Travis 'touchy-feely in a nice way'
1:05pm Tuesday 4th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis was "touchy-feely" in a "nice sense", a former BBC colleague has told a court.
Philip Hughes, who worked as a technical operator for the BBC from 1973 to 1980, said he never saw any "inappropriate conduct" by Travis when they worked together on Radio 1.
He told jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court he would have been "slightly concerned" had he seen somebody having a "physical tussle" with the DJ in a studio.
Travis, 68, is on trial accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another while working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops and when starring in panto.
He denies all the charges.
Asked by defence barrister Stephen Vullo how he found Travis as a character to work with, Mr Hughes replied: "I personally liked Dave. He was a fun and larger-than-life character, nice bloke, great sense of humour.
"He was part of the furniture at Radio 1."
Mr Hughes said if technical operators had been made aware of a sexual assault, it would "probably have been talked about".
"He was the sort of person who would give a bear hug in the corridor," he went on.
"Blokes as well as anyone working on the programme. He was touch-feely in that sense but in a nice sense of being touchy-feely. Some people aren't."
Mr Hughes said he found people from "the North", such as Travis, were "more open to being warm with people".
"Tony Blackburn was not quite like that but he's from Bournemouth," he added.
Mr Hughes said he often "instigated" pranks at the station involving Travis and fellow Radio 1 DJ Noel Edmonds, including sugar lump fights and placing a cup of water over the studio door.
Asked by Mr Vullo whether any pranks would have involved "sexual touching between men and women", Mr Hughes replied: "No."
Asked whether he could recall any "inappropriate conduct" by Travis, Mr Hughes answered: "No, I don't."
Travis, from Buckinghamshire, is charged with 13 counts of indecent assault dating back to between 1976 and 2003, and one count of sexual assault.
He is appearing in court under his birth name David Griffin.
The defendant, wearing a dark green jacket, white shirt and patterned tie, listened to the proceedings in the dock with the aid of earphones.
Former Radio 1 producer David Atkey, who worked for the station from 1968 to 1988, said Travis often liked people to join him in the studio.
"Sometimes his wife would come in, sometimes his mother," he said.
"Dave liked people in the studio, whereas Tony Blackburn did not like anyone in the studio whatsoever."
Mr Atkey told the court he was never made aware of an allegation that Travis indecently assaulted a woman in a Radio 1 studio in 1977.
"His conduct was exemplary," he said.
"He was a very nice, warm, gentle man. He liked to hug people. He hugged me on numerous occasions."
The court has previously heard that Travis allegedly touched the breasts of a Radio 4 announcer during a live broadcast.
Mr Atkey said it was "incredibly unlikely" that Travis would have interrupted a Radio 4 broadcast and the consequences would have been "very severe, if not a sacking".
"Kenny Everett was sacked for saying something inappropriate on air," the witness said.
"I don't think he (Travis) would be exempt from being sacked."
During cross-examination, Mr Atkey told the court that during Radio 1 roadshows in the mid-1980s, a woman would be invited on stage to model a T-shirt from the station's merchandise.
A man would then be picked from the crowd to try to get into the T-shirt with her, Mr Atkey said.
"To my knowledge, there was never a complaint about that," Mr Atkey said.
Prosecutor Miranda Moore QC asked whether "that sort of jolly fun took place inside the Radio 1 building"?
"Not to my knowledge," Mr Atkey replied.
Mr Atkey told the court he had not seen any inappropriate conduct by Radio 1 DJs during his time at the BBC but had heard "rumours" about the late Jimmy Savile.
"I found him (Savile) quite a sleazy character and not somebody I particularly liked," Mr Atkey said.
Asked about the rumours he heard about Savile, Mr Atkey said: "Rumours that he liked young women."
The witness said if he had known Savile was acting inappropriately, he would have "reported him to our superiors".
"I would have thought he would have been sacked and criminal prosecutions would have followed, as they would if he was still alive now," he said.
Mik Wilkojc, who produced Travis's weekend show on Radio 1 in the early 1990s, said the DJ was "very jovial, dependable...and reliable".
He told the court he would join Travis in the studio with fellow DJ Mike Read and drink tea from Travis's flask on air.
Jon Kutner, who worked as a BBC messenger in the late 1970s and early 1980s, told the court Travis could be tactile with people he knew and would kiss the hand of someone he was introduced to.
"There was never anything untoward," he said.
Jeff Bottom, a former technical operator who worked with Travis at Radio 1, said he found "astonishing" the suggestion that the DJ was a "sexual predator".
"I can't recall anything approaching that coming to my notice," he told the court.
Mr Bottom, who worked at Radio 1 from the station's launch in the 1960s, said Radio 4 had an "air of serenity" and it would have been taken "very seriously" if Travis had tried to interrupt an announcement.
Simon Marlow, who worked as a presenter on Classic Gold radio with Travis in the early 2000s, appeared via video link from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan where he works for British Forces radio.
"I have known Dave for about 20 years," he said.
"Reading all this stuff, I just think it's absolutely ridiculous. He is a very generous, caring and loving man. He's been a fantastic friend to me. He's just a really nice man."
Asked whether he witnessed any inappropriate behaviour by Travis, Mr Marlow replied: "Absolutely not. I think it's ridiculous what I'm reading and hearing. I know this person."
Judge Anthony Leonard warned Mr Marlow that witnesses were not permitted to refer to newspaper reports of the case in court.
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.