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Don Spencer

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Biography

Donald Richard Spencer OAM is an Australian children’s television presenter and musician, best known for his long-running role as a presenter on Play School in both Australia and the United Kingdom. He had his first song the theme tune to Fireball XL5 in 1962, reaching #32 on the UK Singles Chart.

Early life

Spencer was born and raised in Tamworth, New South Wales. He had a love of hockey as a teenager and played in the Australian championships. He left the country at age seventeen and travelled to Africa where he trained with the Kenyan Olympic hockey team in his twenties. It was a chance meeting with Roger Whittaker in Nairobi that inspired Spencer to buy a guitar and start a career as a singer/songwriter.

Career debut

In the early 60’s Spencer moved to London and became a well-known singer, supporting such acts as The Rolling Stones, the Four Seasons, The Hollies and Marianne Faithfull. Spencer eventually had his first hit on the His Master’s Voice label, “Fireball”, the theme song for the TV series of the same name, written by Barry Gray. Other singles included “Busy Doing Nothing”, “Worried Mind”, “Marriage Is For Old Folks”, and a cover of The Beatles’ song “In My Life”. Spencer presented his own teenage pop show, Gangway!, for seven years, then co-hosted Pop-In. He later appeared in such television comedies as Face it With Ronnie Barker. Returning to Australia, he appeared on Bandstand, and acted in Sons and Daughters, Return to Eden, and the 1974 film Barry McKenzie Holds His Own.

By 1977 Spencer wrote his own song called “What’s A Pommie?”.

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