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Charles Chilton

'The BBC became my university, my music college, my introduction to literature and drama and the place where I was able to develop the skills necessary to become a writer and producer of programmes. I could not have asked for a better job.' - Auntie's Charlie, an autobiography by Charles Chilton (Fantom Films, 2011)

The radio presenter, writer and producer Charles Chilton was born in Bloomsbury, London UK on 15 June 1917. His father had died during the first war, and his mother died when he was six, so he was brought up by his grandmother. He left school at fourteen and joined the BBC as a messenger boy, quickly progressing to assistant in the corporation's gramophone library. in 1937 he formed the BBC Boys Jazz Band. He was soon producing and presenting shows.

During World War II he served in Sri Lanka, running the forces radio station.

Returning to the BBC, he was associated with many other well-known personalities and shows. Major recognition came for the science fiction series Journey into Space which he wrote and produced from 1953 until 1958, and which was the last BBC radio programme to attract a bigger evening audience than television.

Chilton was also a fine amateur flautist, and for many years he played first flute in Mornington Sinfonia (with his wife Penny playing oboe and cor anglais).

His final years were spent as a tour guide for the Original London Walks company, and he died on 2 January 2013, aged 95. Penny Chilton died in June 2016.

 


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