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BOB'S BIOGRAPHY

There are many strings to Bob's bow. Or one could say that he is jack of many trades and master of none. No let's stick to the former!

Music

Bob (or to give him his full title - Dr Robert Eagle CBE, BSc, PhD) was brought up in Clacton on Sea, on the Essex coast, where he attended the local schools including Clacton County High School. Clacton was a major sea-side holiday resort with summer shows at the West Cliff and the Ocean Theatres. Bob's parents took him to see many of these shows which gave him his first taste of music and comedy. Bob started singing at an early age and performed at concerts for old people and in church groups. He started to learn to play the piano at the age of ten and was taught how to "play by ear" - the ability to pick up and play a tune without music. During his mid to late teens, he played in dance bands in Clacton, for £5 a night, or provided the cabaret at a number of social events. It was there that he pioneered his accompanist skills, usually accompanying slightly tipsy men who were determined to sing their own song - in their own (ever changing) key - and in their own (ever changing) rhythm. He participated in the Clacton County High School drama productions including lead roles in Gilbert and Sullivan. At University, he continued with lead roles in the University of London Opera Group. He taught himself the rules of harmony (with a book from the library and one, written in 1898, lent to him by the church organist) and started to write songs. He studied conducting for two years at Morley College, under Brian Brockless, himself a student of Celibidache. He joined the London Emmanuel Choir in 1973, initially as a tenor, but progressed to being the pianist in 1977. It was a position he retained until 2003 when the work of the choir came to an end. In addition he took on the role of conductor from time to time, wrote a number of songs for the Choir, many of which have been recorded, and performed in many major venues such as the Albert Hall, Festival Hall, South Bank, Fairfield Halls, Westminster Central Hall and Winchester Cathedral. During this time, Bob continued his other various performance interests in music and drama, with Church music ventures and pantomimes. When his Choir work came to an end Bob decided to start a solo work with a musical variety solo show designed for the older audiences and special events for churches. He entertained with a combination of songs, piano and witty repartee, with a touch of ventriloquism thrown in.

Radio Presenting

Bob had always wanted to try his hand at radio presenting and quite recently decided to give it a go. He presents "Hits of the 60s" on the Venture Radio internet station and "My Kind of Music" for both Eastbourne (DGH) and Portsmouth (QA) hospital radio stations. In addition he presents a Sunday morning favourite hymns show "Sunday Morning Worship" on Portsmouth Hospital Radio (QA). This programme is repeated on Monday evenings. An edited version of this programme is also played on Heaven's Road FM internet radio station on Sundays and Mondays.

Civil Service

After university, Bob contemplated a career in banking or the oil industry, but was intrigued by a job he saw advertised in the Police Scientific Development Branch of the Home Office. The department was chiefly involved in developing new computer systems for the police service. New computerised command and control systems, criminal information and criminal intelligence systems were being produced. Bob recalls that it was an exciting time. It had the flavour of a university research department with much creative energy - but, in his opinion, it was developing a useful and practical product, compared with the largely academic and intellectual pursuits at university research departments. He started his work influencing driver behaviour, particularly at accident blackspots, to assess whether police action could help.

After the Yorkshire Ripper case in the early 1980s he led the project to develop a computer system to run police incident rooms. Initially called MIRIAM (Major Incident Room Index and Action Management) it went on to become the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) which enabled police forces to link up their information on serious crimes.

From there he moved into mainstream Home Office administration, where his first job was working as the secretary to the review of financing the BBC, the Chairman was Professor Sir Alan Peacock, in the mid 1980s, which looked at the whole of broadcasting. Amongst other things this led to Channels 3 & 5 and franchising of the ITV system.

Subsequently he worked in the prison service, responsible for policy relating to women prisoners in the late l980s, before returning to broadcasting and working with the Bill team behind the Broadcasting Act 1990.

Next he led the implementation team on the Criminal Justice Act 1991 before moving to the Department of National Heritage, (which had just been set up) with the late Sir David Calcutt QC, who had already done one review of press self-regulation and suggested the press should be allowed one last chance to get it right. This was the predecessor of the Leveson enquiry

Between 1993 and 1997 he was head of Home Office finance until 1997 when the New Labour government came in with major law and order manifesto commitments. He then became head of the Crime and Disorder Bill team, which was responsible for the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

He led the team which developed and then became the first head of the National Asylum Support Service, which brought relief to hard-pressed councils nearest the ports in Kent, Sussex and London, and dispersed asylum seekers around the country.

He briefly took up a post concerned with the reform of sentencing powers before returning to the immigration department after the tragedy of 9/11 to lead a Nationality and Immigration Bill team tightening up legislation.

He took a secondment to Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for two years where he was head of the department responsible for Customs and International Trade. On his return to the Home Office he was appointed head of the Asylum Casework Directorate which is responsible for considering all claims for asylum made under the United Nations Convention. He took the opportunity for early retirement in 2007.

He was made a CBE in the 2002 New Year's honours list.

Physics and YouTube videos

It was at Clacton County High School that, inspired by one of his teachers, Bob gained a fascination for physics. He is very proud of the fact that at the end of his fourth year at school he got 95% for Physics in the end of terms exams, but only 35% for English!

He went on to study at King’s College, London, where he gained a BSc in physics. He completed a PhD in nuclear physics at Bedford and King’s Colleges.

Having taken a job in the Civil Service his opportunity to pursue his interest in physics was much reduced. But after retirement he decided to catch up on all that had been happening in the interim. In order to make a simple aide memoir he made some simple videos. He uploaded them to YouTube thinking that they might be of benefit to perhaps a handful of others. He continued to make videos and initially these were viewed by only a few viewers. Then one day he noticed that the viewer number was increasing by hundreds. He wasn’t sure why. It turned out that one of his videos (on Olbers Paradox - why is the sky dark at night) had been selected by Google as its science video of the day. Viewer numbers continued to increase. Bob decided to produce a full set of videos for A level Physics and later for GCSE physics. In addition there are a number of playlists for aspects of physics taught at university. He is amazed and delighted that his YouTube channel has 150,000+ subscribers and has had 12 million views.

Family

Bob is married to Jackie and lives in West Sussex. He has three grown up children and five grandchildren. His son's family live on the Moray Firth coast in Northern Scotland, so Bob and his wife enjoy regular visits. In his spare time he enjoys walking his dogs (especially by the seaside), listening to music, watching a range of DVDs, playing the piano, competing with his grandchildren, drinking coffee in a variety of outlets and watching rain fall.