David Jensen reveals what ‘keeps him going’ through Parkinson’s challenges

·2-min read

David Jensen has revealed his radio presenting and football “keep him going” through the challenges of his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The Radio 1 stalwart and DJ, also known by his nickname “Kid”, has been living with the disease for more than a decade.

Jensen said he will “forever be in debt” to his family and friends, including Chris Tarrant and Jools Holland who he noted were among the first to pick up the phone after he made his diagnosis public in 2018.

David Jensen Sony Radio Awards
DJ David Jensen (Ian West/PA)

Writing in the Radio Times, he said: “I appreciate it may trickle away, but for now the adrenaline and the excitement of doing radio are enormously valuable.

“My football and my broadcasting keep me going, and the weekly discipline of hosting the show on Boom Radio from my home remains a real kick — almost 60 years on from my first broadcasts back home in Canada.”

He currently hosts a weekly show, titled Kid Jensen’s ’70s, on Friday evenings on the Boom Radio station.

The veteran broadcaster admitted that alongside doing up buttons, biting his tongue is “one of the craziest annoyances for a radio presenter living with Parkinson’s”.

He added: “Hopefully, my voice sounds much as it used to — that’s certainly what people say to me.”

The former Top Of The Pops presenter, who was nicknamed “Kid” when he was the youngest radio presenter in Europe, said he has done a lot of reflection since his diagnosis.

He noted that some of the key memories that come to mind are from his “colourful days” at Radio 1 in the 1970s and meeting Queen and Genesis’ Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins in their earlier years.

(Radio Times/PA)
(Radio Times/PA)

Jensen said his diagnosis has also helped him appreciate his close friends more, adding: “I’ll forever be in debt to those who’ve helped me through the past 12 years of Parkinson’s.

“Gudrun, my family, the medical staff, my good friends and those like Chris Tarrant and Jools Holland who were among the first to pick up the phone when I made my diagnosis public.”

He added that “those in the know” say he is “coping well” and that experts have predicted he could live into his 80s.

He said: “So I likely won’t be around into my 90s unlike many in my family. I’m 71 now — and still a Kid.”

Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now.

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