Friday, June 28, 2013

In Memoriam: Peter Merrill - a man of firsts (2013/06/18)


It is with sadness that we pay tribute to yet another great spirit of Springbok Radio, Peter Merrill, who passed away on 18 June 2013.  Peter's was the voice that closed broadcast on the very first day of Springbok Radio on 1 May 1950.  He was involved in numerous programmes, either as actor, director or presenter, and will be fondly remembered by many.  Some of the programmes that carried the Peter Merrill stamp in one way or the other was Dance Time, the programme that closed the first day's broadcast on Springbok Radio,  as presenter,  the Sarie '74 awards which he presented with Elwyn Morris, Pick-A-Box as producer, and he also acted in the very first children's serial on Springbok Radio, namely Jungle Boy.  Peter also joined Esmé Euvrard as presenter of the very popular Springbok Rendezvous, and co-presented The Castle Lager Sportz Quiz.

In 1952 Peter started the first production house, Herrick Merrill Production Studios, with Dean Herrick, and they were involved in the production of the first locally produced soap operas, dramas etc.  The first women's serial Linda's First Love was produced by them from scripts received from Canada.  From their studios the popular programme No Place to Hide also originated, a serial which, according to Peter in an interview with Bea Reed in 1985, "changed the entire supper habits of South Africa."

From the SABC he headed on to Namibia, heading the English Service of the SWABC.

Our condolences to Linda, Peter's wife, and his children, grandchildren, family and friends.  My the memories he created bring you peace.

Retha Buys, Archivist: Springbok RadioSABC Radio Archives

6 comments:

  1. Just heard the sad news that our friend, radio personality, Peter Merrill passed away in June. Peter was not only a personal friend, but he also gave all of we Springbok Radio listeners so much pleasure (as a presenter and/or producer) with shows like: Pick-a-Box, Dance Time, Jungle Boy and Springbok Rendezvous. Charles Segal and I last chatted with Peter on one of our visits to SA - and were surprised to see him at a stall on the Waterfront. It was sad for us to hear that such a talented man was no longer a radio regular.

    Charles very much appreciated his friendship and professional association with Peter through the years. He remembers Peter as a lovely person who gave Charles Segal his first break on Springbok Radio in 1952 - and Peter also gave his brother, Steve Segal, his break on the very popular saturnday show, "Telefun Time". Peter was a very dear friend and his passing is a sad loss for Charles.

    Our sympathies go out to his wife, Linda and his family.

    Colleen & Charles Segal (www.charlessegal.com)

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  2. Dear Colleen and Charles,

    Thank you for your reply to this post. Our condolences to you as his friends as well.

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  3. I remember Peter Merrill very well...from sitting quietly as a mouse in the corner of recording recording studios as a child. My mother, Pat Rosevear Lowe worked with and for him a lot.
    He was lovely with me. A really nice human being as well as a marvellous broadcaster.
    RIP
    Tessa Lowe

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  4. So sad to pick this up - Peter was in charge of Springbok Radio Cape Town when I was production executive. Incredible man - I learned so much about radio from him. Anyone know what happened to the book he was writing?

    RIP Alex Rinquest

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  5. I can remember Peter Merrill even before Springbok Radio, when he was the announcer who introduced the early morning exercises on the English Service, then known as the A Programme.
    Colin Miller

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