Sylvia Peters

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Sylvia Peters (born Sylvia Lucia Petronzio[1] in Highgate, north London, in 1926) is a former British actress, and from 1947 to 1958 a continuity announcer for BBC Television.[2][3] The family later moved to Finchley, north London.

After training as a singer and dancer, Peters played in musicals at the Coliseum Theatre in London.[4] In June 1947 she answered a newspaper advertisement for a continuity announcer for BBC Television, then based at Alexandra Palace, and was chosen from hundreds of applicants.[5] She was part the team of continuity announcers headed by McDonald Hobley, and with Peter Haigh, who joined in 1952. In 1954, Peters was chosen to host Come Dancing (the predecessor of Strictly Come Dancing), doing so until her retirement in 1958. In 1953, Peters introduced the live television broadcast of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. She would later be involved in teaching the Queen the broadcasting skills necessary for the Her Majesty's Royal Christmas Message broadcasts.[2]

In 1950, she married TV director Kenneth Milne-Buckley, who was responsible for the TV series Compact.

After retiring from the BBC in 1958, Peters opened a dress-shop in Wimbledon, London, and has rarely been seen on screen since, with a small number of appearances, notably the Sykes 1977 Christmas special, and for special shows such as the BBC Television Service's 50th and 75th birthday specials. In the early 1980s she appeared on the magazine programme Afternoon Plus for Thames Television where she appeared with McDonald Hobley and Mary Malcolm. Sylvia did enjoy a brief return to television presenting in the late 1980s when she joined Robert (Bob) Dougall, Brian Johnston and other hosts in presenting the Channel 4 magazine programme for the over sixties, Years Ahead.

In 2013 she introduced the digitally restored rebroadcast of the Queen's Coronation on BBC Parliament.[6]

In popular culture, Sylvia Peters and the presentation style used by her have often been satirised. One example of this is in the 2006 Doctor Who episode "The Idiot's Lantern".


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