60s themed cruise out of Southampton with the Searchers, Hermits and Fortunes also on board. Given the amount of people he must have met up with in the meantime we felt privileged that he remembered us from the anniversary reunion and was pleased to see us so we were able to spend a while in his company during the week-long cruise and enjoyed seeing him on stage interviewing one or two of the other '60s performers in such a relaxed manner.
Alan Hardy, dedicated listener
I was shocked and saddened on hearing the news of the sudden death of Ed, especially because I was listening to him only a week or two back on his annual Radio 2 Christmas Junior Choice. We've lost not only another Radio London DJ, but also a radio voice that has spanned the years. Ed was one of the traditional radio presenters. His warm, friendly style seems like it has been a constant on British airwaves since 1965. Back in the 60s and 70s, he obviously enjoyed his charity football matches and also supporting his chosen charities. I remember seeing him then when he played a couple of times in the Hounslow area and I interviewed him for Radio West Middlesex, the hospital station at the West Middlesex Hospital, when he and the 'celebs' retired to a local pub afterwards. Although I never knew him that personally, it was good to see him at a few of the Radio London celebrations, especially the most recent 50th birthday event in December 2014. A sad loss.
Geoff Pearson, Radlon Sales (the original Radio London company)
I was about to write to you about the sad loss of Ed, when I heard on the radio that David Bowie had passed on this morning. It is without doubt a very sad period. When you are my age and your contemporaries are passing at regular intervals, it makes you think.
I didn't know Ed too well in Offshore days, our paths only crossed infrequently, but he was always a very enthusiastic young man, making the most of the opportunity put in front of him.
I did work with him several times in the '70s, when he fronted promotions for me when I was in the Regional Press. It was always great to sit behind the scenes (in what today they would call the Green Room) and have a trip down memory lane to our pirate days. Ed was always Ed, always helpful, always smiling. He was one of those personalities who knew that the fans were the ones who kept him in a job, so when he worked with us he would always go the extra mile. Nice man, rest in peace 'Stewpot'.
Gordon J Sheppard, Promotions Manager for Big L
|With my lovely assistant, Brenda Cogdell, we were responsible for promoting virtually all 'on shore' promotional activity of Big L.
Accordingly, we mounted promotional activity and shows every week in dance halls throughout the 'radio catchment' area. Every week we mounted the 'Big L' show in dance halls at Lowestoft, Greenford in Middlesex, Ramsgate in Kent, and Wimbledon Palais in London. Every Saturday afternoon we also mounted a 'Big L' show specifically for the station's junior supporters and fans at London's Marquee Club in Wardour Street. In all of that activity in the promotion of Radio London we needed and required the enthusiastic cooperation and support of all of the 'jocks' when they were ashore on leave from the Galaxy.
Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart was one of the most cooperative and enthusiastic – he virtually 'threw himself' into the project by chatting for ages to all of our listeners attending these events. Ed signed autographs and chatted to them for ages, repeatedly keeping 'our public' highly entertained. I will never forget his big 'party trick'. With a big recorded fanfare being replayed, (created by Kenny Everett), Ed 'Stewpot' would stand on the stage lifting his shirt up high and, he would blowup his belly so big and so far, that it looked like it must burst. Which, always, brought the house down; every time he did it.
Ian "Wombat" Damon – Big L DJ
I first met Ed at the Rhodes Centre in Bishops Stortford at a Big L Radio London night and along with Paul Kaye he encouraged me to send an audition tape to Alan Keen as I was an experienced broadcaster in Australian Radio.I was accepted and was welcomed aboard the Galaxy when Ed was chief DJ. He was a pleasure to work with and inspired me.
I was also pleased to work with him at Radio Mercury during the 1980s.
Since then I have met up with him on several occasions at reunions, etc, when we always enjoyed talking to each other.
Ed was a great broadcaster who I will miss very much.
Keith Skues – Big L and Radio Caroline DJ, now presenting programmes networked on BBC local radio
Thanks for your email. Yes, indeed. What a helluva shock about Ed. As you know, when we saw him in December 2014 he was looking and sounded good. RIP Stewpot.
I have been besieged with emails from listeners and I am still opening more emails daily.
Ed was a true professional radio man, although he proved himself on TV as well. We all know about his work on BBC, and his most recent appearance with Junior Choice on Radio 2 on Christmas Day. However, I have chosen one particular cherished memory of our days at sea aboard the mv Galaxy.
As a great April Fool's joke in 1967, Ed and I concocted the idea of Radio London being jammed by a 'pirate' radio station broadcasting from a disused signal box on the Norwich to King's Lynn railway line. We were helped out by two of the on-board radio engineers, Dave Hawkins and Ian West. They also acted as the voices of the so called land-based pirate station.
Radio East Anglia fooled everyone, Radio London management, the press and listeners. Every so often Radio East Anglia would override Radio London's broadcast with Ed Stewart. They were allegedly transmiitting on 267 metres. Big L was on 266 metres.
I went into Ed's programme to read the Radio London news at 10.00am with some joke items that included a story about a zebra crossing ... er ... about a zebra that was crossing a main street in Slough. Anyone seeing the zebra was asked to ring a particular telephone number, which just happened to be that of programme director, Alan Keen, who was not best pleased. Bad decision to use that phone number, Mr Skues!!
Ed and I were more or less 'dismissed' from a distance, but were reinstated the next day because of the huge publicity that national and regional press gave to Radio London and the April Fool's joke.
We talked about that memorable day in 1967 when Ed and I last met on board the Tattershall Castle, in 2014, on the River Thames in London marking the 50th anniversary of Radio London beginning transmissions in December 1964.
