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He served in the RAF and trained at RADA. He then acted on stage in the West End and on tour. He was an announcer for ATV when the normal announcer was not available. He then had a variety of acting roles in film and television from the 1950s onwards, and presented various game shows including Password, Tell the Truth, Dotto, This Is Your Chance and The Law Game (BBC Radio 2).
He hosted the pilot episode of ITV's "Whodunnit?" (1972), before the show was taken over by Edward Woodward for the first series (1973)and then Jon Pertwee from series two to series six (1974-1978). He made a guest appearance on the panel of "Knife in the Back", a series one episode of "Whodunnit?" (1972).
He is today best known for presenting Police 5, a long-running 5-minute television programme first broadcast in 1962 that appealed to the public to help solve crimes. He later presented a spin-off show for younger viewers called Junior Police 5, aka JP5. His catchphrase was "Keep 'em peeled!" - asking viewers to be vigilant. This was originally used at the end of every JP5 programme, but according to Shaw Taylor himself, "...at the suggestion of a friend I tried it out on the adult Police 5. I thought it sounded a bit naff at first but then the studio crew seemed to get withdrawal symptoms if I didn't say it at the end of the programme and it became a catchphrase that complete strangers still shout at me in the street".
In 2008, at the age of 83, he featured as himself hosting Police 5 in the seventh episode of the BBC TV drama Ashes to Ashes, set in October 1981, in which he uses the aforedescribed "Keep 'em peeled!"
He plays bridge and presented a television series on the subject.
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