Norman worked at the Met Office (1947 – 1984). He was a BBC TV forecaster (March 1959 – March 1964); during the same period he was also heard on BBC Radio. He joined former BBC TV colleagues on Nationwide to celebrate the 25th anniversary of BBC TV Weather in January 1979 – Bob Wellings interviewed past and present weather forecasters.

Norman has since passed away. Date of death unknown.


Correspondence

Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Norman in January 1987 about his career: “You must realise that the events you are enquiring about occurred 25 or more years ago and I must depend on my memory, which is probably not what it used to be. I was on the TV team from March 1959 to March 1964 and I did join it before Bill Bruce. The ones doing it at the time were Tom Clifton, Philip McAllen, Jack Armstrong and TM Davies. I replaced DG (Downie) Armour who was returning to his native Scotland. Tom Kelly, together with Ken Pollard, only did a few presentations, but Trevor Baker joined us during the early 1960s, did a year or two, and then resigned from the Met Office to go to Southern TV.

“I was in the Met Office from October 1947 when I was demobbed from the RAF until I retired in July 1984. The first two years were at RAF stations in Lincolnshire, then I did two years at the Met Office at Harrow in the Marine branch. On promotion to a forecasting grade I went to Northolt – which was then the HQ of British European Airways – and forecast mainly for the Paris and Channel Islands routes.

“From 1953 to 1956 I did an overseas tour at Malta and from early 1957 to January 1959 was at RAF Pershore. It was while I was there that I did a detachment at Gloucester Met Office and met TM Davies, who was then doing occasional duties on TV in London, and he told me Downie Armour was leaving and asked would I be interested? I wasn’t dead against it, so had a camera test and that was it!

“After leaving TV in 1964, I went to the Met Office Library at Bracknell and apart from a year or two at Heathrow and in the Central Forecasting Office that is where I remained until retirement. The radio forecasting started the same year as I started on TV – 1959. It was planned to be a summer only service entitled Your Holiday Weather but proved to be so popular in that glorious summer of 1959, which broke many records, that it was carried on. It went out at 8.55am for five minutes. The very earlier broadcasts were done in a studio in Bush House, but during that summer the London Forecast Office, as it had been called for many years, was moved into the ground floor of Princes House in Kingsway, renamed London Weather Centre, and had a shop and its own broadcasting studio. TV presentation, however continued to be at Lime Grove until the new TV Centre at White City was opened.

“TV presentation in those days was done using charts hand-drawn by the forecasters. The 6am Atlantic chart had to be drawn by us in the Kinsgway office and carried rolled up when we travelled by tube to Shepherd’s Bush. Then at 5pm, we rang Kingsway and obtained, in code, a forecast chart for midday the next day, drew that up, and then discussed by telephone the situation with the senior forecaster at Bracknell. A caption chart was agreed which was set up with magnetic characters by the TV people. We only had 2 minutes 20 seconds for the presentation of the weather over the whole of the British Isles and this was frequently cut down at the very last moment to 2 minutes or less because the news was overrunning! The whole thing was very hairy! I don’t know who took over from me as I went sick in March 1964 and did not return to LWC, but it was probably Bert Foord whom I had been coaching only shortly before.

“The 25th anniversary in January 1979 was a very jolly affair. We were well entertained by the BBC which gave us good voice for the singing of The Sun Has Got His Hat On. I remember Tom Clifton, George Cowling (who was interviewed), David (Dixie) Dean, who fainted under the hot lights and the programme had to be recorded in two parts. Tom Kelly was there (he sadly died soon afterwards) and Downie Armour did the night’s forecast. Barbara Edwards, the only lady TV forecaster until then, was also there. I can only add that those early years were very exciting, but very wearing.”

 

Personal Information

Date of Birth: 22nd July 1924
Age: 95
Honours: Not Applicable


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Video Clips on the Internet

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Acknowledgements

FEATURE IMAGE:

PICTURED: Norman Ellis. SUPPLIED BY: Paul R. Jackson. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.

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