Keith was born in Sandwich and was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral.  He trained in catering, then joined the Merchant Navy but illness brought him home and he started work in the advertising department of Granada Television in London.  Keith was involved with British offshore radio from its very earliest days and in 1960 met John Thompson, a journalist who planned to launch Britain’s first offshore station, to be called GBLN (after his wife Ellen).  Keith, along with Roger Gomez, recorded various programmes for the station but the project never materialised.  Thompson later helped launch Radio Invicta and King Radio.  In 1964, Keith joined Radio Atlanta, staying on as the station changed into Radio Caroline South.  He left the ship in December that year but continued to work for the station on land.  He returned to the Mi Amigo for a brief stint the following Easter.

While with Caroline, he put together the tribute to Winston Churchill, presented by Simon Dee, which was broadcast on the day of Churchill’s funeral in January 1965.  He also worked at ABC Television, the North and Midlands weekend contractor, until 1968, as an in-vision continuity announcer, but also found time to broadcast on Radio 390 under the name Gary Courtney, from the forts on the Whitstable coast.  Following his pirate days, Keith was involved with the Local Radio Association’s successful campaign to introduce commercial radio to Britain.  He has worked for a number of broadcasters both in the UK and Canada, both seen and heard on the British Forces (BFBS) network and lectured on various aspects of the media.

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Born on The Wirral, Siân is an ex-international sprint hurdler.  She gained a BA (hons) in acting from LIPA.  Siân’s acting TV credits include: Cutting It (2004); Casanova (2004); Hotel Babylon (2006); Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2006); New Tricks (2007); prison officer in Coronation Street (2011);  Holby City (2012); Moving On (2013 and 2016); Doctors (2014); Critical (2015).  She narrated Kerry Katona: The Next Chapter (2010 – 2011) and since 2017, has been a freelance BBC TV announcer on BBC One and BBC Two.  Most recently Siân has worked in theatre, appearing at the National Theatre; in 2018, she appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders in Lady Windermere’s Fan in London’s West End.  Siân is the owner of St David Coffee House in London SE23.

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Born in Royston, Herts, Trish started out as a stage manager in the theatre and was the longest-serving female TV announcer in the UK.  She announced live for LWT, ITV, Channel 5, BBC World, BSB Galaxy, Super Channel, TVS, Westcountry TV and The Family Channel.

Trish’s career – which began in 1982 – includes live event announcing, documentary narration, e-learning, online training, the corporate sector, commercials, TV promos/marketing and season launch campaigns, radio imaging, audio books and internet-based projects.  She’s also produced pre-recorded announcements for many TV channels in the UK and voiced television promotional trails for numerous TV stations, including a number of the ITV channels.

It’s highly likely that you’ll recognise Trish’s voice – maybe from weekends on LWT (1982 – 2002), on ITV promotional trails (until 2008), CSI Nights on Channel 5 or possibly even from a plane, where she could be heard announcing for British Airways on Flight TV.  Trish has also been a radio station imaging voiceover – she has been the ‘station voice’ for Talk Radio, LBC, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Pembrokeshire, Wave 105, Radio Scilly (the smallest station in the world) and Breeze 107.

Trish voiced a Bill Gates presentation to the UN and was the live stadium announcer for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games, London 2012.  More recently Trish fulfilled the same role as the ceremonies stadium announcer for the First European Games, Baku 2015 and for the Islamic Games, Baku 2017.  She started her events career as the English-language opening and closing ceremonies station announcer for the 15th Asian Games in Doha.

Trish has also announced for various award ceremonies and corporate events including the John Lewis 150 Years Celebration at the LG Arena, The Times Higher Education Awards, The Financial Times Business Book of the Year Awards, BAFTA and the Royal Television Society.  More recently she was the live ‘Voice of God’ for Letters Live 2017, at the Union Chapel.

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George joined the Met Office in 1939 as a met assistant with No 4 Bomber Group at FAF Yorkshire.  From 1942 until 1953, he worked as an RAF forecaster in the UK, Normandy, Belguim, Holland and Germany.  He was based at the London Weather Centre when he was selected to be the very first BBC TV forecaster, appearing on air from 11th January 1954 until March 1957, from the Lime Grove Studios.  He recalled the origins of the TV forecast in a 1994 BBC Weather Centre press release:  “In November 1953, the Met Office and the BBC agreed that a live presentation on television of the weather forecast would be a ‘good thing’.  The BBC only wanted one man whom they could build into a personality but the idea of a civil servant becoming a personality was anathema to them and argued the job could not been done seven-days-a-week by one man.  About 20 of us were called up.  We were given a weather map and about half-an-hour to prepare a mock briefing, television style.

