Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith dies at 59
Former BBC Radio 1 breakfast show DJ Mike Smith has died aged 59.He died on Friday after complications from major heart surgery, his aerial filming company, Flying TV, said. Smith spent six years at Radio 1 between 1982 and 1988, and was also a presenter on Top of the Pops and hosted the BBC’s coverage of Live Aid.
His wife of 25 years, the TV presenter Sarah Greene, said she would like to thank hospital staff for their care and compassion.
She asked for her family and friends to be allowed to mourn in peace.
Smith joined BBC Radio 1 from Capital Radio in 1982. He then graduated to the breakfast show, taking over from Mike Read in May 1986.
He did the job for two years, during which time Diana, Princess of Wales, declared he was her favourite DJ.
He and Greene hit the headlines in September 1988 when they were both seriously injured in a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire. Smith, who was piloting the aircraft, crashed it into some trees.
Both survived but Greene broke both her legs and an arm, while Smith suffered a suffered a broken back and ankle.
The couple became engaged soon after the crash and were married a year later.
Smith, who was born in Essex, was also well known for his TV appearances in the 1980s on the BBC’s Breakfast Time, and The Late, Late Breakfast Show alongside Noel Edmonds.
Smith was known for his sense of humour, an once told listeners during a radio programme broadcast on April Fools Day that “Prince” would be appearing live on the show. However instead of the reclusive pop legend his guest was actually Prince Edward.
Former BBC Radio 1 controller Johnny Beerling said that Smith was a “versatile broadcaster” and a “very original one”. “He was a good lad and I miss him,” he said.
Smith founded his company, which supplies aerial shots for UK broadcasters, in 2003.
Over the past decade, the firm was responsible for much of the aerial footage that appeared on British TV shows – often made with Smith himself at the controls of the helicopter.
He had rarely appeared on TV or radio in recent years – instead focusing on his business – but was interviewed in 2010 by Chris Moyles for a BBC documentary about Radio 1 breakfast show presenters.
Smith said at the time: “I miss radio tremendously, TV not so much.
“Radio has a contact with the audience in a very special way. It’s a privilege to be allowed into people’s lives.”