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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Born in Surrey and after completing a degree in French and German at the University of Manchester, Sophie spent a year teaching English to teenagers in Toulouse before studying for a postgraduate course in broadcasting and journalism at City University, London.  Sophie’s career at the BBC began in 1992, when she joined the regional trainee scheme and went on to become a reporter at Greater Manchester Radio and in 1994, moved to Brussels to become Europe correspondent for the BBC regions.

In May 1995, she moved to BBC Leeds as a reporter and presenter for Look North, where she remained until 1997, when she moved to network TV in London to co-anchor BBC TV’s Breakfast News (1997 – 2000), initially with Justin Webb, then with John Nicholson and in 2000 with Jeremy Bowen (when the programme was rebranded Breakfast).  She was a relief BBC TV newsreader in April 2002 and in January 2003, she became one of the main co-presenters on the BBC News at Six.  From May 2006, having just returned from maternity leave, she took up the role of presenter of the BBC News at One

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Redvers is regarded as one of ITV’s announcing greats.  He was born in Germiston, South Africa and named after General Sir Redvers Buller, British military commander in the Anglo-Boer War.  He began his broadcasting career as a student at Johannesburg University, where he presented for SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation).

He arrived in the UK in 1952 and spent a year teaching in a south London school before freelancing on radio and television for the BBC.  He co-narrated the Television Puppet Theatre production of Two of Everything (14th April 1955) and St Jerome and the Lion (14th April 1955).  In 1955, with the arrival of Independent Television, Redvers switched to ATV in London, where he presented on a Sunday afternoon programme.  He also worked for ITN, providing commentaries for news film.  In 1956, he joined Associated-Rediffusion (later Rediffusion London) Television in London and in 1964 was promoted to chief announcer.  He presented the first schools programme Looking and Seeing (1957) and various children’s programmes: Puzzle Parade (1959); Book Parade (1959 – 1960); Music Parade (1960); Enquiry Unlimited (1960); Milestone (1961); Ollie’s Follies (1961); Strike a Chord (1962); Tuesday Rendezvous.  On the station’s final day of broadcasting, Monday 29th July 1968, as chief announcer, Kyle opened and closed the station for the last time.  For the final closedown he was joined by Rediffusion weatherman Laurie West and fellow continuity announcer John Kelley.

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Huw was born in Bridgend, Glamorgan and graduated from University College, Cardiff with a first-class degree in French.  He joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1984 and originally worked for BBC Wales and S4C, but then moved to become a reporter for BBC TV’s Panorama (1993).  Some of Huw’s later roles: parliamentary correspondent, BBC Wales (1986 – 1988); political correspondent, BBC TV News (1988 – 1997); chief political correspondent, BBC News 24 (1997 – 1999).

He was also a relief newsreader, BBC TV News (June 1994 – September 1996) and became a permanent member of the newsreading team from May 1999, as the main anchor of BBC One’s BBC News at Six.  He would go on to become the main anchor on the BBC News at Ten from January 2003.  In 2005, Huw stepped in to present children’s news programme Newsround and in April 2006, he began presenting the new BBC News at Five programme on the BBC News Channel.

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Jack was a popular BBC TV forecaster (17th May 1969 – 4th May 1983) and for many years was the senior forecaster.  He also presented forecasts on BBC Radio.  He was a Met Office employee (1941 – 1983), working on RAF stations (1941 – 1968).  He recalled his broadcasting career in a 1994 BBC Weather Centre press release: “I allowed my name forward for a television forecaster post and after an interview and two auditions went to the London Weather Centre for a half-day training session with Peter Fettes, a brilliant training officer (former BBC announcer/presenter in the 1940s and 1950s) who cleared me for radio and in early 1969, I joined the TV team.  We now had our own office at TV Centre and worked there half the time.  I worked in tandem with Graham Parker and Bert Foord having internal trial runs and eventually made my debut broadcast, one which in those days was recorded in the late evening for broadcast at closedown, around midnight.

“I had a habit of winking at the producer’s assistant immediately after the end, merely to indicate our success. I was shocked one evening to notice on the monitor that I was still on camera during the wink. A week later Richard Baker received a letter from a young girl (Susan aged 12) and it read: ‘Dear Mr Baker, you should know that Jack Frost doesn’t give us the weather – God does.  And Jack Scott seemed to know that, because he winked at you at the end.’  In the early 1970s, we persuaded the Met Office and the BBC that four forecasters were necessary to run the roster so Keith Best joined us.  At the beginning of 1974, both Graham and Bert were promoted and Barbara and Mike joined the team.  At that time the Met Office had a ‘dedicated posts’ policy wherein most jobs related to a particular grade.  It was this policy that forced both Graham and Bert off the TV.  When I was promoted in 1975, the BBC insisted to the Met Office that I stayed.  I was now in charge of training and made regular visits to the Met Office Training College and when the BBC had regional Met Office weathermen I studied videos of their forecasts and John Kettley was eventually chosen by this method.

