Newsreader Richard Baker dies aged 93
Former BBC newsreader Richard Baker has died aged 93.
The son of a plasterer, London-born Baker introduced the first BBC TV news bulletin broadcast in July 1954. He went on to front the Last Night of the Proms and present on Radio 2, 3 and 4.
Baker’s son James said his father died this morning at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
BBC director general Tony Hall was among those to pay tribute, saying he “became the face of news for millions”.
Baker’s studies at Cambridge University were interrupted by World War Two.
He served on a minesweeper with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the conflict, attached to the supply convoys to Russia.
A keen amateur dramatist, Baker resumed his education after the war and joined the BBC in 1950 as a radio presenter.
Baker presented BBC TV news bulletins until 1982.
He was a regular panellist on the TV classical music quiz Face the Music and hosted Start the Week on Radio 4.
His long career at the corporation also saw him voice the animated children’s series Mary, Mungo and Midge, and make three guest appearances on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Lord Hall said Baker had been “at the forefront of the creation of the modern news presenter”, adding: “He was a calm and assured presence who became the face of news for millions.
“Later, he became a great advocate for classical music, presenting many much loved programmes. But more than that, he was quite simply a lovely and charming man.
“Our sympathies are with his many friends and family.”
BBC journalist John Simpson was one of the first to pay tribute to Baker on social media, describing him as one of the “finest newsreaders of modern times”.
ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart said Baker was a “giant” and a “true gentleman”.
Former colleague Jan Leeming was saddened by the news of Baker’s death.
He was “THE newsreader” for a certain generation, said BBC News presenter Simon McCoy.