Alma joined the BBC in London in 1964 as a studio manager. She was then known as Alma Bickerton. She later took advantage of the BBC’s attachment system, which allowed staff to gain up to six months experience working in areas that interested them. She spent time as an announcer at BBC Radio 3 in the 1970s, where, she tells us, “her Scots accent provoked protests from the more reactionary listeners”. Another attachment took her to TV presentation in the mid-1970s, where she did out-of-vision continuity; she also voiced trails for children’s programmes. She was one of the first network BBC TV announcers to sport a Scottish accent. She worked for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 (1976 – 1977), but found that an administrative post did not suit, and so returned to BBC Radio Drama as a studio manager.
In 1980, Alma was invited to return to Scotland as an announcer and newsreader for BBC Radio Scotland, and later BBC Scotland TV. The TV announcing role at BBC Scotland included in-vision news presenting and Alma was a favourite with viewers for her warm, friendly manner. She was seen in-vision until 1988, reading lunchtime and late-night news bulletins for Reporting Scotland.
She was on duty on the last night of the BBC One COW globe in 1991 and is well-remembered by ‘pres’ enthusiasts for saying “goodbye cruel world” at closedown before treating viewers to one last “extra-long look” at the symbol.
Alma took early retirement in 1992, but continued as a freelance broadcaster with both BBC and STV, before finally deciding to give up broadcasting in 1997.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Alma in September 2017 and asked what she had been doing since leaving broadcasting: “I was working as a part-time postie. I wanted to do something entirely different from sitting in a continuity suite surrounded by TV monitors and computer keyboards, and delivering letters for Royal Mail in all weathers certainly provided a complete contrast. I did that for about five years, until the loads became too heavy.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Alma 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.
Alma Cadzow reading the 9.25pm Scottish news on BBC One Scotland c. mid-1980s.
PICTURED: Alma Cadzow. SUPPLIED BY: Online. COPYRIGHT: BBC.