The ever smiling and charming Dotun Adebayo certainly came to the world as a gift to humanity. Born in the great city of Lagos, Nigeria, on the 25th of August in the year 1960, he was one of those special babies that welcomed in a new dawn for Nigeria as she gained her independence from the British colony. The young Dotun was an ambitious child from birth. This, as years rolled on, has been even more evident in his life and work.
Little Dotun was born Oludotun Davey Moore Adebayo, however, he is fondly known as ‘Dotun’. A name inherited from the rich Yoruba tribe of Nigeria, which literally means, He came in a joyful time, the king meets joy or greatness enjoined with joy. The boisterous Dotun is also a British citizen.
At the age of six, he moved to England to be with his parents who had left Nigeria earlier, after he their baby boy was born. Being an adventurous lad right from a very young age, Dotun was attracted to the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, a group committed to the development of young people through creative arts and uses theatre to achieve its objective. He became a member and starred in plays like: Killing Time by Barrie Keeffe, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, and several other productions. This is just the beginning into the world of creativity of this child of destiny.
As Benjamin Franklin puts it, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’ Oladotun kicked off his more formal education at Woodlands Park Junior School in Tottenham, where he was a junior to Winston Silcott. After his stay at Woodlands Park Junior School, Dotun proceeded to Stationers’ Company’s Comprehensive School in Hornsey, North London. Still loving to study, he attended Stockholm University for his tertiary education, where he studied Literature. While there, he had a reggae segment inside a Saturday-night radio programme on Sveriges Radio P3. He then returned to the UK to study Philosophy at the Wivenhoe Park campus of the University of Essex.
Furthermore, while studying at the University of Essex, he had the opportunity of presenting two programmes on the student radio station and this gave him some level of popularity among the students. As fate would have it, in 1987 Oludotun Davey Moore Adebayo was elected President of the University of Essex Students’ Union to serve in the 1987/1988 academic year. Standing as an independent, he defeated Labour Students candidate Asad Rehman. Apart from English, Dotun speaks Swedish, French and Yoruba.
No experience is a waste. Building on his earlier experience as a radio presenter, Oludotun Davey Moore “Dotun” Adebayo, MBE never looked backed from his passion. He is a famous BBC radio presenter, writer, and publisher who has successfully carved a niche for himself. Dotun is best known for his work on Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 Live, as well as the obituary programme Brief Lives. He is also the chairman of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham, north London.
Dotun as he is called by many, has more than thirty years’ experience as a newspaper journalist having worked for most of the biggest selling British titles – The Guardian, The Times, The Sun, News of the World, Evening Standard, The Observer. He has more than thirty years broadcasting experience with the BBC working in every aspect of presenting – news, sports, and features – for BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Dotun has had so many professional involvements with lots of interesting personalities. The American playwright Tennessee Williams chose Oladotun to play a small part in the world premiere of his last play, The Red Devil Battery Sign, in which Oladotun acted opposite Pierce Brosnan. Apart from claiming to have been the first black Teddy boy in London in his early teens, he appeared in The Oblong Box at the age of eight, and Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier’s The Element of Crime. Dotun also won a Rotary Club public-speaking award as a teenager, and worked for the BBC from the age of 12 on the radio programme Network Africa.
Still in his pursuit for greatness in his career, Dotun determinedly resigned as President of the University of Essex Students’ Union within a few months to take up a job with The Voice, Britain’s main black newspaper, where he was music editor until 1991. His columns and articles have been published in Pride Magazine and the New Nation, as well as broadsheet and tabloid newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, London Evening Standard and the News of the World. Also, some of these columns were compiled into Can I Have My Balls Back Please (2000) and its sequel Sperm Bandits (2002). In 2003, he published his first novel titled, Promised Land. The book is set in 1950 Britain and it tells the tale of three generations of a British family as they try to clutch on to their piece of promise land and find that the strength of the human spirit really can conquer all obstacles. It is a novel about joy and woes, dreams and shattered illusions, but above all, it is an inspiring story of how immigrants can combat diversity and find a new way of life in a foreign land.
