Billy Butler was born to be a broadcaster.

Anyone who expected him to retire quietly, and happily, to his potting shed after losing his job with BBC Radio Merseyside a year ago obviously doesn’t know the man.

He spent an incredible 47 years flying high on the airwaves, having enjoyed spells on both the city’s main stations – Merseyside and City – but suffered an unexpected crash landing last December.

And life off-air, despite some consolations, hasn’t been a bowl of cherries.

Asked what the best and worst things have been about the past 12 months, he says: “I don’t think there is a best thing at all, and the worst is feeling out of the loop with what is going on in the music world.”

We are talking in Billy’s home in New Brighton, and, as ever, his lively and enthusiastic conversation is full of questions. Had I watched this or that programme? Had I heard this or that song? What did I think about this or that event?

He remains as interested in what is going on around him as ever, and it’s hard to accept that he’s no longer got a high profile platform which he can use to play the music he loves and have the conversations with listeners that he loved.

Billy Butler at home in New Brighton.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

I try to play Devil’s advocate – or, if you like, Roger Phillips talking to one of his phone-in callers: “Billy, you are 77. Wasn’t it high time you put your feet up, relaxed and did as little as possible?”

But the concept of retirement is clearly not one that sits easy with Mrs Butler’s Eldest – who presented his much-loved quiz Hold Your Plums alongside Wally Scott between 1983 and 2000 (though Billy continued to delight its fans by playing old clips).

About broadcasting, he tells me: “It’s in my blood and it’s hard to give it up after all that time. It’s hard to retire when you think you have still got something to offer.

“I have been doing stuff but the only things available to appear on are online radio stations, which is good but it’s only been every now and then. I am currently considering an offer from one of the online stations for a two-hour Saturday morning show, playing ‘60s and ‘70s music.”

On Saturday December 22 last year, the broadcasting legend told the ECHO of his “upset” at having to leave Radio Merseyside.

Billy Butler and Wally Scott will be bringing the Radio City roadshow when they turn on the Christmas lights. 27th November 1996.

Billy, then 76 and presenting two days a week, had posted a message on his personal Facebook page, telling friends and fans: “I regret to say that Radio Merseyside have decided not to renew my contract. So my last shows will be this Thursday and Friday. Thank you. Tune in for the end of an era.”

And how did he feel, during that final show? “It was bizarre,” says Billy.

“It didn’t sink in that it was my last show, and I almost presented it on adrenaline.

“The last record I played was ‘Goodbye-ee’ by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – I treated it humorously.

“It’s been difficult since then because I was looking for new stuff all the while, to play and talk about – then, all of a sudden, it was gone. It was a disaster because I wasn’t expecting it.

"The first couple of months were not so bad because my wife (Lesley) was threatening to throw all my stuff out (anyone who knows Billy will know he’s a great collector). So I took that time to go through my things and get rid of some stuff on eBay. I found it quite exciting – what was and wasn’t selling.

“So the start of the year went quickly, while I have done a few after dinner speeches and presentations, because I think it’s essential to keep in touch with the public.

"And I’ll be co-presenting the big Sixties Merseybeat Legends concert at the Philharmonic Hall with Ricky Tomlinson in February. Also, I have watched a lot more telly since I left Radio Merseyside and have been able to go away a lot more with my wife, which is excellent, so it’s not all bad!”

But that nagging “It’s in my blood” feeling won’t go away – “I hear things on the radio and think ‘I would have played that’.”

Billy is active on Facebook, and has delighted his friends by posting items of memorabilia, explaining: “It’s been a great way for me to share things – reproducing stuff from my time on Radio Merseyside. And I was totally overwhelmed by the lovely comments I received on Facebook after I announced I was leaving the station – I still am.

“People still stop me – I was in Costco recently and somebody told me ‘I suppose everybody says this, but I really miss you on the radio’.”

In April, Billy was honoured with a special, and surprise, tribute night at The Cavern Club – which was organised by wife Lesley, and friend and former colleague, Nichola Mackay. He described it as “One of the greatest nights of my life.”

Introducing Billy to the cheering crowd, compere Asa Murphy said: “We just wanted to show you how much we love you in Liverpool. You have done so much for so many people. We are all so thankful for what you have done – you truly are a legend.”

A stunned and emotional Billy modestly told the invited audience, which included musicians and entertainers he had featured on his radio shows: “This is so kind of you. All I did was my job, that’s all – it was my privilege.”

Today, he says: “I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all the people who still stop me in the street and say how much they miss me being on air. Instead of talking to people on the radio, I am now talking to myself!”

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And, finally, there is one particularly special person Billy wanted me to thank in this article: “My wife Lesley has been so patient with having me home all week, and in encouraging me in everything I do.”

That was the end of my audience with Billy Butler – a man used to passing the time of day with much larger audiences.

And a man who, I reckon, will never become the retiring type.