Joseph Cooper

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Joseph Elliott Needham Cooper, OBE (7 October 1912 – 4 August 2001) (age ), pianist and broadcaster, best known as the chairman of the BBC's long-running television panel game Face the Music.

Early career

Cooper was born at Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol, England. He was educated at Clifton College, and then at Keble College, Oxford, where he was an organ scholar. During the 1930s he worked initially as a church organist and piano teacher before joining the GPO Film Unit, where he wrote incidental music for documentaries, including Mony a Pickle (1938) and A Midsummer Day's Work (1939). Here his colleagues included the poet W. H. Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. He had already embarked on a promising career as a concert pianist when the outbreak of World War II forced him to give up the concert platform for the duration of hostilities. He resumed his career in 1946, studying briefly with Egon Petri and making his London debut in 1947. As a concert pianist, Cooper made a number of successful recordings (including some for the World Record Club), and also began broadcasting on radio.

Broadcasting compère

In 1954 he accepted an invitation to work on the BBC radio quiz show Call the Tune. In 1967 the show transferred to television under the title Face the Music. Transmitted on BBC2 and repeated on BBC1, it ran until 1979 and was briefly revived in 1983-4. The show kept Cooper in the public eye, and the "Hidden Melody" round, a regular feature of the...
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