Journalist and broadcaster;
Born: November 29, 1929; Died: September 12, 2012.
Derek Jameson, who has died aged 82 of a heart attack, was a journalist who edited three national newspapers before going on to carve a successful second career as a TV and radio presenter. He ran the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the News of the World and was also managing editor of the Daily Mirror before his avuncular, Cockney charm saw him achieve success as a broadcaster.
As a breakfast show presenter (his catchphrase was "Morning, morning, Jameson here") on BBC Radio 2 between 1986 and 1991, his simple but opinionated presenting style grated with some but won him an audience of 10 million at the peak of his popularity.
He was born in poverty in London's East End where, without parents, he grew up in a children's home before being evacuated during the Second World War to Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire. He started work in Fleet Street as a copy boy with Reuters at the age of 14.
Rising through the ranks he developed a reputation as a circulation builder and, asked to launch the Daily Star – the first new national tabloid for 75 years – he took it to more than one million copies within a year.
He also put on half a million readers at the Daily Express, which languished at less than two million when he joined it.
But in 1984 he found himself broke and unemployed. Rupert Murdoch had fired him because of differences at the News of the World and he then lost all his money in a disastrous libel action against the BBC.
He launched the lawsuit after Radio 4 called him "an East End boy made bad".
However it was the BBC, recognising his gifts as a communicator, which turned him into a celebrity with television series such as Do They Mean Us? for BBC 2 and his popular breakfast show on Radio 2.
He went on to host the Monday to Thursday late-night show, The Jamesons, along with his wife, Ellen, establishing the largest late-night radio audience in Europe. In 1988 he began presenting the BBC 1 television show People and he also had his own nightly chat show on Sky TV, Jameson Tonight, and also presented Headliners for Thames TV.
He told his story in his best-selling autobiography Touched by Angels, with the second volume Last of the Hot Metal Men chronicling the dying days of the old Fleet Street.
Much of his fame rested on his gravelly Cockney voice, which he regarded as unique because it contained elements of Manchester, where he worked for eight years, and wartime days from his time as an evacuee in Hertfordshire.
He told how when he rang directory enquiries on one occasion the operator asked: "Is that Derek Jameson?"
After retiring from broadcasting, he wrote a weekly column in the Brighton Argus until October 2000, as well as columns in The Oldie magazine and website Retirement Matters.
At the height of his fame the author Auberon Waugh called Mr Jameson "the second most famous man in Britain – after Prince Charles".
He was also described as the "least boring speaker in Britain" by the Guild of Toastmasters and "a great natural broadcaster" by Sir Terry Wogan.
In 2010 he took part in BBC's The Young Ones, in which six celebrities in their 70s and 80s attempted to overcome some of the problems of ageing by harking back to the 1970s.
The Jamesons moved to Miami Beach, Florida, in the early 2000s but he missed England and his family and they moved back to southern England.
With Ellen he co-authored a book about their daughter-in-law Siobhan's battle against cancer called Siobhan's Miracle.
Mr Jameson had suffered health problems for most of this year. He leaves Ellen, his third wife, and four adult children.
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