“We were judged by Clive Rawes (producer, BBC Presentation), Dr Farquharson (assistant director public services, Met Office) and Bill Hanson (head of what became the London Weather Centre).  Of the 20, Tom Clifton, who had been a very successful broadcaster on the then defunct Airmet service, was virtually an automatic choice and greatly to my surprise I was also chosen.  Rawes and Hanson devised the method of presentation and the organisational details.  A large press conference was held in Broadcasting House on the 4th January when Tom and I were introduced to the national and regional newspapers. Each afternoon we produced charts of today’s 12 o’clock and tomorrow’s forecast at 12 o’clock with isobars and fronts drawn with thick felt-tip pens with a small ‘caption chart’ summarising the forecast in words to be shown at the end of the forecast.

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Andrew was born in Paisley and attended Glasgow University, where he edited the student newspaper, the Glasgow University Guardian; he also dabbled in student television.  He was a member of the Dialectic Society, the Conservative Club and participated in Glasgow University Union inter-varsity debates.  In 1971, he was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students.  He graduated in 1971, gaining an MA with honours in political economy and political science; he had been tutored by Vince Cable and had a focus on American history.  After his graduation, Neil briefly worked as a sports correspondent for local newspaper, the Paisley Daily Express, before working for the Conservative Party as a research assistant.  In 1973, he landed a correspondent job with The Economist. It was whilst in this role that Andrew started making regular appearances on British television and radio. In 1979, he was appointed American correspondent at The Economist and became a familiar face on US TV networks, as a political and business commentator.

He returned to the UK in 1982, taking up the post of editor at The Economist and in 1983 he became the editor of The Sunday Times – a position he held for 11 years.  In 1988, he was founding chairman of Sky TV and in 1991, launched a Sunday morning radio talk show on LBC.

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Born in 1929, Vera worked as an actress in the theatre and began her broadcasting career in Children’s Hour on BBC Radio in Manchester (1948 – 1954), working with Violet Carson and Uncle Mac, before going for an audition for BBC Children’s Television in London.  She then worked as a presenter on the following: For Deaf Children (1956); Studio E, a magazine programme for older children, aged around 9 to 14, from Lime Grove Studios (7th January 1957 – 18th November 1957 and 28th April 1958 – 28th July 1958); Focus (1958 – 1960); Picture Book (1st April 1963 – 1965).  She narrated: Rhythm Rendezvous; Belinda; Little Tiger (1956); Cornelius (1957); Hikey the Hedgehog (1959); The Magic Cockerel and the Diamond (April 1961); Picture Time; Puss’s House (1962); The Mischievous Cat (3rd April 1963); Clapperboard (1964); 13 new colour episodes of Andy Pandy (1970).  She was also a storyteller on Play School (21st November 1966 – 25th November 1966, 27th November 1967 – 1st December 1967, 21st August 1969 and 4th August 1970).

Vera acted on BBC Radio in The Black Cap Has to Wait (1949) and Women’s Rebellion (1951).  She co-presented The Night is Young on the BBC Light Programme (1954 – 1955).  On BBC Television, she appeared as an interviewer on Personality Parade (1955 – 1956); she was a hostess on Afternoon Hostesses Tea-Party (20th December 1955) and Pantomime Tea Dance (24th January 1956).  She introduced Mainly for Women (1956 – 1957 and 1959) and presented on For the Schools (1959), Family Affairs, 1910 – 1960: Fifty Years of Guiding and Sunday Special: Can You Answer This? (1960).

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Born and educated in London, Richard graduated from Cambridge University and served in the Royal Navy during World War II, returning to London to work as an actor and teacher.  He joined the BBC as a radio announcer on the Third Programme and Home Service (1950 – 1959).  Richard spoke the first words on the BBC’s first television news bulletin – News and Newsreel – on 5th July 1954, with the following announcement: “Here is an illustrated summary of the news.  It will be followed by the latest film of events and happenings at home and abroad.”

Over the next three decades, he presented at some point on all main BBC One and BBC Two news programmes.  Notable newsreading dates were:

  • 31st October 1955: read the first newsflash at 8pm, announcing that HRH The Princess Margaret would not marry Gp Capt Peter Townsend.
  • 20th September 1969: read the first bulletin (lunchtime news) from the new studios in the 6th floor spur at BBC Television Centre.
  • 21st September 1970: read the Nine o’Clock News for the first time.
  • 5th July 1979: 25th anniversary of BBC TV News.  Richard read the Nine o’Clock News.

On the 7th September 1982, it was announced that Baker would leave BBC TV News at the end of the year.  ITN embarrassed the BBC by getting a scoop and announcing the news first.  He retired from his national newsreader role on 31st December 1982.  His last BBC One news bulletin – at 9pm -showed a compilation, featuring clips of Baker reading the news, appearances on The Morecambe and Wise Show and newsroom staff singing Goodbye.   His very last news bulletin was on BBC Two at 11.35pm that night, completing 28 years and 5 months on the newsreading team, making him the longest-serving newsreader.  He ended the bulletin by pouring a glass of white wine and drinking a toast saying it was the end of the year and the end of an era for him.

