Share your love of pop music with ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton on Saga’s Canaries to Casablanca cruise

The Saga Sapphire  (Photo Jim the Geordie at Jim's Tyneside photo blog)Radio and TV broadcaster ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton has so many stories about compering shows for The Beatles, Cliff Richard, The Rolling Stones and David Cassidy that he is likely to need more than a fortnight on Saga Sapphire’s Canaries to Casablanca cruise to tell them all.

David, whose BBC Radio 2 afternoon show in the 1970s drew the biggest audiences of the day, will be sharing his memories and delivering a lively presentation on the ‘History of Radio’ during the 14-night sailing from Southampton on December 1, 2016.

He said: “I was so lucky to be working on Top of the Pops during the 1970s, they were such fun times. I also compered many concerts for big-name stars like David Cassidy.”

As you’d expect given his job, David loves to talk and he says he is looking forward to meeting passengers on Saga Sapphire. He said: “There will be a Q&A session but I know sometimes people are not always comfortable asking questions in front of an audience and they come up to me later to chat, perhaps on the deck or at dinner, and I really like that.”

David has been on several cruises but never on a winter sun sailing. He said: “I love sunshine and the idea of getting away from the shivering cold in December is very appealing.

“I am a keen swimmer so I will probably use the pool once we sail into the warmer places like Madeira.”

He added: “My wife Dreena will be joining me. She is a very enthusiastic cruise guest, so as well as the talks and sunbathing, we like to take a few excursions. Mrs H also rather likes the shopping!”

David says his History of Radio talk starts from the Light programme, Radio Luxembourg and the pirate radio stations through to the launch of Radio One. He said: “The music of the 60s and 70s were the very best in my opinion – we didn’t want our parents’ music, we wanted our own sounds.”

David came into the music industry by accident. At 18 he was already a promising television scriptwriter but he was called up for National Service and posted to Cologne, in Germany. He said: “I wasn’t very happy, I was doing well in my career and I had to take a cut in money.

“I told my commanding officer I was a writer and asked if there was anything I could do. He gave me the job of reading the football scores on forces radio. I was pleased about that as I am a Fulham FC fan but the music on that station was for the officers – all old stuff.

“I asked if we could add some rock ‘n’ roll music to the programme, such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, but I don’t think he knew what I was talking about what.

“He said I could give it a go and it was such a hit that my career went from there.

“Elvis, at the time, was serving in Frankfurt. I didn’t get to see him but Connie Francis came to our base, promoting her song Lipstick On My Collar and I was star-struck!

“Cliff Richard was one of the first singers I worked with to promote the song Move It. I immediately thought ‘what a nice guy’. We were both teenagers then but I have never changed my first impression of him. Yes, a really good guy and what a career!”

David went on to conduct one of the first TV interviews with The Beatles in 1963 and he introduced them when they topped the bill in Urmston, Manchester.

A year later he compered The Rolling Stones at the Palace Theatre, in Manchester. “They were wonderful, exciting times,” he said. “Unfortunately, I parked my lovely little red MGB sports car outside the Palace Theatre and when I got back a Mick Jagger fan had scratched a message in big letters ‘I love you Mick’ – obviously thinking it was his car.

“It took me a week before I could get it sorted so I did feel a bit odd driving around with that written on the bonnet.”

Diddy David, who is now a grandfather to nine children aged one to 16, got his nickname from comedian Ken Dodd. He said: “I working on his show and he said ‘do you mind if I call you Diddy? I think it might stick.’ The show was broadcast to millions of viewers on Saturday night TV and he was right, I have had the nickname for 45 years!”

David is now touring the UK with his own show, David Hamilton’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Back the Years, which features a band and three singers plus David as compere.

He said: “Tribute shows have become very popular and this one is a tribute to everyone! It features the music that most of us grew up with starting from rock ’n’ roll through to the 60s.

“At the end of the show, I walk onto the stage wearing a gold lamé suit and sing Great Balls of Fire!

“Will I wear it on the Saga cruise? I will if they ask me!”

The all-inclusive Canaries to Casablanca cruise departs from Southampton on December 1, 2016. 14 nights from £1,959 and ports of call include Madeira; Santa Cruz, Tenerife; San Sebastian, La Gomera; Las Palmas; Agadir, Morroco; Casablanca and Ferrol, Spain.

Price includes UK travel package to and from Southampton, all meals and entertainment, selected house-brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and a choice of table wines at lunch and dinner, afternoon tea, 24-hour room service, welcome cocktail party, unlimited tea and coffee in selected venues, free wifi, all on-board gratuities, porterage, free shuttle bus to nearest town centre (whenever possible and when the ship is berthed more than 500 yards away), optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a discount if passenger has own insurance.

‘Price based on two people sharing an Inside Guarantee where you will receive your cabin number shortly before sailing (or at embakation) and not at the time of booking. Your cabin may be located anywhere on the ship and twin cabins may have two single beds or one double bed. Further terms and conditions apply. Fare was correct at the time of going to print and is subject to availability and change.