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Born in Chelsea to Vincentian parents, Andi initially presented CITV’s Free Time (16th September – 23rd December 1988) and briefly provided the continuity links on CITV in summer 1988.  However, he reached a much wider audience with Edd the Duck and Wilson (an arm purporting to be that of a butler) in The Broom Cupboard segments on Children’s BBC, which he presented from 29th May 1989 until 3rd September 1993.

He appeared in the school holiday series But First This! (10th July 1989 – 1st September 1989 and 12th July 1993 – TBC).  He was a presenter on The O-Zone (1989) and guest-presented on Going Live! (6th March 1993).  He co-presented The Red Nose Awards (1994 – 1996) and Antiques Roadshow – The Next Generation (1992 – 1993).  He left The Broom Cupboard to present Live and Kicking, alongside Emma Forbes and John Barrowman (1993 – 1996).  One well-remembered moment was when Terry Nutkins brought a tarantula into the studio for his animal slot and put it in Peters’ hands, in an attempt to help him overcome his arachnophobia.  After a few seconds, the tarantula moved and Peters dropped it on the studio floor.  Andi’s exit from the show was voted one of the biggest tear-jerking moments in TV history by Channel 4.  He also presented: Take Two (22nd October 1993 – 1994); EEK (BBC One, 1994); Short Change (1996).  He returned to CBBC for Hacker’s Birthday Bash: 30 Years of CBBC (2015). 

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John was born in Chelsea and educated at Winchester College and Pembroke College, Oxford where he obtained a law degree.  Having applied to join the British Broadcasting Company Limited in 1924 – and in the absence of a reply from the BBC – Snagge’s father, the redoubtable judge Sir Mordaunt Snagge, called on Reith’s deputy, Admiral Charles Car-Pendale, at Savoy Hill to ask what was happening.  The admiral explained that a great number of people had written to the BBC, and he was having to go through 1,500 applications.  “I am not interested in the other 1499,” said Sir Mordaunt loftily.  Snagge was engaged and in 1924 sent to be the assistant director of the newly opened local radio station at Stoke-on-Trent.  He broadcast his first sports commentary in January 1927 (Hull City v Stoke City football match).  In 1928, he moved to Savoy Hill in London to work as one of BBC Radio’s announcers, alongside Stuart Hibberd.  Listeners heard his distinctive resonant voice on the Home Service (1928 – 1933, 1940 and 1944).

John also became a commentator in the new outside broadcast department and famously commentated on the annual Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford (1931 – 1980).  During the 1949 University Boat Race, when the engine of the launch broke down, Snagge’s voice filled with excitement and he reported: “I can’t see who’s in the lead, but it’s either Oxford or Cambridge.”  He found in a coin shop near Broadcasting House a gold sovereign bearing the date of the first Boat Race in 1829.  Since then it has been used for the toss each year, including 1951 when Snagge had to describe the sinking of the Oxford boat.  He was assistant, outside broadcasts department (1933 – 1939) and assistant director, outside broadcasts (1939).  He provided the commentary for the 1937 Coronation of King George VI and again in 1953 for HM Queen Elizabeth II.

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Johnny made major contributions to children’s TV over 25 years including Play School (545 editions, 1967 – 1984, and occasional appearances until 1987) and Play Away (1972 to 1980), during which time he was the principle comedy writer for the show.

But Johnny is best known for popularising maths and science in writing and presenting several groundbreaking children’s TV series, with his producer/director Albert Barber: Think of a Number (six series, 1977 – 1984; the first series won a BAFTA in 1978); Think Again (five series, 1981 – 1985).  Think Again won the Prix Jeunesse, Munich, the Asian Broadcasting Union Prize for Chairs (1982) and a New York International Emmy nomination for Doors (1983) (it was beaten by a Canadian show with 20 times the budget).  Johnny also wrote/presented: Think! Backwards (1981); Think This Way (1983); Think It…Do It (two series, 1986 –1987).  He then joined Central TV for five series of Johnny Ball Reveals All (Central TV, 1989 –1994), directed by Clive Doig.

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Bill was born in Dittisham, near Dartmouth in Devon.  He joined the Meteorological Office at Exeter in January 1957 on leaving the Bristol College of Science and Technology.  Later that year, as an 18-year-old, he was sent to Christmas Island to observe the meteorological effects of the H bomb tests and later recalled seeing the “horrendous clouds”.  Bill was based in Germany as an observer with the RAF (1961 – 1963) and worked as a lecturer at the Met Office’s training college (1968 – 1970).

