Peter was born in Belfast. His name and face may not be as familiar as his voice, which has featured in some of the biggest UK TV entertainment shows. He was educated at The Belfast Royal Academy and obtained a Bachelor of Arts honours degree from Queen’s University, Belfast. Peter possibly holds the record for youngest ever continuity announcer on UK TV: at the age of 17, he joined BBC Northern Ireland, whilst still at school.

During his initial four years with the BBC (1975 to 1978), he was a newsreader on Scene Around Six with Barry Cowan and Sean Rafferty; he also covered other TV news broadcasts including the news at closedown on BBC One Northern Ireland.

On leaving university, Peter joined BBC Northern Ireland on contract under Mike Baguley in the presentation department. He presented programmes and read the news as well as performing continuity duties for BBC Radio Ulster. He then moved to BBC TV presentation, working with what he describes as “two Ulster broadcasting legends”: David Gamble and Mike Nunan. He later became a reporter on Good Morning Ulster on BBC Radio Ulster before transferring to BBC Radio 2 in 1982 to take up a contract position as an announcer in the presentation department under Iain Purdon.

Over the years, Peter has presented various music and entertainment shows for BBC Radio:

  • You and the Night and the Music (BBC Radio 2, 1983 – 1984);
  • Nightride (BBC Radio 2, 1984 – 1986);
  • Peter Dickson’s Nightcap (BBC Radio 2, 1986 – 1989);
  • He filled in for Gloria Hunniford on her BBC Radio 2 show;
  • He provided many of the voices on The Steve Wright Show (BBC Radio 1);
  • Newsbeat (BBC Radio 1);
  • He read the quotations on Quote…Unquote (BBC Radio 4, 1995 – 1996);
  • He played various characters in the comedy series The Department (BBC Radio 4, 2004 – 2006).

In 1991, Peter launched Melody Radio in London with Lord Hanson; he also worked on the station’s breakfast show.

He was one of the main voices on programme promotions on BBC One for six years (1983 – 1989). He also voiced programme promotions for many other TV networks, including: ITV; Channel 4; Channel 5; The History Channel; Performance TV; The Biography Channel; Nickleodeon; National Geographic; UK Play; Challenge TV; Sky One; Disney Channel; TNT Classic Movies; BBC World; UKTV Gold; UK Horizons; Meridian; Sky Movies. Since 1998, he has narrated over 250 documentaries for the Discovery Channel. In 2006, he became the brand voice of youth channel E4.

Peter’s voiceover talent has seen him involved with many high-profile TV shows, including:

  • Steve Wright’s People Show (BBC One, 1994);
  • They Think It’s All Over (BBC One, eleven series);
  • Bruce’s Price is Right (ITV, seven series);
  • Today with Des and Mel (ITV);
  • Test the Nation (BBC One);
  • Catchphrase (ITV, 2001 – 2002);
  • Family Fortunes (ITV);
  • All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 2007 – 2014);
  • Late Night with Jerry Springer (ITV/Channel 5);
  • It’s Not the Answer (ITV);
  • Record of the Year (ITV);
  • Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV);
  • The X Factor (ITV, 2004 – present);
  • The Xtra Factor (ITV, 2004 – present);
  • Brainiac: Science Abuse (Sky One, 2005 – 2008);
  • The Paul O’Grady Show (ITV, 2005 – 2008);
  • Live at The Apollo (BBC One, 2007 – present);
  • Britain’s Got Talent (ITV, 2007 – 2015);
  • Soapstar Superstar (ITV, 2007);
  • Soapstar Superchef (ITV, 2007);
  • Gameshow Marathon (ITV, 2007);
  • Hole in the Wall (BBC One, 2008);
  • Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding Dong (2008);
  • All Star Mr and Mrs (ITV, 2008 – 2016);
  • Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC One, 2009 – 2010);
  • Chris Moyles Quiz Night (Channel 4, 2009 – 2012);
  • TV Burp (ITV, 2010);
  • The 5 o’Clock News (Channel 4, 2010);
  • Britain’s Got More Talent (ITV 2, 2012 – 2018).

Peter also provided voices for the following:

  • The Sooty Show (ITV, eleven series);
  • Hedz (BBC, 2007 – 2011);
  • Ooglies (2009 – 2015);
  • Teethgrinder (2009);
  • Mission 2110 (2010);
  • Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small (2015).

He has narrated documentaries, including many of the highest-rating productions from the Discovery Channel, including FBI Files. In 2013, Peter famously gave the nation’s favourite glove puppet, Sooty, a voice, after a silence of almost 60 years.

Peter has voiced over 30,000 radio and television commercials. He has been the host and voice at many high-profile events including The Queen’s Birthday Party (2018), The C4 Comedy Gala at the O2 and the Centrepoint Kensington Palace Ball.

Peter has also written for various television productions, including: The Fast Show (BBC); Play Your Cards Right (ITV); Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC Two). He also appeared in Harry Enfield and Chums (BBC One).

Peter is a UK ambassador for youth homeless charity Centrepoint. He actively supports: The RAF Benevolent Fund, Comic Relief, Sport Relief, The Stroke Association, Stand Up to Cancer and the NSPCC.


Correspondence

Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Peter in July 2019. Paul asked Peter for memories from the early days of his career: “On my first day in BBC Northern Ireland TV continuity, I was given a guided tour around the suite. It was all pretty standard stuff. Audio and video quadrant faders on a standard broadcast desk, lots of flashing lights, bells, whistles, switches, monitors showing telecine and VT sources, network output, OB sources, other studio sources, ashtray, sick bowl, bicycle clips, toilet roll, hip flask and last but not least the famous BBC One TV revolving world…which was nowhere to be seen. I asked Mike Nunan, the senior announcer, where it was.

“He led me out to a technical area and there in a corner was a wooden box with a hinged lid about the size of a Dansette record player. It was so unprepossessing that one could walk past it and hardly notice it there. “Voila!” – Mike had lifted the lid to reveal the contents. It was a Dansette record player, but with several astonishing modifications. The silver spindle had been shortened, by someone who evidently specialised in shortening the barrels of shotguns – this was Belfast in the 1970s after all.

“Perched on top of the spindle was a ping pong ball (I’m not kidding), on which had been drawn, in black felt tip pen, a map of the world, rather like a globe. To the rear, was a concave mirror and in front, a small black and white camera pointing at it. The picture from this camera was fed into another box of tricks that coloured the land masses yellow and made the oceans blue.

“It was an incredible bit of 1970’s Heath Robinson botched up engineering – which actually worked. It must have cost all of 10 shillings and sixpence, (kids, that’s around 56p or 0.000001% of a BitCoin). Today, interstitial video graphics, imaging and network branding cost the broadcast networks millions of pounds. The contrast with 1975, couldn’t be more dazzlingly stark.

“Several months later, I am ashamed to say, I maliciously took a black felt tip pen to the ping pong ball globe and added my very own island to the west of Galway, in mid-Atlantic. Amazingly, no one noticed. I dined out on that one for years. I also took delight in phoning friends at home and telling them to watch BBC One, while I switched the Dansette from 33 to 45 RPM! That’s how I rolled back then.”

 

Personal Information

Date of Birth: 23rd June 1957
Age: 63
Honours: Not Applicable


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Acknowledgements

FEATURE IMAGE:

PICTURED: Peter Dickson. SUPPLIED BY: Peter Dickson. COPYRIGHT: Peter Dickson.

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