Glen is a voiceover artist/presenter who found fame with his knowledgeable introductions to Dr Who, Blake’s 7 and other cult shows on UK Gold.
His first television appearance was in 1996, providing in-vision continuity on UK Gold and fronting his own Before They Were Famous-type show – Familiar Faces. In 1997 he had a close shave with Rod Hull and Emu in the series A Flare for the Seventies.
He has worked on screen with Elisabeth Sladen (The Sarah Jane Adventures), Leslie Grantham, June Brown and Gretchen Franklin (EastEnders) and wrote a specially shot episode of EastEnders for them.
Glen joined UK Gold in 1993 and became the voice of the channel in its very first year; he remained there until late-1997.
He then moved to BBC TV, providing continuity announcements for network BBC One and BBC Two. He was also one of the core team of announcers at the launch of BBC Choice. During his time at the BBC he featured in Welcome to Digital with ‘Loose Woman’ Kaye Adams, where he was bound, gagged and kidnapped!
He moved from BBC TV to Channel 5 in 2003, providing live continuity and attracting a new fan base. He was somewhat amused at his Facebook fan club, mainly thanks to Neighbours fans. Unsure who he was, they labelled it ‘The Channel 5 pre-/post-Neighbours announcer man is awesome’.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Glen in September 2017.
How did you get involved in broadcasting?
“My first on-screen appearance was in 1996 with the in-vision pieces, but I joined UK Gold in 1993, a few months after they launched, to do their continuity. I can’t remember the exact date but it was at the time they changed their ‘Goldie the dog’ idents to the next ‘blue silk’ idents. I remember the audition because I thought I’d messed it up.
“I was sat in the continuity booth and one of the producers, Eric, was playing in menus and idents from the edit suite (Edit B as it was called at Molinaire in Fouberts Place, London – where UK Gold broadcast from) and I had to script a menu – something for the end credits of a programme and an ident into the next programme. Well I got flustered, had written too much and found I was still talking about the menu when the ident popped up. My timings were out! Anyway Eric came in and said: ‘We had a problem with the tape, can we do it again?’ So we did and I got it right that time. I’m fairly sure there was nothing wrong with the tape and they were just giving me another chance. Eric always reminds me to this day that ‘I got you your job.'”
When did you leave UK Gold and how did you end up at the BBC?
“It was late 1997, August I think. UK Gold had been bought out by a Flextech/BBC joint venture (I think) and as I recall the options were to join Flextech where there was talk of a UK Gold 2, or the BBC. Anyway I and several others went to the BBC. I auditioned and got the job, so I was then doing my thing on BBC One and Two. It was while I was there that in 1999 the BBC began testing out digital channels with the launch of BBC Choice. It had a small audience but I was chosen along with a few others to be the voices of the channel. It was to be more accessible and interactive. (I remember going to see one of the bosses, so that we announcers could have our own e-mail addresses that viewers could contact us while on air). So my time at BBC Choice was at the same time as doing BBC One and Two, which would be September 1997 – August 2003. I remember because ‘Dirty Den’ was about to return to EastEnders [Editor’s note: this episode of EastEnders was transmitted 29th September 2003]. It then transformed into BBC Three.
“I began working on MGM HD – a Sky channel showing the back catalogue from Hollywood’s biggest studios – in 2010. At that time, I was doing both Channel 5 and MGM, although this was not to last as a rebrand of Channel 5 meant that there were changes to the continuity team and I left the channel, continuing to work for MGM HD until it closed down in 2014. The final announcement I made for them was thanking viewers for their support and then (via some cheeky sound effects) the sound of the MGM lion being released into the studios, where I yelped, shouted goodbye and ran for my life.”
Any ‘breaking news’ stories whilst you were in the announcer’s chair?
“Back in 1997, I was at UK Gold. It was a Sunday morning and the news came through that Diana, Princess of Wales had died. I got a call from that week’s editor, Rachel, and she and I rushed into UK Gold and frantically began going through every programme that was due to go out on that day. Most were fine, but one or two episodes of shows had to be edited or pulled from transmission. The first was a Jasper Carrot stand-up routine and while the detail is a little blurry now, it featured Jasper making a comment about speeding cars and ‘Who wants to drive at 100mph anyway…apart from Princess Anne!’ So that had to go.
“The other was an Alas Smith and Jones sketch that had Griff Rhys Jones sat in a crushed car saying ‘Vorsprung Dutch technic’, so that had to be cut too. The strangest thing was a decision to replace the Sunday omnibus of Doctor Who. It was called The Armageddon Factor, starring Tom Baker and featured Lalla Ward as Astra, a Princess who was in grave peril and dies in the final episode. (Although then comes back to life at the very end). It was decided this was unsuitable to show and so I found myself on my hands and knees in the library desperately trying to find another six-part episode of Doctor Who to fill the gap. (Six-parters were not that common and most tapes were sent back after broadcast). The only one I could find was Jon Pertwee’s final story, Planet of the Spiders, so that was rushed into transmission and broadcast instead. It must be the only time that a continuity announcer was responsible for choosing what was to be broadcast and of course would never happen today.
“Ironically, this year, 25 years later, I was surprised to learn that now fans have had time to think about this decision, some thought it was a bad one. Why? Because in episode two of Planet of the Spiders there is a long car chase and in episode six, The Doctor dies. Well of course he doesn’t die, he ‘regenerates’ into Tom Baker, and if we had to pull every programme with a car chase, even ones that didn’t end in a fatality, then we’d have had to pull every episode of The Bill and anything else that was going out.”
What are you doing now?
“I am working on Challenge TV, the home of the game shows and it very much suits my style and sense of humour. We have fun with the programmes but don’t take the mickey out of them, well not too much. The style of continuity is much more of a host, so I have fun asking trivia questions, wondering how Bullseye manages to split a fitted kitchen between two friends, or announcing my undying love for Anne Hegerty from The Chase!”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Glen 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.
BBC Two continuity from Glen.
Glen is kidnapped from the BBC continuity booth.
PICTURED: Glen Allen. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.