The local broadcasting legend Peter Dean passed away in the early hours of 13th of March 2013 at St John of God Hospital Murdoch, aged almost 76, following a short and courageous battle with Motor Neuron Disease.
7News : Peter Dean dies
One of the great stars of West Australian television and radio has passed away. Peter Dean made people laugh and smile for more than five decades.
Peter entertained Western Australian audiences from the late 1950s. First from 6VA Albany, followed by 6PR, where he was one of the ‘Good Guys’, to 6IX where for 17 year he coupled up with John Fryer to present ‘Can We Help You?’ in Perth. He was there in the first year when STW Channel 9 began broadcasting, and was later a veteran of TVW Channel 7, appearing on everything from variety shows such as “Anything Goes” with radio partner John Fryer, to the children’s session as Shortsighted Seymour, appearing on Earlybirds, filled the costume of Fat Cat’s Mom, one of the hosts of “Perth’s New Faces”, appeared briefly on ‘Stars of the Future’ and participated for many years in Channel Seven Telethons. Former TVW owner, Robert Holmes à Court referred to him as ‘Mr Telethon’, and in 1989, Peter was honoured by having a Pediatrics Fellowship named for him.
Anything Goes sketch
1972 – Anything Goes Cast & Crew
Front Row L – R:
Helen Blackburn (Make up), Jeff Thomas (Floor Manager), Laurie Lever (Lighting), Peter Partridge (Tech), Bob Williams (Staging), Ian Bowering (Tech), Peter Allan (Camera), Eugene Eulasavich (Tech).
Centre Row L – R:
John Fryer (Host), Ron Christie (Producer), Danny Mackay (Director), Jan Finkle (Production Assistant), Peter Dean (Host), (next 3 unknown, 1 musician, 2 staging).
Top Row L – R:
(2 unknown musicians), Bob Finkle (Camera), Roy Chivers (Camera), (unknown musician), Tim Thunder (Crane driver),
Keith Spice (Boom Operator), Kim Pack (Audio), Tom Creamer (Technical Director).
Behind the Scenes at TVW Channel 7 in the 1980’s
WA TV History
In 1982, Richard Ashton wrote an produced a 19 minute video tour of Channel Seven, which was presented by Peter Dean.
Peter worked a total of five decades in radio and television from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.
ABC, TEN and Channel Nine veteran John Barnett reports that his wife Joan and Peter Dean were good friends in their teens, as members of an amateur theatrical group called The Southern Review, which was in existence in the early to late 1950’s.
Joan began there when she was 17 in 1954 and Peter was there then. They put on concerts in the Victoria Park Town Hall (no longer in existence) with once a week rehearsals in the library hall in Vic Park.
No surprise, Peter did comic sketches and skits as well as singing in the chorus.
Veteran TVW producer/director Richard Ashton advised that during the 1950s Monte-Bello Island A Bomb tests, Peter served as a National Service sailor on board the HMAS Royal Australian Navy Bathurst class corvette Junee, which at that time was engaged mainly on training duties in Western Australian waters until 1957.
In the first National Service scheme between 1951 and 1959, all young men aged 18 were called up for training in the Navy, Army or Air Force. Richard points out that at this time the Menzies government was worried about the communist threat. The ongoing skirmish was The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). It was also the cold war period against Russia and China.
Peter was called up for a term of six months of Navy training and participation between January and June of 1956, which also coincided with the last of three British A Bomb tests in Australian waters.
Former West Australian journalist and fellow Nasho Ken Casellas reports that Peter was the life and soul of the party at HMAS Leeuwin naval base and on the ship.
He was an extraordinarily popular fellow with his jovial and good natured disposition. He was everyone’s mate.
Ken points out that HMAS Junee was anchored six and a half miles away from the blast with the ship’s crew standing on the deck to witness the event, turning away only for the duration of the initial detonation and flash of intense light.
A-Bomb blast zone
Richard Ashton was also a naval Nasho and explains that when Peter was asked about his exposure during the A Bomb blast, he would say…
”Nothing the matter with me… burble burble burble”
Ken Casellas said that two or three Nasho reunions have been held since, with Peter always present.
