'People's champion' BBC radio broadcaster Ed Doolan dies aged 76

Ed Doolan, the first local radio presenter to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame, has died after a long battle with vascular dementia.

Doolan was born in Sydney and has been a broadcaster since 1970 when he first worked for the German World service.

He joined the BBC West Midlands from BRMB Radio in 1982, going on to  present over 9,000 radio shows.

Best known for his consumer affairs programming, Doolan partially retired in 2011. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia a year later.

Doolan held some of the biggest names in politics to account over his storied career and has interviewed almost every prime minister since the 80s.

Memorable interviewees include the likes of Mohammed Ali and Nelson Mandela.

He was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting and charity and became the first person to be awarded an honorary doctorate from all three Birmingham universities.

David Jennings, head of local ad regional programmes for BBC West Midlands, told the BBC: “Ed was a broadcasting giant loved by generations of radio listeners in the West Midlands. On his daily show, he was the people’s champion – tireless in his pursuit of truth and fairness for all.

“Ed faced dementia with indomitable spirit and bravery, raising awareness of the condition and continuing to broadcast on BBC WM every week.”

Doolan’s agent and manager Paul Vaughan said: “We have lost a great champion and a truly skilled and popular broadcaster and newspaper columnist.”

BBC journalist Lizo Mzimba said on Twitter: “Grew up listening to [Ed Doolan] in Bham, and was lucky enough to work alongside him briefly at BBCWM. Such a wonderful broadcaster, who had a brilliant relationship with his listeners.”

Doolan died this morning, aged 76,  with his wife Christine at his side.

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