One of the insults aimed at us teachers, since the days when looking after and educating your bairns was deemed a noble profession worthy of thanks and praise, is that we are ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.

This is generally followed by the well-worn adage of ‘those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.’ of which, I concede, there may be an element of truth.

That said, many of us educators over 30, who have not been fast-tracked to management, have other trades, skills or strings to our bows, used long before the allure of the classroom came knocking.

One of my skills is radio presenting. For over 20 or so years I presented weekly shows on Hospital radio, amateur radio and, very nearly, commercial radio (choosing not to take on the ‘gig’ as the pay was well under the minimum wage).

As an art form, it is unparalleled. Without the ability to offer gloss and FX, the presenter, if not worth their mettle, is soon found out. Sadly, just a few months into the new year, we are mourning the loss of the two greatest DJs of the last quarter century.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis used to present on Hospital radioBrett Ellis used to present on Hospital radio

I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Wright and remember fondly listening to him, non-confrontational and having a laugh, as he entertained the masses, day after day and year after year.

Just as sad, although not a death, is the wonderful Frank Skinner who, while not a DJ, has lasted 15 years on Absolute radio to become the most talented, at ease with himself and funny radio presenters I have ever heard in my half a century on planet earth.

I listened a few weeks ago, in my car, as Frank explained how he was informed he and his team’s contract would not be renewed. Aged 67, Frank is as bright as a button and his comedy is a ‘creeper’.

Frank is acutely intelligent with his humour: he will say something, and the penny will not drop with others for a good few seconds, as he continues to regale with amusing stories, observations and anecdotes, weaving a rich comedic tapestry that other comedians and radio presenters can only dream of.

Sadly, after many decades of listening to Absolute radio, I will be an ex-listener this month as I undertake a protest against a decision that, although not as bad as the Decca chap who turned down the Beatles, is rank lunacy, undertaken by some work experience dweeb who seems hell-bent on changing the corporate culture of a radio station that had found the perfect blend.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.