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Born in India, Kenneth was educated at Felsted School and Oxford, where he gained a degree in modern languages. He was a school master and later captain in the Coldstream Guards during World War II; he was injured on D-Day.  He was a BBC Radio Home Service announcer (1948 – 1959) and was also one of the original team of BBC Radio Home Service announcers who appeared as a BBC TV newsreader, with his debut on 19th July 1954 on News and Newsreel.  Over the next three decades, he presented at some point on all news programmes on BBC One and BBC Two.

Notable dates in Kenneth’s early newsreading career:

  • 4th September 1955: the first of the regular newsreaders to be seen in-vision, although still unnamed on screen, reading the 11pm summary.
  • September 1957: he was chosen alongside Richard Baker and Robert Dougall to be the regular team of newsreaders.
  • 17th December 1957: Kendall’s name was the first to be superimposed at the end of the late-evening news.
  • February 1958: Kenneth read a newsflash about the Munich air disaster in which seven of Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ were amongst 21 people killed.
  • 19th February 1961: an announcement was made that Kendall would disappear from viewers’ TV screens to go on attachment to the BBC TV Planning Department.  He made his final appearance reading the news on 12th March 1961 with a reported “quiet goodbye”.

He was also a BBC TV in-vision announcer (1960 – 1961) and freelanced as a presenter (1961 – 1969): BBC TV children’s Pit Your Wits (1961 – 1963); Fascinating Facts (October, December 1963 and February – May 1964); and BBC TV’s regional magazine Town and Around (1969). He anchored Southern Television’s nightly magazine Day by Day in the mid-1960s and made appearances as a newsreader in Troubleshooters (1965 and 1967), Dr Who (The War Machines and Adam Adamant, 1966) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).  On 14th July 1969, Kendall rejoined the newsreading team after eight years of TV presenting in other genres.  He was on newsreading duty when BBC One began transmitting in colour on 17th November 1969 and on 21st September 1970, presented the Nine o’Clock News for the first time.  In July 1976, newspapers reported that both he and Richard Whitmore had started wearing glasses to read the news.  On 17th July 1979, he famously lost a tooth whilst reading the BBC Two news and in June 1981 it was announced that his contract would not be renewed as Peter Woon, the new head of BBC TV News, wanted to move away from announcers to journalists reading the news.

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Liverpool-born and educated at Oxford University, Krishnan’s broadcasting career began in 1988, when he presented discussion programme Open to Question (BBC Two, 1988 – 1989); he was also a reporter on youth current affairs programme Reportage (BBC Two, 1988 – 1989). Whilst at university, he presented BBC Two’s Asian current affairs programmes Network East (1989) and East (1990). He then switched to children’s television, presenting and reporting for Newsround (BBC One, 1991 – 1994) and Newsround Extra; whilst with the programme, he covered various major news events, including the war in Sarajevo, the Indian earthquake in 1993 and the Russian elections. During his time reporting abroad for Newsround he also filed reports for Breakfast News (BBC One) and guest co-presented Going Live! on 9th and 16th January 1993

In July 1994, Krishnan joined BBC Two’s Newsnight team as a producer and reporter (1994 – 1997); he also anchored news programmes on BBC World (1994 – 1997). In 1997, he was one of the launch presenters on the BBC’s new rolling news channel, BBC News 24 (1997 – 1998), where he occupied the 12pm – 4pm slot.  His time at the BBC also included co-presenting The National Lottery Live (1994) and participation in major news events such as the 1997 General Election programme and the coverage of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, also in 1997.

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Alastair was a broadcaster whose career spanned four decades.  He was born and brought up in Burton-upon-Trent.  He founded/owned Al Kay Promotions, an entertainment company which managed clubs and pop groups (1967 – 1973).  Alastair moved into broadcasting in 1973 as presenter/producer at BBC Radio Derby, where he spent two years.  Other broadcasting jobs included: host of the daily morning show at BBC Radio Leicester (1976 – 1977); newsreader on regional news programme Midlands Today; newsreader on BBC Radio 4; current affairs host on BBC Radio Birmingham (1978 – 1980); presenter/reporter, Grampian TV (1980 – 1985); presenter/reporter, Anglia TV (1985 – 1988).  Alastair had the distinction of being the first male anchor on Sky News when the channel launched in 1989.  He co-hosted the breakfast programme there until 1991.

Alastair returned to the BBC as an anchor on BBC World News (1992 – 2011).  He was a founder presenter on BBC News 24 (later the BBC News Channel, 1997 – 2011).  There was a break in his BBC career, where he was host/anchor of English language news programme on Deutsche Welle TV News (1998 – 2001).  Since retiring, Alastair had taken up the lead role as lead and chair of ADHA Richmond – a parent/carer support group for this neurodevelopmental condition.  His distinctive, rich, deep voice was once again heard across the airwaves when he presented the news on Classic FM/Smooth Radio for a period during 2013.

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