Bruce was born in 1951. He’s a former studio manager and BBC TV announcer (1975 – 1984). He also appeared in-vision on BBC TV’s Breakfast Time‘ in 1983, in the ‘TV Choice’ slot and as the out-of-vision commentator on Come Dancing (1980 – 1984). He left BBC staff in 1986, initially to work on the launch of Superchannel, the early pan-European satellite TV experiment. Later his voice was instantly recognisable on a large number of UK TV promotions, in particular for the ITV network in the late-1980s and early 1990s, including LWT, TVS, Anglia, HTV and Westcountry. London viewers may fondly remember his voiceovers on promotions for Thames Television from the mid-1980s until the channel ended on 31st December 1992; his was the last pre-recorded voice from Thames, heard delivering the sign-off line: “Thames. A Talent for Television”.
From its launch in 1989 until 2014, Bruce was the voice of sport for Sky Television, initially on Eurosport and then on the Sky Sports channels where he continued to voice virtually all sports promos for the next 25 years, as well as the ‘top of the hour’ announcements for Sky News. Every week, from 1989 until 2017, Bruce voiced IMG’s international sports magazine show Trans World Sport, on Channel 4, alongside Sue Carpenter. Over the years there have also been countless corporate voiceovers and commercials in the UK and overseas, as well as roles such as the ‘station voice’ for many commercial radio stations, large and small.
Other TV credits include: commentator, The Circus World Championships (1980 – 1983); The British Academy Awards (1988); It’s My City (1989); narrator, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (1989); The People’s Game (1991); Blood, Sweat and Glory (1992); voiceover, The Hypnotic World of Paul McKenna (1993); Talking Telephone Numbers (1994 – 1995); Noel’s House Party (1997)’; Ninja Warrior UK (2015 – present); Go For It (2016).
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Bruce in August 2017.
How Did You Get into Announcing?
“I joined BBC Television Presentation on a six-month attachment from my job as a studio manager at Bush House. This would be in the summer of 1975. I never returned to Bush because a permanent announcer vacancy arose and I was appointed to that in December 1975. After my Breakfast Time stint in 1983, I returned to Presentation where I did a spell as assistant editor. There was also some ‘guest appearances’ on Breakfast Time, and indeed I’m sure I must have done some announcing as well. I think you are right about pegging my end date to the old-style BBC One globe, as I don’t recall having to deal with anything other than the little model and the ‘Noddy’ camera. I left the BBC in March 1987, though I can’t say precisely when my last continuity shifts would have been. Quite a few people jumped ship around that time because of the launch of Channel 4, then Superchannel.”
Any Memories of Special Events You Covered During Your Announcing Days?
“My only abiding memory of major events during my time in Presentation was working through the Falklands war when the schedules were scrapped several times a day and we really did ‘wing it’ for hours on end. I recall receiving a supposedly morale-boosting visit from some BBC bigwigs during a particularly sweaty episode and basically telling them to go away as I was far too busy! My personal memorable moments: being not entirely sober in charge of closedown on BBC Two very late one Friday night – nobody noticed; Christmas on duty at TV Centre – I loved it and in about 1975 I was sent to Paris to co-present an ‘English evening’ on TF1 – in-vision and in French – alongside a gorgeous ‘speakerine’ called Fabienne Egal. Unlike us anonymous BBC continuity announcers, she was a star. We went out on the town afterwards – and for the only time in my life I was recognised.
“Occasionally an announcer would get roped into a bit of extra curricular activity. My own claim to fame was to provide some bits of nonsense for several episodes of Spike Milligan’s Q series, including one where I announced his death while Spike became increasingly puzzled on screen and started checking his pulse! After I left the staff, I had the honour of filming with Spike in some cod interviews to link together sketches from his shows for a BBC Video. Alan J. W. Bell (of Last of the Summer Wine fame) was the director and we had a great time. The resulting video – The Best of Spike Milligan – is now on DVD and still available from Amazon. Sadly there are no royalties!”
Bruce is now semi-retired or at least under-employed!
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Bruce which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
Only a matter of weeks in the job, here's Bruce Hammal announcing on BBC One in September 1975.
Spoof continuity, courtesy of Bruce Hammal, introducing Spike Milligan's Q.
Bruce Hammal on announcing duty on BBC Two on Christmas Day 1982.
BBC Two continuity from 2nd November 1982, featuring Bruce Hammal.
PICTURED: Bruce Hammal. SUPPLIED BY: Bruce Hammal. COPYRIGHT: Bruce Hammal.