One of the few star DJs of the 70s not to be implicated in the Jimmy Savile sex scandal (so far), Dave Cash was born in Chelsea in 1942, although his family moved to Canada by the time he was seven.
While working as a copywriter for a Vancouver-based Men’s Wear Shop, Dave was offered the chance to record a radio voice-over when the original actor assigned to the job became ill. Cash was an instant smash and he was quickly signed up for more commercial work and the occasional presenting stint.
The burgeoning pirate radio scene brought Dave back to Blighty in the early 1960s, and he soon came to the attention of Radio London, where he teamed up with the late, great Kenny Everett for the Kenny & Cash Show, which became enormously popular and influential. The pair issued a 45, with the A-side confusingly titled The B-Side, on Decca in 1965.
Dave left Radio London to join the even more influential Radio Luxembourg before, in 1967 becoming one of the first DJs heard on the fledgling Radio One. And it was here that Cash perpetrated the audio crime I present for you today.
Radio DJs in those days had an endless stream of regular jingles and fictional characters which they used to fill airtime or simply to give them space to think whilst reaching for the next piece of vinyl to whack on the deck. Who can forget Tony Blackburn’s Arnold, Jimmy Young’s Raymondo and the endless cast of crazies which spewed out of Kenny Everett’s fertile mind? Amongst Cash’s repertoire was a winsome toddler known as Microbe.
The voice of Microbe was performed by Ian Doody, who was son of Radio 1 newsreader Pat Doody. A huge hit on the show, his catch phrases (the ‘Knock Knock’ joke about Doctor Who and his signature ‘Groovy Baby’) are still known today by a generation (people of my age) who grew up next to the radio.
But Cash and Doody weren’t satisfied with radio stardom for Microbe – they wanted something bigger so, in 1969, the three year old Ian Doody was dragged off into a recording studio – along with backing singers Madeline Bell, Leslie Duncan and (allegedly) Dusty Springfield (although this seems highly unlikely as her career had recently been revitalised and she was making it big in the States at the time) to record Groovy Baby. Issued by CBS in the UK, by May of that year the single had reached the heady heights of number 29 in the charts. The song’s B-side Your Turn Now was credited to the Microbop Ensemble and featured Cash himself offering listeners the chance to imitate Microbe for their own amusement.
Cash left the BBC for Independent Local radio (ILR) in 1973, first at Capital where, with Everett, he relaunched the Kenny & Cash Show, before resigning in 1994 to spend more time writing and to develop his other interests. After six years he rejoined the BBC, presenting programmes for Radio Kent, Radio Cambridgeshire, and Radio Essex.