Audrey Russell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Audrey Russell
Born 29 June 1906 Edit this on Wikidata
Died 8 August 1989 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 83)

Muriel Audrey Russell, MVO (29 June 1906 – 8 August 1989) was a BBC Radio journalist (then called a "commentator"), the BBC's first female news reporter, and, in 1944, the first accredited female war reporter.[1][2]

Born in Dublin on 29 June 1906,[2] she became an actress (her stage debut was at the Lyric in London in 1937), and joined the BBC in 1942[3] after being discovered by them when interviewed about her wartime work for the National Fire Service.[2]

She travelled to mainland Europe just after the D-Day landings and reported from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway, before returning on health grounds in March 1945.[2]

In 1955, Russell gave a live commentary on the Coronation of Elizabeth II, from inside Westminster Abbey.[4] She also gave commentary on the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.[3]

She appeared as a "castaway" on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 29 July 1957.[5] In 1967, she was granted the freedom of the City of London, and was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1976.[2] She died of Alzheimer's disease in Woking, Surrey, on 8 August 1989.[2]

Her World War II military uniform (though non-combatants, war correspondents held military rank) is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum.[3]


  • ——. A Certain Voice. 


  1. ^ "Women in news or 'news tarts'?". BBC Online. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pimlott Baker, Anne (2004). "Audrey Russell". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Beret (war correspondent)". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "BBC radio coverage of The Coronation - 1953". Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Desert Island Discs - Castaway : Audrey Russell". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2014.