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Nan was co-presenter on BBC TV’s Information Desk (1955 – 1956) and Mainly for Women (1957).  She was a reporter on BBC TV’s Panorama (c. 1959) and presented on BBC regional TV’s Town and Around (1959 – 1960) and Living Today (1962 – 1963).  She was a panellist on Call My Bluff (1967 and 1969).  She was also a BBC TV in-vision announcer (1958 – 1961) and has a unique place in broadcasting history, as she was the first female to read the national news on BBC Television (19th June 1960 – 14th March 1961) and not Angela Rippon, as many people still mistakenly claim.

Nan later complained about her treatment in the Daily Mail (1964): “I suffered at the time.  I suddenly felt like a Jew or a Negro and now I understand a little better how such people feel when faced with prejudice and discrimination.  I believe there is certainly discrimination against women in this country.  There were times when I was doing the announcing when I wanted to shout aloud like Shylock ‘hath not woman eyes, ears, senses?’  In Italy and Spain they have women newsreaders who are beautiful and sexy too. We’re afraid of that here.”  Nan was invited to the 25th anniversary reunion of BBC TV News in July 1979, but declined to attend as she was not interested in being remembered for her TV work.

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Muriel was born in Bishop Middleham, near Sedgefield, Co Durham.  On leaving school, she worked briefly as a librarian.  She attended art college, before deciding to embark on a career as an actress.  She joined a repertory theatre in Henley-on-Thames, where her uncle was directing.  She subsequently performed at the Gateway Theatre, London and the Theatre Royal in Chatham.  Trying to get into the film industry, she did modelling for advertising agencies, including promoting products such as toothpaste.  She also studied to be a dental nurse and used her artistic talents to paint glassware.  Starting out as an actress, she starred with Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall in The Constant Husband (1955) and also featured in The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953) in a segment featuring The Mikado.

Muriel had a screen test for a BBC TV announcer position on 24th June 1952.  In 1955, as the first ITV company (Associated-Rediffusion) was gearing up to launch, she intended to attend an actors’ audition at the company, but mistakenly went to an audition for announcers instead. Nevertheless, Young was instantly hired and announced for Associated-Rediffusion on 22nd September 1955, the opening night of commercial television in the UK.  She worked as a presenter and interviewer for regional programmes on Granada Television and Southern Television, and as a disc jockey on Radio Luxembourg.  She was cast alongside Peter Sellers in the movie I’m All Right Jack (1959) as an announcer, without the director knowing that it was in fact her real-life job.

However, her career could have easily taken a different route. Just before joining ITV, she had been on stage touring with Eamonn Andrews, in a game show called Double or Drop.  Shortly after signing her ITV contract, he told her that he had sold the idea to the BBC.  It was later used as part of the children’s show Crackerjack!

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Charles was born into a naval family, in Rochester, Kent.  He was educated at Westminster School and joined the BBC as a finance clerk in January 1975.  The following year came his ‘lucky break’ when he applied for a job as clerk to Radio 4’s The World at One and PM programmes and ended up presenting a sports round-up on the Saturday edition of PM.  His first broadcast was 24th April 24 1976 and he was, in his own words “appalling”!

The following year, Charles went on a training attachment to BBC Radio Oxford where he spent a blissful summer in the Parks commentating on university cricket.  It didn’t last, as the BBC HR department said if Radio Oxford couldn’t give him a full-time job he had to go back to central directorate accounts as he was “being exploited”!  His protestations that he didn’t mind being exploited fell on deaf ears and he was hauled back to London kicking and screaming. By January 1978 though his days as a “don’t wannabe accountant” were over, as he secured another attachment, this time to BBC Radio 4 as an announcer.  Within six weeks the attachment had become a full-time position.  He was still just 22 and the youngest ever staff announcer.  Continuity announcing and eventually news reading soon made him a familiar voice to radio listeners but, not one to let the grass grow underneath his feet, in the summer of 1980 he had his first look at the world of television with an attachment to TV presentation; joining the team of voices behind the iconic spinning BBC globe.  He also had his first taste of in-vision work when he was sent to BBC East in Norwich for six weeks which required him to read the close-of-day news bulletin.

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Barbara was born in 1939.  She joined the Met Office in 1957 and until 1962 worked in the library and editing department at Harrow, sub-editing and proofreading meteorological publications; in 1962, she moved to Bracknell HQ to undertake similar work.  From 1963 until 1970, she worked as a forecaster at Gatwick and Heathrow Airport.  Barbara was based at the London Weather Centre forecasting for commerce and industry (1970 – 1979) and has the distinction of being the first female national BBC TV forecaster, appearing from January 1974 until June 1978; she was also heard on BBC Radio during the same period.  She was the BBC One Christmas Day weather presenter once, in 1975.

Prior to leaving the Met Office in 1980, she worked in the public services department at Bracknell’s HQ, dealing with enquiries and guided tours.  Barbara left the BBC TV team, as she disliked the constant criticism of her dress sense, which the male members of the team didn’t have to contend with.  She joined past 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.  She also attended a get together for BBC TV Weather’s 40th anniversary in January 1994.  Barbara returned briefly as a relief weather presenter on BBC TV’s Breakfast Time (1984).

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