Determined to find a career in the world of entertainment the young Paddy Feeny tried his hand at acting and was, by his own assessment, one of the worst thespians ever to tread the stage. He appeared in a BBC radio play and spent some time in repertory but eventually opted for a change of direction, obtaining a post as studio manager with BBC European Services. When the opportunity arose for a shot at being a sports presenter he enthusiastically stepped for ward and on 9th May 1959, from a studio in Bush House, he presented his first show. With a few changes en route the show became Saturday Special, broadcasting highlights of British sport across the globe via the BBC World Service. Astonishingly, Feeny was to present the programme for 36 years, his last show being on 24 June 1995.
Patrick Dalrymple Feeny was born in Liverpool on 25th April 1931, the third child of Howard Raymond John Feeny and Frances Kate Muspratt. His mother was the daughter of Sir Max Muspratt, 1st Baronet, a prominent Liverpool chemist, businessman and Liberal M.P. At the time of Paddy’s birth his family lived at 2 Aigbuth Vale L17, later moving to 17 Fulwood Park L17 (this house standing opposite Max Muspratt’s imposing mansion ‘The Grange’). By the outbreak of war in 1939 the family moved to Worcestershire and Paddy was sent to school at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.
His BBC career embraced a wide range of programmes. He was particularly associated with Top of the Form, the general knowledge quiz for schools, appearing with Geoffrey Wheeler on the TV version (1963-66) and with Tim Gudgin on the radio (1978-85). Probably his most familiar TV role was as presenter of Young Scientist of the Year (1966-78). His other productions included Children’s Favourites (later known as Junior Choice), Records Round the World (with Judith Chalmers) and Give Us a Conch, Radio 2 natural history quiz.
Paddy Feeny died on 10th June 2018 aged 87.
Paddy Feeny's family home at the time of his birth in 1931.
The Feeny family home during the 1930'. It stood opposite Paddy Feeny's grandfather's imposing mansion 'The Grange'.
The Wikipedia entry is very basic. There is a good account of his career on Random Radio Jottings ( a site on radio and TV written by Andy Walmsley). There is an episode of 'Top of the Form' from 1980 on YouTube. A BBC tribute to Feeny - 'a genius on air' - is available on BBC Sounds.
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