Youthful radio star

Here’s a brief article from the October 21 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring a 15-year-old British radio personality.

Hughie Green (1920-1997) had a long and sometimes controversial career in radio and television. Before the Second World War, he toured extensively and appeared in movies and cabaret, taking time out to become a father at the age of 17. When war broke out, Green was in North America; he became a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force and later a transport and stunt pilot.

In 1947, he returned to Britain and worked in the aircraft business for a while. In 1949, he created a talent show, Opportunity Knocks, which started in radio and eventually moved to television. The show was widely popular right through the 1970s, but Green gradually started to use it as a platform for his right-wing ideas, which caused it to be cancelled in 1978.

After this, his life did not go well: he sued the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation for allegedly violating his Opportunity Knocks copyright and lost, leaving him with a large legal bill. He had always been a smoker and heavy drinker, and started taking barbiturates; he was diagnosed with cancer in 1993, and it eventually spread to his lungs.

There are a number of Opportunity Knocks links on YouTube. Here’s a show from 1968 featuring Green as host.

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