Donny B – The Original King Of Daytime
Friday 31 December at 9pm on BBC ALBA
DONNY B MacLeod is a broadcasting legend, fondly remembered as a presenter of the seminal, long-running, BBC lunchtime magazine show, Pebble Mill At One.
‘The Original King Of Daytime’ documentary produced by Corran Media for BBC ALBA presents Donny’s inspirational life, beginning with his formative years in post war Storonoway, where his father ran a small shop, close to the family home, famed for its hospitality.
Family and friends tell of Donny’s voracious appetite for reading, and how the vast knowledge he accrued prepared him for a world far beyond his island home.
A brief stint in the Royal Navy was followed by studies in Glasgow and at Gray’s college of art in Aberdeen. He would go on to become a hugely-popular art teacher in his beloved Nicolson Institute, but not before he had written another remarkable chapter in his life story.
In 1959, Donny fought one of the most charismatic election campaigns in Island memory. His attempt to oust the long-time Labour incumbent, Malcolm K Macmillan, was a feisty, controversial affair, and those who witnessed it recall the electrifying public meetings, described as being “like a furnace”.
Though he excelled as a school teacher – there was a bit of the entertainer about him, says former pupil and Times journalist, Angus Macleod – it wasn’t enough to satisfy Donny. He made occasional forays into written journalism, and then a breakthrough contract broadcasting with the BBC.
Donny’s potential was noticed, and he moved his family to Aberdeen where he quickly became a well-known face on national news. He soon got his own show and made classic documentary films, such as the traditional Shetland wedding of a young fiddler called Aly Bain who recalls it as “a pretty wild wedding”.
It was Pebble Mill At One that made his name and for which he is best remembered.
In the early 1970s, there was no daytime television and few predicted the roaring success of a risky new format, broadcast from the public foyer of the BBC studios at Pebble Mill in Birmingham.
His co-hosts, Marian Foster and Bob Langley, recount what it was like to be at the cutting-edge of broadcasting in the seventies, and also the role that Donny played in the startling success of the show.
Many of Donny’s encounters with the stars of the seventies, including a quite unforgettable meeting with silver screen hard-man Charles Bronson are featured in the programme.
The Pebble Mill At One format was one in which the big, genial Lewisman shone.
Unfailing buoyant, at once kindly and acute, he was never intimidated by stars and at entire ease with the most ordinary.
Family and friends from all walks of life share their memories of the remarkable Donny B Macleod, The Original King Of Daytime.
Donny B – The Original King Of Daytime will be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Friday 31 December at 9pm.
For further information or if you wish a Gaelic version of the press release, please contact Lorna Gardner of Media House on 07813 193 618 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for editors
BBC ALBA is currently available on digital Satellite, on Sky 168, Freesat 110 and live on BBC iPlayer. Ten hours of content per week is also available to view on demand via the BBC PC iPlayer and the BBC iPlayer on Cable. For further information see www.bbcalba.co.uk.
BBC ALBA is run by MG ALBA in partnership withthe BBC. MG ALBA is the operating name of Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gaidhlig (Gaelic media Service). Find out more about MG ALBA and the partnership at www.mgalba.com.
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Contact: Lorna Gardner