His broadcasting career began in 1972, when he transferred to the London Weather Centre to become part of the BBC Radio weather forecasting team.  He moved to TV forecasting in June 1975 and remained as part of the team until January 2000, with his final broadcast in December 1999.  In 1980, he had wished viewers a “goodbye” as promotion took him back to Bracknell where he worked in public relations.  In May 1983, he returned to take charge of BBC Television’s forecasting team, on the retirement of Jack Scott.  Bill was senior forecaster from May 1983 until his retirement.  He gained the rank of senior principal scientific officer.  He was one of the BBC’s best-known weathermen, with his trademark sign-off: a cheery wink at the end of each forecast.

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Carol was born in Morar.  After attending Napier University in Edinburgh, where she gained a BA in Commerce, she initially joined the BBC’s secretarial reserve in London, in 1984.  Various internal moves led to her first broadcasts for the BBC’s Religious Broadcasting department on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4.  In 1993, Carol joined the BBC’s Television Training department at Elstree on a freelance basis as a presenter.  During this time she researched, produced and presented a bi-monthly programme called Talking Issues and a weekly programme for HTV – The Guide.

In 1996, Carol joined the Weather Channel, presenting the weather on satellite and cable television, as well as on Talk Radio’s drivetime shows.  Having undergone meteorological training at the Weather Channel, Met Office and the BBC, Carol joined the team at the BBC Weather Centre in April 1998, appearing primarily on BBC News 24.  In October 2000, she joined BBC Breakfast, initially alternating every three weeks with Isobel Lang and Helen Willetts, presenting the weather bulletins.  She would welcome viewers with her cheery elongated Scottish “good morning” and it wasn’t long before she made the slot her own and became the programme’s resident forecaster, appearing from Monday to Thursday.  During her time with the programme, she has presented the weather from various locations across the UK – including a memorable broadcast during a snowstorm on the Glenshane Pass in Northern Ireland.  She has also presented the bulletins from events including Wimbledon and Ascot.

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Laurence John Thomas West, the son of a sailor, was brought up in Portsmouth.  His ambition was to join the Navy, but when he applied as a boy he was told he was “a few days too old”.  Instead, in 1924, he joined the RAF as an aircraft apprentice and was posted to RAF Cranwell as a coppersmith, an occupation which earned him the nickname ‘Knocker West’.  In 1933, he applied for pilot training and was soon flying a wide variety of aircraft.  By World War II, he had become an instructor and taught many of the young pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain.  In June 1940, he was awarded an emergency commission as pilot officer and a year later was promoted to flying officer and posted to the Central Flying School.  He was awarded the AFC in 1941 and the next year was promoted flight lieutenant. In 1945, he was posted to Transport Command.  At the end of war in the Far East, he was involved in bringing troops home to Britain and in 1948, was one of the many airmen who flew into Germany during the Berlin Airlift.  He was promoted to squadron leader in 1947, completing his RAF career with postings in the Air Ministry.  Meteorology had been a hobby during his years in the RAF and he took a degree in the subject and taught it to air crews.

In 1955, shortly after he retired from the RAF, Associated Rediffusion were granted the franchise to operate the ITV programmes for the London area and were looking for a qualified meteorologist.  West was the ideal candidate.  He became the first independent television weatherman and took a jauntier, less cerebral approach to his forecasts.  Instead of using terms like ‘isobars’ and ‘frontal systems’, he told viewers to expect ‘wind’ and ‘rain’.  Instead of the Met Office weather chart, he invented a device that would enable him to show changes over time.  This consisted of maps drawn onto a series of horizontal three-sided metal bars attached to a capstan rack, allowing him to change the map by turning a handle. He also developed the idea of using small mobile symbols of the sun, clouds, rain and snow, which could be attached by magnets to the map.  Viewers were encouraged to stay tuned by the owl which heralded West’s broadcasts and by the two weather girls whom he recruited on to the programme in 1958.  Always smartly dressed, West himself never appeared on television without a fresh flower in his buttonhole.  By the mid-1960s he had made nearly 3,000 broadcasts and retired in 1968.

