Richard Baker (broadcaster)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Richard Baker OBE RD
Born (1925-06-15) 15 June 1925 (age 93)
Willesden, Middlesex, England
Occupation Broadcaster
Years active 1954–2007
Spouse(s) Margaret
Children Andrew

Richard Baker OBE RD (born 15 June 1925) is an English broadcaster, best known as a newsreader for BBC News from 1954 to 1982. He was a contemporary of Kenneth Kendall and Robert Dougall and was the first reader of the BBC Television News (in voiceover) in 1954.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of a plasterer, Baker was born in Willesden, North London, and educated at the former Kilburn Grammar School and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. After graduation, he was an actor at Birmingham Rep and a teacher at Wilson's School, Camberwell. He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II and was awarded the Royal Naval Reserve decoration.

Broadcasting career[edit]

He started at the BBC as an announcer, introducing the first BBC television news broadcast on 5 July 1954, although John Snagge read the actual bulletin.[2] He is also closely associated with classical music, and presented many music programmes on both television and radio, including, for many years, the annual live broadcast from the Last Night of the Proms. He was a regular panellist on the classical music quiz show Face the Music.

Baker made cameo appearances in three episodes (30, 33 and 39) of Monty Python's Flying Circus and in the 1977 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.[3] He also narrated Mary Mungo & Midge (1969), a children's cartoon produced for the BBC, and Teddy Edward (1973), another children's series, as well as Prokofiev's composition for children Peter and the Wolf. On radio he presented Baker's Dozen, Start the Week on Radio 4 from April 1970 until 1987, Mozart, These You Have Loved (1972–77), Melodies for You for BBC Radio 2 (1986-1995, 1999-2003)[4] and the long-running Your Hundred Best Tunes for BBC Radio 2 on Sunday nights, taking over from Alan Keith, who died in 2003, before retiring in January 2007 when the programme was dropped by the BBC.

Personal life[edit]

Baker's time in the RNVR bore fruit in the form of a biography of Vice-Admiral Sir Gilbert Stephenson KBE, CB, CMG, under whom he had served. The Terror of Tobermory was published by W.H. Allen in 1972. He and his wife Margaret have two sons; Andrew, a sports columnist at The Daily Telegraph and James, a television executive at Red Arrow Studios.

In May 2015 he was awarded the Ushakov Medal for his service in the Arctic convoys of World War II.[5] At the time of his 90th birthday Baker was living with his wife at a retirement village in Oxfordshire.[5]


  1. ^ Thumim, Janet (16 Dec 2004), Inventing television culture, Oxford: OUP, ISBN 9780198742234 
  2. ^ "Richard Baker: The birth of TV news". BBC. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 2 Nov 2014. 
  3. ^ The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show 1977 at BBC Programmes
  4. ^ International who's who in music and musicians' directory 
  5. ^ a b Andrew Baker (29 June 2015). "The man who invented the art of television newsreading". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 

External links[edit]