Aircheck Tracker

Steve Atwell wrote in to say... 'Hi...I was wondering what ever happened to Mike Smith - ex DJ & TV presenter?  Last knowledge I had of him was his involvement with one of Noel Edmonds' TV programmes, that finished due to a fatality of someone doing a TV stunt.  I would be interested in any knowledge you may have.  Regards.

Profile: Mike Smith:  Mike Smith began his broadcasting career at Hospital Radio Chelmsford but his big break was yet to come.  At an early stage, Mike made friends with established broadcaster and television presenter Noel Edmonds and asked for some tips of how to make it into professional radio.  As a result, Mike's first break came in 1982 when he started work for Capital Radio.  He was the first person to receive the 'Best Local DJ' prize in the Sony Awards of 1982 when he was presenter for the Capital Breakfast Show.  But he didn't spend long there quickly moving to become what was probably the busiest man at the BBC - joining BBC Radio 1 to gain his nickname 'Smithy', to present the early show and then from September 1983, the lunchtime show.  At the same time, DLT moved to weekends after presenting more or less every weekday show in the station's history.  He was the first person to receive the  In the same year, 1982, Mike presented Top Of The Pops for the very first time, going on to be a regular on the show over the next six years.  

In 1982, aged 21, Blue Peter star Sarah Greene bought her first house in London W2's Westbourne Terrace for 33,000.  In 2000, the property was valued at 165,000.  At the time, she'd been living a student lifestyle, sharing with six people in West Kensington.  She'd just met Mike Smith but needed her own flat, and had rented out a programme director's flat - on the third floor of a large house with a lift between floors.  Mike had to assemble a small double bed whilst Sarah decorated the bathroom.  Six months later, Sarah bought the flat with help of a bank balance and a bank manager.

In 1983, another strike affected the television business, with, on this occasion, the people responsible for moving scenery about at Television Centre deciding it was they who didn't want to work.  Mike Smith sat in for Mike Read on the successor to Swap Shop - Saturday Superstore - which, due to the strike action, came from the Play School studios.  The following year, a new show was being produced and aired for BBC Television by director of many BBC shows, Michael Hurll.  In it's first series, audience figures were poor.  Michael asked Mike if he'd like to front some outside broadcasts for the second series - part of a glitzing up of the programme.  The show was Noel Edmonds' 'Late Late Breakfast Show', a programme that has now gone down in the annals of history for all the wrong reasons.  After working very well with Noel, probably due to their existing friendship, Mike joined the show two years into it's run, in 1984.

By 1984, Sarah Greene was spending more and more time with Mike, renting her flat out to Janice Long.  After placing the flat with four estate agencies, she sold it for 55,000, moving on to buy a house with Mike in Chiswick.

In 1985, ITV aired a revived music quiz 'Pop The Question', - radio presenter heaven back then - with host - Chris Tarrant, and team captains David Hamilton & Mike Smith.  Along with television work, Mike's Radio 1 work continued but in January of 1986, he took a short break to return back to television, fronting flagship BBCTV early morning show 'Breakfast Time'.  It wasn't long before he was back on-air at the BBC's flagship music station instead.  But television work was not to end.  He worked alongside Floella Benjamin on the stunt driving show 'Driving Force' during the same year.  

Mike became the Radio 1 Breakfast Show presenter, appearing on-air from 7:00am-9:00am Monday to Friday during 1986.  Just a couple of days after taking on the show, he also presented a week long set of shows from the Rock Festival of Montreaux, interviewing some of the largest pop and rock icons of the day.  He picked up two more Sony Awards for his work presenting the Radio 1 Breakfast show in 1986 & 1987.

Back on the 'Late Late Breakfast Show' - a show at the forefront of the development of today's Saturday night telly with stunts and live outside broadcasts, in the November of that year, Richard Smith, a member of the public brought into perform a world-record breaking car jump, crashed suffering head and back injuries.  The show, with Mike at the OB, was almost scrapped by Auntie.  However, it was concluded to be a rather nasty 'accident' by all concerned.  

Whilst Richard said very little, another previous show contestant proclaimed suffering alleged broken bones when taking part in a human canon-ball stunt back in 1983.  The Government's Safety Executive threatened the Beeb with legal action regarding another stunt involving saving a contestant from the top of a chimney before it was blown up.  Just a few days before another show aired, 13th November, Mike was working on an OB - contestant Michael Lush was killed after falling from a rope descent before a crate he'd previously been in, exploded.   Mike Smith, clearly upset at the events, stayed off his Radio 1 show the following day.   Both Noel and Mike made a personal visit to Michael's family to give condolencies.  The Late Late Breakfast Show' and Paul Daniel's Every Second Counts, were replaced with 'One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing' on BBC1 on the 15th November 1986.  Both men's TV careers were arguably precarious - the show was axed immediately.   By January 1987, a jury returned and recorded a verdict of death by misadventure - the death was due to poor safety precautions.  Mike Smith's autobiography 'Mike Smith, Noel Edmonds: The Unauthorised Biography'  includes Mike's feelings of being blamed for the accident in some way.  Noel presented his usual Christmas show that year without any banter with 'Smithy' which could be related to the axed show.  But Mike did work on the show, by way of pre-recorded items.  This was the last time that the two would work together as presenters on a television show - it's not believed they've met since.  Mike's television work continued with 'Secrets Out' - a mime-based show with the cast of Grange Hill on the panel, aired on the BBC in 1986 and a late 1980s ITV show 'Trick or Treat' fronted by Mike Smith & Julian Clary.  

