Born in Zimbabwe, Clive began broadcasting on Rhodesian radio at the age of seven, on schools and children’s programmes. He listened to the BBC Overseas Service as a child. He had a crush on the actress June Tobin and wanted to go to RADA where she had been trained. He left Zimbabwe in December 1951 on the City of Canterbury ship and arrived in London on the 19th January 1952. His mother was Muriel Rosin, one of three women to enter Parliament during the colonial era and the only woman to enter Parliament in the Federal Government in Rhodesia. His father was Kipps Rosin a renowned surgeon of his time. His father got him to change the family name, adding the ‘l’ to become ‘Roslin’.
His father wanted him to go to Cambridge but, after successfully being selected, Clive chose not to take up his place and instead went to RADA (1953 – 1955), where fellow pupils included Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Roy Kinnear and Virginia Maskell. He got in touch with Aidan McDermott who gave him a job in the General Overseas Service presentation dept at 200 Oxford Street, in 1957, first as a freelance and then on contract. In 1962, he switched to BBC TV as an announcer and in 1964 he auditioned for Rowan Ayres, assistant head of presentation, who was in charge of BBC Two and was selected as one of the two voices/faces of BBC Two presentation (along with Mel Oxley). In 1965, Clive made an appearance as an announcer (pre-recorded) on Dr Finlay’s Casebook (The Longest Visit, series 4, episode 4) and was the newsreader on Solo (1982 and 1984). He was one of the regional presenters on BBC TV’s Come Dancing (1969) and scorer on Top of the Form (1969). He returned to BBC TV as an announcer in 1978 and remained until April 1983.
Clive also presented on the BBC Light Programme – Twelve o’Clock Spin, International Spin and Pop Around the World (1963 – 1965). He was part of the launch team on London’s LBC hosting The Afternoon Show (1973) and co-hosting with Douglas Cameron on AM (1974 – 1978). He was a BBC Radio 4 announcer from 1983 until he retired in July 1991. Since 2012, he has presented Jewish News on Sunday Jewish Radio. He is an Elder of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation and served for three years on the Mahamad. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1996; following treatment, he made a full recovery. Clive’s daughter is broadcaster Gaby Roslin, who he used to take along to watch his friend Valerie Singleton present Blue Peter.
Paul R. Jackson bumped into Gaby Roslin whilst working at the Pride of Britain Awards and asked about the possibility of meeting up with her father to talk about his career. She kindly arranged contact and a few weeks later Paul and Clive met for a coffee in the piazza near New Broadcasting House, in November 2017.
What Are Your Stand Out Memories from Your Long Career?
“I believe I am still the youngest newsreader to appear on the World Service (then the Overseas Service) when Jack de Manio, who liked a few drinks, turned up drunk and couldn’t read the news, so I was asked to step in at short notice. My first record show was on the General Overseas Service called Entente Cordiale, which I presented with a girl called Chantal Mampoullan (from Mauritius). We played English and French hits of the same songs. Great fun and it ran for quite a long time. During the late-1950s, I auditioned alongside Michael Aspel and John Trevor, as an in-vision announcer for BBC TV. I didn’t own my own dinner jacket so had to borrow one. I was not chosen, so returned to radio.”
What Do You Recall of the Early Days of BBC Two?
“I had been announcing on BBC TV, out-of-vision, for a few years when BBC Two started. Channel controller David Attenborough wanted two voices/faces for the new channel and I, alongside Mel Oxley, were chosen. We disliked each other intensely and were very competitive. He introduced a late film with a witty announcement which went down well and then I had to come up with something too. BBC Two was first only broadcast in the London and Manchester regions and we did interviews in-vision and announcements out-of-vision. Vera Lynn was the most delightful I interviewed. I was a colleague and friend of Valerie Solti and agreed with her husband Georg, the line of questions to put to him in an interview. I asked about the hit songs in Mozart’s operas and Attenborough wasn’t pleased that I had used the term ‘hit songs’ to discuss opera.”
What About Your Work on The Light Programme and Presenting Come Dancing?
“BBC Radio bosses liked my voice and asked me to do some programmes and I got permission again from Presentation and got paid on top of my announcer salary. I can’t dance and was so pleased when my team were knocked out.”
How Did You Come to Move to LBC?
“They came and asked me to go and be part of the launch team on a three-month contract for a four-hour show. I wrote to Rowan Ayres and Rex Moorfoot (head of presentation) as I wanted to be above board and they said it was a good opportunity and that I could always come back in future. I did four years with Douglas Cameron on AM then went back to the Afternoon Show and was the last of the original launch presenters in 1978 when they ended my contract. I took up BBC TV Presentation’s offer and went back but after a few years got bored again. The new head of presentation, Malcolm Walker, said I should go to Radio 4, although the money wouldn’t be the same as TV. I met Jim Black, head of presentation, BBC Radio 4, who had wanted me to join for ages so he paid me more than the other newsreaders/announcers and I joined. In 1990, Jim moved to start up BBC Radio Five Live and I was asked to audition and train the young men that he had taken on – one was Chris Aldridge who is now senior announcer at BBC Radio 4. I retired in 1992 and then did some freelance work with BFBS.”
Any Memorable Stories from Your TV Announcing Days?
“I have dyspraxia (a form of developmental coordination disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults and sometimes affects speech) and sometimes I got the time check wrong when showing the clock. Once on a BBC One closedown, instead of putting up a picture of The Queen, I put up the ‘Temporary Fault’ sign and got told off.”
Do You See Any of Your Old Colleagues Now?
“Sadly so many have passed on. The only ex-colleague I see is Roger Maude and that is at Lord’s and we have a casual greeting at Test matches. I have been very fortunate throughout my broadcasting career that there were key men who liked me and took me on at the Overseas Service, BBC TV Presentation, LBC and BBC Radio 4.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Clive which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
Clive Roslin closing down BBC One for the night in July 1982.
Clive Roslin on continuity duty on Christmas Day 1978.
Clive Roslin closes down BBC Two on a Friday night in May 1980.
BBC Two continuity from November 1981, featuring Clive Roslin and Bruce Hammal.
BBC Two late-night continuity, courtesy of Clive Roslin, in 1983.
PICTURED: Clive Roslin. SUPPLIED BY: Paul R. Jackson. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.