In 1993, while appearing on Channel 4’s The Devil’s Advocate opposite presenter Darcus Howe, he was spotted by GLR Programme Executive, Gloria Abramov, who was looking for a new presenter for the Black London Programme. His broadcasting work on BBC London 94.9 gave him the opportunity to present other programmes, such as the Saturday night reggae show, and he eventually “presented everything except travel!” On his half-week of the Up All Night show on BBC Radio 5 Live, he presents both the World Football Phone-In and the Virtual Jukebox: this was a replacement for his Virtual Bookshelf.
Being a man of diverse talents, Oladotun played a role in television and these include, writing and presenting the docudrama Sperm Bandits, the documentary White Girls Are Easy (both for Channel 4), and the weekly show Heavy TV.
He founded the publishing company X Press, producing black fiction such as Baby Father, Victor Headley’s Yardie (which became the first black British bestseller when it was published in 1992), and Cop Killer (which gained instant notoriety when 200 bullets were sent out to the press to promote the title). Dotun is also responsible for the Nia imprint of literary black fiction, including titles such as J. California Cooper’s In Search of Satisfaction, and the 20/20 imprint for current generic fiction such as the best-seller Curvy Lovebox. He also published the comic magazine Skank.
In addition, he is the co-founder of Colourtelly, Britain’s first general-interest black internet television station. To save costs, Adebayo uses his own house as the studio. When it launched on 1 August 2007, he had the aim of attracting 6000 subscribers to break even.
As a book publisher, Dotun is the CEO of the biggest publisher of black-interest books in Europe – The X Press, achieving a bestseller with the very first book he published Yardie in 1992.
Dotun was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth II in October 1999. Ten years later, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2009.
A Man loved by many
On his new appoint to take up a BBC radio presentation, in which Dotun replaced Rhod Sharp, another talented broadcaster, who had been with the station since its launch in 1994 but announced he was standing down last year.
When asked about this appointed his reaction was: “Wow, what an honour it is to be given the privilege of hosting this amazing station five nights a week. It will be worth staying up for…I promise.”
His new task motivated so many positive comments from both his fans and colleagues. These are their reactions:
Heidi Dawson, Controller of BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “Dotun is well known to our listeners who love his warmth, humour and intelligence.
Heidi went on to state that, “He is an outstanding broadcaster with a passion for late night radio and just how important radio is to listeners at that time of night. There is no one better to succeed Rhod Sharp.”
Another comment by a fan, Jeannette read, I’m delighted to know that Dotun Adebayo has succeeded Rhod Sharp. I listen to Up all Nght because I suffered with insomnia. The tone of Rod’s voice almost single-handily made the programme. I know Dotun will do a fantastic job because he has all what it takes to be a great presenter. I hope other top organizations are paying attention. Give the job to the persons who are capable of delivering, regardless of who they are. All the best Dotun.’
Irene Young posted, ‘Congratulations Dotun! A brilliant presenter who is always on the ball!’
Ray Paul ‘Hugely proud of Dotun. Well deserved.’
Chris Williams ‘Couldn’t have happened to a nicer gentleman. His current Saturday and Sunday shows are excellent. I don’t know if he will be incorporating his football and music shows within his new schedule. Hopefully he will. A very well deserved reward for this top fellow.’
Elizabeth Rosen, ‘Excellent news, always a pleasure to listen to.’
Margaret Foster, ‘Brilliant news. I listen to radio 5 live every night so am really pleased.’
Kelly Powers, ‘This is such fine news. That I can listen to Dotun Adebayo five nights a week seems such a wonderful treat. And I do hope he’ll find a way to continue his trademark World Football Phone In. I’ve learned so much listening to this show. Congratulations Mr Adebayo.’
Gwyneth Davies, ‘I listen to Dotun every time he is on, without fail. So, I am glad to hear of his new appointment. A REAL presenter and a pleasure to listen to. He allows his interviewees to speak, and doesn’t interrupt!
Dotun Adebayo is a caring family man who is married to the love of his life and close friend, Carroll Thompson. Carroll is a well-known musician. The couple are blessed with two daughters. Dotun Adebayo’s younger brother, Diran Adebayo is a novelist and his nephew, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, is a professional footballer.
Ad Multos Annos to DOTUN ADEBAYO, MBE – the Golden voice and Master Scribe who has gracefully begun life as a sexagenarian!!!