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Peter Dougherty 1955-2015

By | Published on Thursday 29 October 2015

Peter Dougherty

Former MTV producer Peter Dougherty, who created the show ‘Yo! MTV Raps’, has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 59.

Dougherty managed to convince MTV to allow him to film a pilot for his hip hop show at a time when the broadcaster was still very resistant to the genre. When it first aired in 1988, it became the highest rating show in the channel’s history, and in less than a year was so popular that it went from airing weekly to daily.

“He was there when things were happening”, Beastie Boys’ Adam Horowitz, who met Dougherty in 1980, told The New York Times. “Not just one thing, but all the big things”.

Also paying tribute was Don Letts, who met Doughtery in London in the late 70s while he was still a student. After he returned to the US, he would send Letts tapes of new music from the US, of which the DJ and filmmaker said: “How else would a black kid from Brixton have known to include the likes of Patti Smith, Television and The Ramones into my dub reggae DJ sets at the legendary Roxy Club?”

Dougherty moved back to London in 1990 to work for MTV Europe, which had launched three years earlier, before returning to the US in the mid-2000s. During his career, he also directed a number of music videos, including Beastie Boys’ ‘Hold It Now, Hit It’ and ‘Fairytale Of New York’ by The Pogues.

He is survived by his mother, two siblings and two children.