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Trevor was always affectionately known as Trevor ‘The Weather’ Baker.  He worked for the Met Office from 1941 until 1962, including a spell in Hong Kong (1953 – 1956).  He was a veteran TV weather forecaster, appearing on screen for 25 years, briefly on BBC TV and BBC Radio in 1962, before his long association with the ITV Southern TV contractors: Southern (1962 – 1981 appearing on Day by Day) and TVS (1982 – 1987).  He retired and handed over his duties to Carl Tyler.  In 1981, Trevor’s local popularity was acknowledged when Southern Television granted Trevor his own Saturday night spectacular, Trevor Baker’s All Weather Show.

Trevor joined former BBC TV colleagues on Nationwide to celebrate the 25th anniversary of BBC TV Weather in January 1979, in which Bob Wellings interviewed past and present weather forecasters.  He also joined a get-together for BBC TV Weather’s 40th anniversary in January 1994.

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Chris – a former actor – was born in Hambledon, Surrey.  After working as a farm labourer, he joined the British Army and trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and in 1953 received a commission in the Royal Regiment of Artillery of the British Army.  He was promoted to lieutenant in February 1955, but resigned his commission in September 1956.  He had a relatively undistinguished acting career – his greatest screen role being Charlton Heston’s body double in Ben-Hur (1959).  He later appeared as an interviewer in Ask Mr Pastry (1961) and as himself in Mr Pastry’s Pet Shop (1962).

At the age of 25, Trace became the first male presenter of Blue Peter.  He was there from its first programme, broadcast on 16th October 1958 and stayed until 24th July 1967.  According to the BBC, he secured the job as presenter because he bonded with producer John Hunter Blair over their shared love of model railways.  During his time hosting Blue Peter, he was also a regular presenter on the BBC Schools programme Signpost (1961 – 1965).  After a season of bi-weekly programmes, Trace pointed out in his usual forceful way that he was “bloody knackered” and that if they didn’t get a third presenter to share the load, he would leave.  So John Noakes became the third member of the team in 1966.  By 1967, the Blue Peter production team was beginning to find Trace hard to deal with and were looking to replace him on the show, particularly when his wife divorced him for sleeping with another woman during a 1965 Blue Peter summer expedition to Norway.  The couple had two children.  Trace often threatened to resign and once the production team was happy that viewers had accepted John Noakes as a new member of the team, Trace’s next resignation was accepted.

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Valerie trained as a dancer at the Arts Education School.  She studied for two years at RADA (winning a one-term scholarship) and spent a year at Bromley Repertory as an assistant stage manager, playing small parts.  Over the next few years, Val did a lot of acting in both theatre and on TV.  A number one tour, Nest of Robins starring Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale was followed by a season at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge and the Theatre Royal, Bath.  In 1959, she starred in five episodes of the BBC sitcom The Adventures of Brigadier Wellington-Bull and also became one of the top female voiceover commentators for TV commercials.

Valerie became a BBC TV in-vision announcer in February 1962 and not long after auditioned for Blue Peter (April 1962).  Anita West was chosen instead of her but left after four months for personal family reasons and Valerie was then asked to take over.  She became one of the iconic and longest-serving presenters, from September 1962 until 3rd July 1972 – fondly remembered by many as the classic, ‘golden era’ line-up of Val, John (Noakes) and Pete (Purves).  She continued to appear occasionally in the studio from 14th September 1972 until 23rd December 1974 and finally on 19th January 1976, and also on film from 8th January 1973 until 25th May 1976.  She also popped up for special anniversaries, proudly wearing her gold badge which was awarded in 1994.  She presented: Blue Peter Royal Safari with HRH The Princess Anne (1971); Blue Peter Special Assignment (1973 – 1976 and 1981); Val Meets the VIPs (1973).  She appeared on the annual Christmas show All Star Record Breakers (1974 and 1975).

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Mike began his career as a newspaper journalist.  He would later move into acting before joining Tyne Tees TV first as an announcer then as a reporter (1962 – 1964).  He then switched to the ‘other side’ to present the BBC TV’s Look North programme from Newcastle for a staggering 32 years.  He also became quite well-known nationally for his regular appearances on BBC TV’s Nationwide in the 1970s.  In 1989, Neville was caught by TV prankster Noel Edmonds with a ‘Gotcha’ on his BBC One programme Noel’s Saturday Roadshow.  He was tricked into thinking he was filling seven minutes of airtime because there was a technical fault.

He was easily able to adapt to the situation and stay professional, and was the only local anchorman in the UK to ever receive such an award.  In 1990, he was awarded the MBE for services to broadcasting.

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