1956 outside the European Club restaurant (in North Perth): Peter Dean, second from left, with former nashos celebrates end of his national service with Lloyd Denney, former West reporter Ken Casellas, Len Butterfield and Warren Jones (of Americas Cup fame).
Entertainer, television veteran and academic Dr. Peter Harries has kindly outlined early aspects of Peter Dean’s career:-
Peter Dean was a Junior Clerk in the Taxation Department aged fifteen in 1955. After five years of auditioning he was given a job on Radio 6VA Albany. He was hired by STW9 as a Booth Announcer and News-reader in late 1965.
STW9 ventured into the world of local ‘live’ studio production with a ‘Tonight’ styled variety program, The Jeff Newman Show. It was aired at 9.30 p.m. on Thursdays for about four months. It featured pianist/arranger Peter Piccini with a four piece band, ‘advertainment’ segments, local guest artists and studio audience participation. The show made great use of station personalities Veronica Overton, Lloyd Lawson and Peter Dean who appeared in situation sketches produced by Denzil Howson. Jeff Newman eventually resigned from STW9, after being replaced as host of his own show by Peter Dean.
In 1968 the STW production manager Denzil Howson decided on a dual News presentation by Lloyd Lawson and Peter Dean. One of Howson’s ideas was to build a News Desk Set which was the correct height for the presenters to stand to read the News. As an old actor, he reckoned that they would have better ‘diaphragm control’. Soon after, Howson was replaced as Production Manager and the practice lapsed.
Peter later joined TVW7 and remained with them till 1996.
Peter Dean and John Fryer take a group of listeners on a bus trip
Murray Jennings reminisced about Peter Dean getting him a job at 6IX:-
I first met Peter in November, 1960, when I joined 6PR as a raw, nervous announcer on six months probation. He was always full of beans, on and off air. We were never very close, what with shiftwork, etc, but I grew quite fond of him. How could you not?
I was sacked when 6PR changed hands in late 1962. I wasn’t ‘commercial enough’. I went east and got work in NSW commercial radio.
I worked with Peter again, at 6IX in Mounts Bay Road from 1967 to 1969. The same Peter, all that energy and good cheer in ‘Can We Help You?’. Lovely bloke.
I decided to get out of commercial radio, resigned and went back east, working for two years as a writer / editor, auditioning for the ABC a couple of times, but I was ‘too commercial’ for them.
You can’t bloody win!
Then, in early 1972, back in Perth, my wife very pregnant, I auditioned at the ABC and they said they’d let me know. Don’t hold your breath. So I phoned Peter at 6IX to ask if he knew of anything going. He did. A week later, I was back at my old station, albeit out at Tuart Hill in new studios. I enjoyed being back with some of the old gang, Peter included.
I’d almost forgotten the ABC audition, when three months later, I got a call from them. When can you start? I had to give 6IX plenty of notice and I had to apologise to Peter, who’d put me up for the job. But he understood. He even confided in me some time later, that he’d been envious when I got the job at the ABC.
And the last time I saw him was one afternoon, probably around 2000, when he interviewed me briefly at 6PR about the ‘good old days’ in Perth radio.
(Peter was the original ‘The Way We Were’ host on 6PR until Steve Gordon took it over.)
My memories of Peter will always be of a man with an abundance of energy, a great sense of fun, and a big heart.
Interestingly, Peter did work briefly for the ABC’s 6WF (720) before returning to 6PR.
Radio veteran and media historian John Cranfield remembers Peter at 6WF:-
Peter did do some fill in shifts on 6WF.
I remember because I was one of his guests once.
Peter, although briefly did a few “Spotlight” spots on 6NR (Curtin Radio) too, in the early nineties, as part of Memory Lane.
John says that Peter told him recently, that when he worked at 6VA Albany, he used to share a flat with Jim Atkinson, who of course later worked at TVW Channel Seven.
Listeners may remember that for 15 years the late Jim Atkinson broadcast on community radio station Curtin Radio 6NR with his nostalgia program “Memory Lane”.