Neither Noel or Mike had any long term effects to their TV or radio careers (respectively) though.  The man whom Diana, Princess of Wales declared was her favourite radio DJ had even more things to come.  However, he finished work at Radio 1, leaving the Breakfast show in the hands of Simon Mayo and presenting his last Top Of The Pops in 1988.  At the time, Radio 1 was going through considerable changes, with a lot of the big names leaving the building for the last time, courtesy of Matthew Bannister, then the PC of the station.  Mike attributed the fall of the station partially to Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse's characters Radio FAB FM's Smashey & Nicey, parodies of a host of Radio DJs. 

In the February of 1988, no doubt having been spurred on, enjoying a few trips with Noel Edmonds, Mike concluded flying lessons and purchased a two-seater helicopter.  On 10th September 1988, having been visiting friends in Cheltenham, Mike and his then partner, ex-Blue Peter presenter & host of 'Going Live', Sarah Greene were seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire.  Sarah broke both legs and one arm, when the helicopter that Mike was flying hit some trees as he came in to land.  Mike broke his back and an ankle.  Pulled in a conscious state, from the wreckage by bystanders, (who later remarked on a sudden loss of power before the helicopter crashed) both went to a local hospital and after treatment, were quickly declared to be in a satisfactory condition.  They stayed in hospital for a month, but Sarah returned to Saturday morning telly sporting her plaster cast - something which became a feature of the show.  A subsequent Civil Aviation Authority investigation  cleared Mike of any blame - (who continued to fl), the couple became engaged soon after recovering and were married in 1989.  

February 1989 saw Mike present a live travel and leisure programme 'Transit' along with current SKY news anchorwoman, and ex-BBC radio and TV news presenter Vivien Creegor.  In 1990, Mike began filming what is probably his most successful TV show - the highly popular entertainment quiz 'That's Showbusiness', aired primetime on BBC1 with celebrity panels led by Gloria Hunniford and Kenny Everett.  (The show ran until 1996).

Also in 1989, Charles Dunstone launched The Carphone Warehouse, a business which also included the Mike's behind the scenes input.  He went on to spent most of the next decade fronting the commercial advertising for the company, providing voiceovers using The Stereo MC's hit 'Connected'.  It's believed that, in July 2000,  he made about 2m from the flotation of the mobile phone retailer.  He was granted options on four million shares, which, prior to launch, were expected to start at around 170 to 220p each.  

On October 31st 1992, the BBC produced and screened a show called 'Ghostwatch' - starring Michael Parkinson, Mike Smith, Sarah Greene and Craig Charles.  The show featured the team and backroom staff on a 'live' ghost spotting hunt, with Sarah as a roving reporter - a sort of 'Living TV Most Haunted' piilot if you like.  The history of the premises being studied is gradually shown, noises, bumps and crashes and all.  With frightening results, apparently shown live, after the event, it transpired that the 'live' show was infact actually a BBC drama and therefore not factual at all.

Mike returned to ITV in the mid 90s hosting what could arguably be described as a variation and an up-tempo version of the Krypton Factor, 'Body Heat' with co-hosts rugby star Jeremy Guscott and athlete Sally Gunnell.  His most recent TV appearance was in the BBC1 science programme Dream Wheels in 2000.   He's also appeared alongside his wife on the property price guessing game show hosted by Yvette Fielding, 'Under Offer', with both using their experience in the property market no doubt.   

Unusually, AIRCHECK research has concluded Mike's work in films:  He was a Limo Driver in Big Fat Liar (2002), an Enforcer Commander in Equilibrium (2002), a Knox Thug in Charlie's Angels (2002), a TV presenter along with Sarah too in The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997), he was the Associate Producer of the 1996 movie Santa Claws, the Director for 1994's 24th International Tournee of Animation, involved in animation behind Natural Born Killers (1994), and he was a Police Officer in the 1984 movie Killpoint.  Cameo roles, but roles nevertheless, if he wasn't involved behind the scenes somewhere.  

Whereabouts:   Mike is a former professional car & truck racing driver - he is now a regular after-dinner speaker and is signed up to http://www.speakers-uk.com, with Northampton based Lawrence Wheeler Agency www.lawrencewheeleragency.co.uk and www.entertainment-vip.co.uk/speakers/tv.htm to be hired for the same.  He's previously been on the books at www.yaketyyak.co.uk for the very same.   Having won a mantlepiece worth of Sony Awards, during the 1990s, he served on the panel of judges for the Awards themselves and is still amongst the list of celebs who work with the Awards organisers.   As you might expect, he is a big radio fan, and listens mostly whilst travelling, through broadband or a plethora of DAB receivers around his home in London.  It's believed that both Sarah & Mike still live in Chiswick W2, with Mike reported to contribute to discussion forums at www.chiswickW4.com 

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