Nic Tuff

 Broadcaster    Voice Artist      Composer

And so it all began….

Nic found radio magical from an early age. He made his radio debut at the age of eleven on BBC Radio Bristol when he hosted Morning West with one of the broadcasting's greats, the late Roger Bennett who so sadly passed away in 2005. From here Nic went on to join his local hospital radio station, The Bristol Hospital's Broadcasting Service (BHBS) to "learn the ropes". 

It was actually his mum, who is really responsible for getting Nic into full time professional radio. She was an avid listener of Mark Seaman (Radio West, GWR, BBC Wiltshire) & wrote asking if Nic could come and have a look around the studio's of Radio West in Bristol. Mark kindly invited Nic, and gave him the opportunity to help around the station by making the coffee, putting away the presenters records back in the record library etc.

As he spent more time at the studio's, he was given more to do, such as becoming the station's technical operator, recording, producing and playing out the pre-recorded output. At Radio West / GWR, Nic worked alongside some of the legends, such as Jonnie Walker, David Hamilton, Steve Scott, Jonathon Pearce, Paul Phear, & the late Trevor Fry, who incidentally was the nicest man you ever could wish to meet, someone who loved radio. Trevor was a genuine talent, a great friend, who is very sadly missed by many.

Nic progressed from being the "tea boy" to becoming the voice on some of the UK's best known media brands in the UK such as BBC Radio Bristol, BRMB FM, Mercia FM, Galaxy FM, XTRA AM, The Pulse, BUZZ FM, KIX 96, GWR FM, Wyvern FM, Telstar Satellite Network(Europe), Yorkshire Television, and 107 Oak FM. Over the years, Nic has been a familiar voice on the radio and has been the voice behind many commercials, corporate films & games.

While on air in Birmingham, Nic formed a firm lasting friendship with the Robin Campbell, James Brown, & Brian Travers of UB40. This was around the time of the band recording their album “Promises & Lies”. Nic came up with the idea of recording a new style of programme he called “The Album Party”, an hour long show where bands could showcase their new albums while having an open & relaxed chat about the music. Nic saw The Album Party as music lovers first opportunity to hear a new album prior to release, and also to hear from the artist how it all came together. UB40 appeared as the first band to debut their biggest selling album,Promises & Lies, across their home city, Birmingham. The Album Party went on to have the first play & intimate interviews with artists including Phil Collins, Robert Palmer, UB40, Genesis, Barry Gibb to name just a few.

From the midlands, the only way was north. Nic was originally asked by Steve King to join Hallam FM around 1990, he turned down the first couple of requests to join the team, but went on to accept an offer to join Hallam's sister station The Pulse Of West Yorkshire, hosting the mid-morning slot. Soon after joining the presentation team, he started to pull in more & more listeners & started to beat all the other stations in the ratings in certain day parts.

After a few months, Nic was asked to present Breakfast, being teamed up with Debbie Lindley. In just under six months, for the very first time in the history of local radio in West Yorkshire, The breakfast show took The Pulse to became brand leader knocking BBC Radio 2 from the coveted number one position. While at The Pulse, Nic worked with such talents as Stephanie Hirst (Galaxy, BBC Radio Leeds), James Cridland (now an industry leading radio consultant).

Nic was keen to move into management & decided to accept an offer to manage the presentation team & present breakfast at Kix96 (Owned by the legends, Muff & Ginny Murfin). 

Kix96 had a strong reputation in the industry as a talent pool. Nic hired Chris Brooks as deputy Programme Director & Head Of Music. The two worked well together, putting a strong on air team together & shaping the on air sound. 

 Nic gave the team their own creative production space to be "on air personalities" instead of “a voice” reading liner cards. Nic also allowed each presenter an input and free choice of the music they played.

This format helped shape a radio station that had a unique fresh, young, fun on air sound that made Kix96 such a success.

  At Kix96, Nic, together with his producer Paul Mclaughlin, came up with the idea of calling a world leader for his breakfast April Fools day joke. Nic tried calling the former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin at the Kremlin. After four or five attempts on getting partially through it was time to move on. 