Tribute to Peter Dean (1937-2013)
WA TV History
Radio veteran and media historian John Cranfield kindly provided the background and much of the memorabilia to make this tribute possible, as did Richard Ashton with the photographs courtesy of the Channel Seven photo archives. Terry Spence kindly supplied early footage courtesy of STW Channel 9, and Channel Seven also provided much valued early footage.
John Cranfield has kindly provided the following background and memorabilia to track Peter’s career over the decades:-
PETER DEAN came to 6PR in 1959, after his first broadcasting job at 6VA in Albany.
At 6PR Peter quickly rose to be one of Perth’s leading disc jockeys, taking on the popular “Teenager Tunes” from 4.30 to 6 each afternoon.
Peter stamped his own modern style on the programme.
It was a competitive time of day on WA radio. He competed for ratings, at various times with Buddy Clark (6KY), Colin Nichol (6PM and 6KY), Gary Carvolth (6PM), Alan Robertson (6PM) and the man who would be his long term radio partner.. Johnny Fryer (6IX). All very talented.
Peter did well at 6PR broadcasting from 340 Hay Street, and management recognised his huge talent and superb voice.
And it wasn’t only the teenagers who loved to listen to Peter Dean. His day time broadcasts by 1963 included “Singalong” and “Music-Go-Round” shows, both in the morning. At Midday Peter was back behind the 6PR microphone with “The Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Show”.
Sunday mornings 6PR had Peter broadcasting Top 40 Music from 7am till Noon.
A busy announcer indeed!
In fact, 6PR management in July 1962 called Peter Dean ‘King of the Teenagers’ in WA. In Fact, management stated Peter was in such demand, that many sessions were pre-recorded by him.
1964 was an exciting year for Perth Radio, particularly 6PR. Ownership had changed and the new management decided to make the station a pop music 24 hour radio setup. This didn’t happen over night, but gradually. Of course Peter Dean was in the thick of it.
6PR Announcers became the “Good Guys”. What a team they were. The original announcers were Johnny Lehman, Peter Hahn, Alan Robertson, Keith Taylor, John May, Wyburn Taylor, Bob O’Brien and of course Peter. Sadly, with Peter gone, there are now only two left; Keith and Bob.
Meanwhile, 6IX had lost its top DJ star in 1963 to go to join the Sydney Good Guys at 2SM.
That DJ of course was Johnny Fryer.
6IX needed a star to replace John. So in August 1965, Stan Gervas, snapped up Peter Dean.
Peter adapted to the 6IX sound very quickly. He worked on air from 1 till 6 every day except Saturdays. His show comprised of music from “The Golden Sound” with interesting items thrown in, competitions etc.
It was in February 1966 that John Fryer returned to his old Perth station 6IX.
The next big success in Peter’s professional life happened by chance really.
Peter and John would chat to each other, making jokes and reminiscing when changing shifts.
This entertaining unplanned talking was noticed by the 6IX innovative programmer Stan Gervas.
So the great Peter Dean and John Fryer officially started in May 1966.
Stan initially gave the two a one hour programme, later extended to two and called “Can We Help You” A staff of three and technical team given to them.
The programme stayed on air till August 1977.
With Ken Hill leaving 6IX for the horse racing world, Peter in early 1967 took over the Breakfast Session as well as Can We Help You.
Peter only gave up the early mornings to join STW Channel 9.
There was no way 6IX were going to lose Peter from Can We Help You to television.
So Peter stayed part time at 6IX.
The radio show was topping the ratings in a tough battle with Garry Meadows (6PR), John Luke (6PM) and Tony Doherty (6KY).
Peter loved radio.
So in June 1969, Peter returned full time to 6IX, in a programming and publicity role.
Of course “Can We Help You” kept on going.
1970 was rather a tumultuous time for 6IX. Change of ownership, change of general manager and change of location.
Peter was head of programmes during these times, making sure 6IX kept its identity and not be swallowed up by television. A difficult task done well.
With 6IX under the same roof as Channel 7, the TVW executives saw, and of course had Peter on their TV screens.
But radio shows don’t last forever.
So when the clever people from Sydney were employed by TVW to overhaul the radio side of their business, the Peter and John Show came to an end. All the years later, the logic in that decision is still hard to fathom.
In a way, 6IX has never recovered dropping the magic of Peter and John.
