The 30th April was a very special date for the BBC’s long-running Take the Floor as presenter Robbie Shepherd celebrated his 80th birthday. Robbie has been the voice of the show now for over 35 years, and his rich, Doric dialect makes him instantly recognisable, not only in Scotland, but all around the world.
The programme was a complete joy to put together for the full Take the Floor team. The music came from a most memorable outside broadcast from Robbie’s home village of Dunecht, featuring Iain Cathcart and his Scottish Dance Band and special guest artists. Added to that were birthday greetings from friends and collleagues from all walks of Robbie’s life. But the final words came from two very close family members, his son Gordon, now based in London, and Robbie’s beloved grandson, two year old Dougie.
As people listened to the programme I’m sure a few tears were shed and hopefully it also reminded us all just how important Robbie continues to be in the world of Scottish dance music.
Jennifer Cruickshank is producer of the BBC’s Take the Floor and Travelling Folk. By kind permission of Box and Fiddle