Harry Stoneham 1930-2018
Harry Stoneham was born in West Ham, and started learning the piano at an early age. He studied at the London College of Music and switched his attention to the organ in 1962.
During the 1960s he worked with several name bands – notably Johnny Howard's – and enjoys playing any kind of music, if it's good. "I like to break up the TV film and recording sessions by working on cruise-liners and in clubs; for me, entertaining 'live' is still the most important aspect of show-business: recording studios lack atmosphere!".
Harry was perhaps most well known for his appearances on the BBC Terry Wogan and Michael Parkinson talk shows as musical director.
The Terry Wogan show was generally broadcast live from BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd's Bush, London until 1991. It was then broadcast from the BBC Television Centre. Some shows were pre-recorded, but broadcast unedited, 'as live'. Wogan ended its run in July 1992 Harry Stoneham and his group provided the musical backing for many of Terry's guests as he did for Michael Parkinson.
Outside the BBC studios Harry Stoneham avoided the public eye to the extent of keeping his telephone number and home address private.
His death around Christmas time in 2018 was kept quiet by his wife as she did want the news to spoil Christmas for others. This perhaps reflects the air of modesty that surrounded his private life.