Peter stayed on air at 6IX for several years, and gradually moved down the long corridor at the Tuart Hill studios to the TV end. John Fryer moved to 6PR.
But again, Peter returned successfully to radio.
After his retirement from TVW, Peter went back to his old station 6PR. There he was entertaining us Saturday and Sunday nights 6 till midnight.
The contribution Peter Dean made to radio in Western Australia is immeasurable. This contribution to what went over the airwaves of course, but no less to the people he worked with. He helped, encouraged and entertained his colleagues so much
I can say without fear of contradiction radio could do with Peter Dean today.
Sadly that is not possible.
Peter you deserve a rest. Until we meet again, Farewell Peter.
Meanwhile kind words and tributes to Peter have been flowing in from every quarter…
Peter was a dedicated trouper who brought humour and happiness to so many people.
Thanx for the Peter Dean tribute.
He was/is a very good entertainer and real showman.
Sad news indeed Ken, my condolences to his family.
The memory of this entertaining, warm-hearted and generous-spirited man will leave the world a poorer place.
I was very sad to hear about Peter Dean – he was just the nicest man, always friendly, helpful and so so funny!! ….and he never lost that wonderful sense of humour as he got older (not turning into a grumpy old man for Peter!) Thinking back on the fabulous days with him and John just makes you realise that radio personalities of today have never ever stepped up to the mark of those two. Losing Peter is a real sadness.
I think you’ll agree that Peter was a good bloke and great talent.
Many good things he has contributed to both Radio and TV over the years.
As we drove back from 7 today my mind flashed backed to the times we recording music and songs
for Christmas Pageant floats sound systems at Bob Purvis studio down at Myree.
Peter wrote and did the false voices and songs music played and recorded by Bob
for many children stories we needed on floats when I couldn’t find already recorded music tracks
that would suite. For example a song version of “The Old Women Who lived in a Shoe” “Gulliver Travels”
“We are the Pirates of the High Seas” etc etc.
Talented bloke…a sad loss…
Just heard the sad news about the passing of our old mate Peter Dean.
Attached pic was taken in 1985 on one of our many Exmouth fishing expeditions.
Peter loved these annual excursions, and loved fishing.
He was a wonderful man, well liked by all and will be sadly missed.
L to R: Gerry Swift, Keith Spice, John Peters, Frank Moss, Rudi Gracias, Peter Dean & Chris Hope
I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Peter Dean, I had the pleasure of growing up with him on the radio and later working with him when I worked at TVW, also I remember Ken Mosedale with fondness when I worked with him in the fledgling BTW in Bunbury in the late 1960’s.
Thank you for keeping me in touch.
To Andy Bales and family…
I am so sorry to hear this news. A very talented and nice man to work with and everyone loved him.
I wish you and your Family well and thinking of you at this sad time.
Be proud. He was a wonderful man.
The Funeral Cortege for Mr Peter Mark Evans Dean of Ballajura, formerly of Dianella, will arrive at the main entrance of FREMANTLE Cemetery, Carrington St, Palmyra at 2.00pm on THURSDAY (21.3.2013) for a Cremation Service.
No flowers by request, donations in lieu to the establishment of a new foundation in Peter’s name to be announced.
Death Notices in the West Australian Newspaper
DEAN (Peter): Peter Dean passed away in the early hours of March 13 at SJOG Hospital Murdoch after a short and courageous battle with Motor Neuron Disease. Peter will be fondly remembered by many thousands of West Australians whose lives he touched. He is survived by his loving wife Delys, children Phillip, Cindy, Jonathan and Andy, sister Judy and brother David, and adoring grand-children Brooke, Ellie, Lewis, Daniel, Jessica and Taj. The family wishes to sincerely thank the staff at ICU Murdoch for their unwavering care and support, particularly Drs. Ian Jenkins, Andrew Kelly, Peter Bremner, Bart, Tim, Lydia, Megan and nurses Mark, Fiona, Deidre, Jo, Angela, Kim, Pat, Leanne and Kat.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
A dear friend for many years. A wonderful trouper and a marvellous contributor. Great memories of early Civic Theatre days. Our heartfelt sympathy to Delys and family. Norma and Max Kay and family.