Nic suggested Nelson Mandela, and with just a couple of calls to a few South African Government offices, he was given the number of Nelson Mandela’s residence. Dialling the number, after a short pause, a voice answered which turned out to be Mandela’s chef. When told that the Prime Minister wanted to speak to the president, the line went silent again for a few seconds, and then a familiar voice was heard, Nelson Mandela, bellowing the word “Tony”!

 At the time of recording, Chris Brooks (now Radio Essex) was on air in studio 1. He paged Ginny Murfin, the MD of KiX96 to come and listen. Nic Recalls Ginny appearing from behind the glass waving her arms, miming for Nic to end the call. Naturally Nic did as he was told and ignored her wishes and continued.

A small crowd gathered in Studio 1, listening to Nic talking to the icon, Nelson Mandela. 

The conversation went on for approximately seven minutes, and it was abundantly clear that Nelson had a great fondness and respect for “Tony Blair” and his work that was taking place on the Northern Ireland peace process. 

During the call, Nelson asked if “Tony” had got his message of congratulations on The Peace Process (referring to a fax message Mandela sent to Blair’s office). Ending the conversation, Nic asked Mandela what he was doing for April Fools day, which was met with Mandela becoming confused and his Chief of Staff shouting in the background to terminate the call. 

 Later that evening, after speaking to Mandela, Nic started receive silent international calls on his mobile and office phones. Eventually, a voice came on the line, it was one of Mandela’s security detail, and he was not happy! The man went on to explain that he was with Nelson Mandela who was having evening dinner with The Queen, and felt it inappropriate for the recording to be played on the air, warning not to play the recording at all. That same evening, Nic received calls from a person who refused to give their name but claimed to be working for the UK Government warning Nic not to play the recordings and not to go home that evening. Feeling a little nervous, he made back up copies of the recording and left them at various locations and was forced to sleep at the station. The next day, April 1st 1998, the conversation was played on air. The story was carried by National TV News that day & appeared in newspapers all over the world.

 It didn’t end there. A couple of day’s later, South Africa hatched a plan to get their own back on Nic. During his show, Nic got a call he was not expecting, an angry “Nelson Mandela” demanding an apology. Nic put the call live on air, however the call was from Jeremy Mansfield, one of Mandela’s grand children who worked for a South Africa radio station “Highveld Stereo”. A great impersonator of the great man himself, he made Nic grovel on air, both in the UK and live across South Africa. After Nic apologised, Jeremy told Nic to stop kissing ass!

Not content with the Mandela prank call, Nic turned his target to the England football team during the 1998 World Cup in France. Glenn Hoddle, the former England manager warned the press that he was putting a ring of steel around the team, not allowing any press interviews with any of the players to prevent distractions ahead of the World Cup. Naturally, Nic saw this as a challenge, and simply calling the England’s team hotel in France and asking to speak to the Goalkeeper David Seaman, he was put through by the unsuspecting receptionist. Nic posed as the Arch Bishop Of Canterbury. David fell for it, resulting in another prank call that made the press across the world. Later in the year, The BBC asked Nic to record a prank call with English TV presenter Esther Rantzen, to be aired as a surprise to the presenter on a BBC TV show all about playing jokes on celebrities. 

Nic has appeared on stage in two professional Pantomimes alongside Lisa Riley (Emerdale), Rhino from Gladiators, Ben Freeman (Emerdale). Nic played the role of Emperor in Aladdin, (directed by Adam Woodyatt - (Ian Beale in Eastenders) & went on to play the Panto "Baddie" - the Chamberlain, supported by Emerdale’s “Scot Windsor” in Cinderella. 

Cinderella was by far the most popular & most successful pantomime the theatre had ever hosted, playing to a full house for the complete run. Both productions hosted by the Victoria Theatre in Halifax in West Yorkshire.

Nic is now a familiar voice over artist, heard on numerous TV & Radio commercials. Also being a keyboard player, he composes, plays and produces music for commercials TV & radio & games.

Nic Tuff