I listened to Ed on Christmas Day on Radio 2 and thought he was in fine fettle. It was indeed a huge shock when I learned the news of his death on Saturday, 9th January.
Ed, if you are listening in Heaven FM, thank you for your contribution the wonderful world of the wireless, spanning 50 years. You will be sadly missed.
Keith Milborrow, dedicated listener
|I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Ed "Stewpot" Stewart on Saturday. Just as he was "ageing to perfection" (according to his T-Shirt in a 2014 picture) he has been taken from us. I shall always think of him as the 3pm to 6pm jock on Wonderful Radio London, despite his future fame on the BBC. At the time he was presenting Junior Choice for Radio One I thought he was misused by the Beeb, by just having him present a record request programme in Light Programme style with a playlist mainly consisting of children's novelty records. However, nowadays, I feel it was a good career move for him as he became well known to a whole new generation of listeners and did not fade into obscurity (as far as the general public were concerned) as did many of his Galaxy shipmates.
I am pleased I was able to listen to part of his Radio Two programme on Christmas Day, although I missed much of the "Final Hour". When I switched off my car radio he was playing "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera" by Keith West, a great favourite from 1967. I thought his voice sounded a little more strained than I remembered, but put that down to his advancing years. I believe the final record he played was appropriately the The Seekers' hit, "Morningtown Ride", an instrumentatal version of which was used as the Junior Choice theme tune. From a sound-clip on BBC Radio News I learnt that rather poignantly his final words on the air were, "See you, whenever".
Goodbye Myrtle …..
Richard Swainson, Big L Administrator
|Dear Mary and all at Radio London,
I would like to add my sadness at the sad death of Ed Stewart. Fond memories of our time together on the Galaxy, and the hard times he used to give me re the Fab 40 show!
He will be missed by all those who spent time with him on the North Sea.
Mike Lennox, Big L DJ
|I received the sad news of Stewpot's passing from Willie Walker this morning. It prompted many hours nostalgically reading tributes, but most of all I rejoiced in memories of the good times and laughs we shared as friends and flat mates. It was a special time.
My thoughts and love to his sister Sue and his children.
Love ya Duke of Wimbers.
Willy Walker, Big L DJ
I was shocked and saddened at the news of Ed "Stewpot" Stewart's sudden passing.Ed was, first and foremost, a friend before, during and after Radio London. Wonderful memories of the Sunday jam sessions and lunches at his parents' home in Wimbledon. A bit of trivia is that Ed interviewed my sister in the middle of Marble Arch and it was she who mentioned to him about Duncan Johnson and Radio London. I believe that's how Ed found RL... the rest is history.
John Hutley, dedicated listener
|I never had the privilege of meeting Ed but for those of us lucky enough to listen to him, and colleagues, on Big L during those wondrous years of the mid-sixties, I always felt that I knew him very well. A guy whose demeanour always sounded so modest, yet after the departure of Tony Windsor, had the gravitas to became the station's senior DJ until its closure on that terrible day in August 1967. And whilst no one could begrudge those DJs who had left by then to achieve more secure employment, my abiding memory of Ed was that he stayed until the bitter end. We had listened to him for the previous two years. Myrtle and Stewpot were part of our daily lives and, if we were able to get home in time, we could hear the legendary School Spot.
When the dreaded day arrived, he was still there to take us through the station's final hours.
Despite the fact that Ed moved on, during the course of his career, to arguably bigger and better things, those of us old enough to have been around will always remember him for his unique contribution to Radio London. As a minor consolation to this sad news, I can at least applaud myself for having regularly imparted that message (on numerous occasions!) to my two thirty-something daughters.
The only solace for me is to read all these fabulous tributes to Ed, especially from the DJs and representatives of Big L.
Thanks to your website, we are able to join together our thoughts and memories.
The Prof, A Loyal and long standing listener
Along with so many others, I grew up with Ed as a youngster in Devon, and the only outlet that my brother and I had to "modern" music was when Junior Choice was broadcast on both Radio 1 and Radio 2 at the weekend - in the early and mid 70's Radio 1 was not broadcasting in South Devon. Ed became a radio friend, and as I got older I enjoyed his regular slots on Radio 2. I never met him, but I did see him, when in 1974 he conducted the community singing at Wembley Stadium before an England vs West Germany schoolboys international. The England team was captained by Mark Higgins, who went on to have a successful career with Ed's beloved Everton, and as a result of listening to Ed, I too decided to become an Everton supporter, and have travelled many miles and endured many ups and downs as a result!
Today I am a Professor at a university in London, and I keep telling myself that I should not feel as saddened as I am about the passing of someone who I never met. But of course Ed had the unique ability to make every one of his listeners feel as if they had met him and knew him; unlike many of today's DJ's, he didn't rely on others in the studio or guests, but instead spoke to every listener as if they were a friend and part of his own radio community.
Like many others, Ed has been part of my Christmas Day for the last 8 years and it is so hard to believe that he is no longer with us, so soon after yet another great show only a few weeks ago. So apt that his last two tracks were "Make someone happy" by Jimmy Durante, and then his theme tune, "Morningtown Ride", by the Seekers. I seem to recall that his last track on his weekend Junior Choice many years ago, was Abba's "Thank you for the music", so Ed, thanks for the music, and thanks for the many happy memories. You will be very sadly missed by so many.
Jenny Andrews, dedicated listener
So sad to hear about Ed Stewart's passing.
I met him when he came to Walton on the Naze on August 2nd, when he was going on to the Yeoman Rose for the day during Big L 97. He was a lovely man and we enjoyed a chat that afternoon.
Sympathy goes to Francesca, Mark and family and Marco and family, as well as Ed's sister Sue.
Please turn to Page 2 for a photo-montage of happy memories.