DEAN (Peter): So many wonderful and happy memories of one of life’s most wonderful people. Rest in peace Pete. Condolences to all the Dean family.
Dozens of years of fabulous entertainment for the families of WA. Always the pro, always on top of your game, never a dull moment. Deano, you were – are – a legend. Thanks for the memories, mate. We’ll miss you. Your friends and family at Channel Seven Perth.
Friday, 15 March 2013
Yes Pete, I’m told they do play golf upstairs…you can also get a coldie but most of all continue to keep everyone happy – don’t change a thing. Losing an old buddy with a heart as big as yours is hard to handle but thanks for all the success we shared over the years – you’re a legend. Delys, our love and thoughts will continue to be with you and your family. Goodbye Mate.
John and Morag Fryer.
A genuine lovable funny man. You will be sadly missed. My sincere sympathy to his family. Audrey Long (Barnaby).
DEAN (Peter ): Our sincere condolences to the Dean family. A dear friend and colleague. What a legend of the Perth media industry. From all staff at 6PR and 96fm.
Fond memories of our dear friend. We will miss you Peter. Doing our shows with the “Encore” Troupe, our fishing trips, games of snooker and lots of laughter. With love Helen McMillan Harvey and Ken Harvey.
Fond memories of a very special, talented and generous man, a star of radio and television and a Telethon legend.
Deepest sympathy to Delys and family.
Rest in peace Mate. The entertainment world will miss you. Les Meade.
DEAN (Peter): A light went out here but heaven is floodlit and echoing with laughter. You’ll live on in our hearts. Missing you so much. Love you always. Condolences to Del and all the family.
Trisha and Frank
DEAN (Peter): Always a pleasure to work with.
DEAN (Peter ): Close friend of Judy, John and family. Wonderful memories of 40 years of family holidays together at Yanchep and Rottnest. Good times of fun and laughter. Deepest sympathy and love to Del and family. We’ll really miss you, Peter.
DEAN ( Peter):
What wonderful memories you have left us Peter of our fun days in radio in the 60’s especially at 6PR in the record library with you, Pearl and Dorothy. Such special time never to be forgotten.
Requiescat in pace Peter Our deepest sympathy to Del and family.
Barry and Cathy Michael, Melbourne
Saturday, 16 March 2013
We have known each other for a long time and I valued our friendship. You will always be special to all of us who worked with you at 7. Deepest sympathy to his family. Rest in Peace. Coralie Condon
A great bloke who will be sadly missed. Heartfelt condolences to Delys, Phil, Cindy, John and Andy. Love and thoughts, Warrick, Cathie, Georgia, Jacob and Rick Lewis.
Heartfelt sympathies to Delys, Cindy and families. Sadly missed Shirley Hunt
A joy to work with, good all rounder. Sadly missed. Heartfelt sympathy to Delis and family.
DEAN (Peter ): Deepest sympathy to Andy, Heidi and family, thinking of you at this sad time. From all the staff at Cranetech and Monty’s.
Dear friend and ex neighbour of the Dartnall, Harris and Jones family. Love to Del and family. Many happy memories
Our deepest sympathy to the Dean family. An icon of television and radio in Perth, you will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories. From everyone at 6IX.
Deepest sympathy to Delys and all the Dean family on the sad loss of Peter. One of the best radio broadcasters WA has ever produced but more than that, Peter was a wonderful man. He will be sadly mised by many for his professionalism, talent, fun, friendship and caring nature. It was a privilege to work and spend time with Peter. RIP.
Prodigious source of sunshine. Loved brother- in-law of John and dear friend of Christine. Genuine, full of life and good cheer. Always ready to pitch in a hand and a smile. Always a Good Guy. Hope the fish are biting well up there, Pete.
DEAN (Peter): Pete, you’ve always been a star. Keep shining. Love from
Ken and Mandy Henning
A True Gentleman I will never forget your kindness and the special time I was your Producer at 6PR. Love and kisses, Kathy Kerekes.
DEAN (Peter ): My Darling Daddy. I was so proud to call you my Dad. In my childhood you always made sure I knew I was Loved. And in your final days, Although it was so hard for you to talk you still kept telling me how much you loved me. I will feel your hand in mine until my own last breath.
