(Real name Michael Manning). One of Michael’s first broadcast roles was that of BBC Radio 4 announcer (1973 – 1974). He also worked as a newsreader/announcer at the BBC World Service (1975). He later moved to BBC Bristol as a radio/TV announcer followed by spells in London, Southampton, Manchester and Plymouth. In 1980 he had his first shift as a BBC TV network announcer. He remained in that role until his untimely death in a car accident on 18th April 1984.
In September 2010, Jeff Coote, a former colleague of Mike’s, contacted us: “Although it is very difficult for me to write this, I think that it is important to record the information once and for all so that people know and understand what happened on that sad day. Mike was on his way from his flat in Heather Court, Montpelier Terrace to spend a couple of days with me and my wife in Ruislip when he had the accident. His friend Ross (he was a VT editor on BBC Breakfast Time) was driving them in his Mini on the A23 from Brighton. An old man had stopped in a lay-by (just north of the junction with the A281) intending to cross the dual carriageway to visit a friend. He started to cross in front of an articulated lorry just as Ross and Mike were overtaking. Their car was pushed across the central reservation (nothing more than a raised kerb in those days) and hit a car coming in the opposite direction (I met the driver at the inquest, who had suffered serious permanent injuries but survived). Apparently Ross fell across Mike’s lap (probably died on impact) which caused him to be extremely upset. According to people who helped at the scene of the accident, Mike was sitting on the grass bank and talking while waiting for the ambulance.
“I still don’t know why he died and there seemed to be some confusion about where he was taken after the accident as his mother wasn’t sure which hospital to go to. My wife and I visited her in Brighton for some years afterwards but I don’t think she ever really recovered from the loss. I never knew anything about Mike’s father.
“Mike was going to be the godfather to my eldest son Christopher.
“Together, Mike and I tried to move BBC continuity from the staid Radio 4-ish style (long periods – i.e., more than half-a-second – of silence and black) of presentation to something (cuts between slides and symbols and programmes with no pauses but still with some style) which held the viewers attention, to try to match the programmes that Michael Grade was having enormous success (and viewing figures) with at the time. By the time Mike died, I think we had quite some success with the support of the more ambitious network editors, such as Martin Everard. And BBC One has never been the same since.”
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Michael in March 1984 – a month before his tragic death: “As far as I can see Clive Roslin was last on BBC Television on 31st April 1983 and Michael Stirrup on 17th March 1982. I am enclosing a few articles from the Royal Television Society’s magazine which may interest you. Rex Moorfoot touches on the subject of announcers in-vision in the article enclosed. The men went out-of-vision at about the time he took over as head of Presentation, and as far as I can remember the women remained in-vision until the mid-1960s – 1964 or 1965. Photographs are something we don’t have, but the new Radio Times features pictures of the Radio 4 newsreaders as part of a new occasional series. Perhaps if there is sufficient interest they will include the television announcers at a later date. There are people all over the BBC who have been announcers at one time or another, but I couldn’t begin to come up with all the names. Sorry about that.”
Michael also kindly sent through some recent Presentation schedules and it appears that his final slot on the rota was the BBC Two late shift on Wednesday 4th April 1984.
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Michael 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.
Saturday morning BBC One continuity from Michael Maine in 1982.
Michael Maine closing down BBC One for the night in January 1984.
Michael Maine closing down BBC One in May 1983 - but not before introducing Jack Scott's final BBC weather forecast.
Michael Maine closing down BBC Two at Christmas 1982.
A couple of examples of Michael Maine reading the news in-vision on BBC One West in February and March 1981.
PICTURED: Michael Maine. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: BBC.