Susan presented various BBC TV children’s series during the 1970s: Country Search (BBC One, 1975 – 1977); Play It Again… (BBC One, 1975); BBC Manchester’s The Sunday Gang (BBC One, 1976); Horses Galore (BBC One, 1977 – 1979); BBC Manchester’s sports series Stopwatch (BBC One, 1978 – 1980).  She was also a guest on All-Star Record Breakers (BBC One, 1975 – 1980), a panellist on Star Turn (BBC One, 1976, 1977 and 1979), and a reporter on We’re Going Places (BBC One, 1979).

Susan presented The Horse of the Year Show (BBC One, 1978), The Southampton Boat Show (BBC Two, 1978) and The Country Game (BBC One, 1984), before she moved into local news, presenting on BBC TV South West’s Spotlight, in the mid-1980s with Chris Denham.  Susan was then poached to co-host Today, TSW’s flagship news programme, with Chris Rogers.  Ironically, Chris left a few months later to anchor Spotlight, so the Beeb got its revenge!  Shortly afterwards, Today was relaunched as TSW Today with a new set and titles, and Susan became the main anchor, assisted by Dominic Heale at the news desk, and Pete Barraclough on sport.  Sue was visibly upset by the loss of the TSW franchise and was quite emotional during the final minutes of the last TSW Today programme on 31st December 1992.  Sue was also a stand-in presenter for Mike Scott on two editions of ITV’s daytime discussion programme, The Time…The Place… (1988).   Susan bounced back and a few months later could be found up the M5 in Bristol, co-hosting HTV News with veteran newsman Bruce Hockin and also hosted HTV West’s Gardening Calendar and A Taste of the West.

 

Correspondence

Paul R. Jackson was put in touch with Susan via Chris Denham and corresponded in August 2018.  Paul began by asking how she got her break in TV: “I was lucky to get a start in television.  My father used to buy and sell welsh mountain ponies and he kept a few and trained them for driving in harness.  We had one pony, who became well-known in the driving world and was featured in the Horse and Hound and the details were read by a BBC researcher looking for items for a children’s programme and filming in advance of finding a presenter.  They came to my family’s yard where they filmed my father and his horses, and me – and offered me the job.  I was just coming up to my 17th birthday and had no idea what was expected of me but learned very quickly.  That programme was called Country Search, which led on to Horses Galore and the rest is history.

“I did Stopwatch for several years and Thames Sport with Simon Reed.  Then, whilst going to the Isles of Scilly for a holiday, met up with a passenger in the seat behind me on the helicopter.  We got talking and he informed me there was a maternity cover coming up at Spotlight for six months. Unbelievably I was offered it after doing a dreadful interview (screen test) and after six months, I went back home to Guildford and then got a job with TV-am reading early morning sports bulletins.  After that, I forget how long, I returned to Spotlight, remaining there for five or so years, before joining TSW for a further five years and sadly after losing the franchise, I travelled up to Bristol to co-present with Bruce Hockin.  All my co-presenters were wonderful to me, very patient when I made mistakes, very kind and most I am still in touch with, even though it may just be the odd Christmas card.

“I have had the privilege of working with so many people, during children’s programmes.  I appeared several years running on Roy Castle’s Record Breakers Christmas show, where I met Kenneth Williams, Bernard Cribbins – names from the past.  I guest-presented on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, I presented pub food programmes, sports programmes such as boat shows for London and Southampton, health and wellbeing programmes, sailing, out-and-about – so many things I can’t remember really, but a wonderful career basically.

“My children were very young when my husband and I parted, and due to hours required to present a nightly news programme, I decided to leave HTV news and instead. for six years. presented a gardening programme for them, and in between that, there were other one-off programmes for various independent companies.

“I also undertook a college course after an advertisement in a local paper offering college places to women looking to go ‘back to work’, so the course was mainly about IT and computing and databases – none of which I knew much about.  The course took six months and combined with the gardening programme, kept me very busy, trying to juggle the children, course and work.  But anyway, after six months, I passed the course and was offered a job by the school/college running it to help with their finance department for one-day-a-week.  This fitted perfectly with television work but gradually over time, the school work became my primary job and here I am now some 20 years later, still at school and enjoying my job very much!  My children are now adults: my daughter lives and works in London, having gained a good degree in finance and management at Oxford (Exeter) University and my son works as first officer on a super yacht based in Monaco.  I have been very lucky, made the most of opportunities which came my way, made some very special life-long friends, and consider my cup as ‘always half full.'”

 

Personal Information

Date of Birth: 12th December 1956
Age: 62
Honours: Not Applicable


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Acknowledgements

FEATURE IMAGE:

PICTURED: Susan King. SUPPLIED BY: Paul R. Jackson. COPYRIGHT: BBC.

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