DEAN (Peter): In hospital Pete, you asked me what day is it, I said Monday, you said I’m going home on Wednesday, and I said yes you are, and Pete you did, home to God. Pete, what a ball you will have in Heaven, meeting up with all your family and friends, especially Gaye our sister. Will miss you so much, you were my rock, I have so many memories that keep flooding back.
Love you so much, Judy and brother-in-law Ron – favourite uncle of Simon, Paul (dec), Marie and Monique.
A fondly remembered cousin. A light has left this world. Sympathy to the Dean family. Jenny, Helen, Wendy and Rod Dilkes.
DEAN (Peter ): You always introduced me as your favorite Son-in-law, albeit your only one.
Thank you for enriching my life and that of your Grandchildren, Brooke and Daniel. I hear that the fishing is pretty good in Heaven. We will miss mate
DEAN (Peter ): Deepest sympathy to Del, Phil, Cyndy, Jonathon, Andy and families. Many happy memories of our card nights! Love Ross and Dian Roberts and family.
Adored brother-in-law of Bob and Rhonda and much loved uncle of Tricia, Angela and Dan. Thank you Pete for the love and for all the fun and happy times in our family over the years. The show may be over but you will remain front stage and in our hearts forever.
Rest in peace dear mate
In loving memory of our dear brother-in-law and uncle Peter. We will miss you always. You brought so much fun and laughter to so many people.
The world will not be the same without you in it.
Rest peacefully, dearest Pete. Love Helen, Chris, Chelsea and Joanna.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
A legend who will be sorely missed
~ Steven Pitcher, Perth, Western Australia
Monday, 18 March 2013
Delys, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this time. So many memories to keep forever in our hearts.
Margaret and Gerry.
DEAN (Peter ): Rest in peace Peter.
You have left us with wonderful memories which we will never forget. Our deepest sympathy to Delys and family.
Carol and Gordon McKee.
Dear Del, our hearts and love are with you at this very sad time. Many fun and happy memories of Pete, a very special person. Love to Phil, Cindy, Jonathon, Andy and their families.
Debbie and Jemma xx
Farewell Pete, a true Christian with a great sense of humour. Sympathy to our darling Del, Phil, Cindy, John and Andy. Norma and Kevin.
In memory of Peter Dean, who had a wonderful sense of humour, and he did so much for both radio and television (in particular Telethon). Deepest sympathy to those who knew and loved him so well and also his friends at Channel 7.
Still have fond memories of arriving in Australia 31 years ago from Scotland not knowing anyone and getting invited to the infamous Dianella table tennis nights. I still remember those fun filled nights with Peter holding court and having us all in stitches. I will always remember his kindness and fun. RIP Peter, the best TT doubles partner ever. John King & Family.
~ John King
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
DEAN (Peter): In memory of a great friend and workmate. Pete always had you laughing and we had a lot of fun. Including our sister’s number on Telethon. God bless you pal. Deepest sympathy to Delys and family.
From the Chadwick Family
To Cindy, Mark, Brooke and Daniel – a beautiful smile, a generous heart and soul, that is how we will remember your dad and pop. Peter and Sandra Antulov and families.
DEAN (Peter): Our deepest sympathy to Delys and all the family. To our wonderful friend and neighbour of many years in Ballajura, Skylark Retreat won’t be the same without you. Lots of laughs, lots of fun, lots of stories. Gone but never forgotten Boom Boom Eric, Marie, Chloe, Ben and Drew. Nando, Michelle, Aaron and Travis.
We greatly valued input from John Cranfield and other veterans has made this tribute possible, as did Richard Ashton with the photographs courtesy of the Channel Seven photo archives. Terry Spence kindly supplied early footage courtesy of STW Channel 9, and Channel Seven also provided much valued early footage.
Peter will be greatly missed by all who have known, watched or listened to him.
- The 6IX Story by John Cranfield
- Vale Stan Gervas
- David Farr (former General Manager of 6IX)
- Bob Page (former General Manager of 6IX)
- David Dallimore Tribute (1919-2011)