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|Born||Barry Leslie Norman
21 August 1933
|Occupation||Film critic, media personality, novelist|
Barry Norman is the son of film director Leslie and Elizabeth Norman. He was educated at a state primary school and at Highgate School, then an all-boys independent school in North London. He did not go to university, but instead began his career in journalism at the Kensington News, later spending a period in South Africa where he developed a hostility to the situation created there by the emergence of apartheid. He is the brother of script editor and director Valerie Norman.
By the 1960s, Norman was a prominent journalist, and show business editor of the Daily Mail until 1971, when he was made redundant. Subsequently, he wrote a column each Wednesday for The Guardian, also contributing leader columns to the newspaper.
He presented BBC1's Film programme from 1972, becoming the sole presenter the following year. Norman's involvement was broken in 1982 by a brief spell presenting Omnibus. After having returned to the Film series in 1983, Norman became increasingly irritated by the BBC's reluctance to screen the programme at a regular time, and in 1998 he finally accepted an offer to work for BSkyB, where he remained for three years. Jonathan Ross took his place as the BBC programme's presenter.
Barry Norman was for some years a regular radio broadcaster. He was the original presenter of the BBC Radio 4 transport and travel show Going Places and of its sister travel magazine, Breakaway. He is a former chairman of The News Quiz on Radio 4 and also presented for the network, The Chip Shop, an early 1980s series dedicated to the emerging home computer industry.
He is associated with the phrase "and why not?", which originated not as his catchphrase - though he did say it occasionally on his programmes - but as that of his puppet likeness on the satirical show Spitting Image. Norman has since adopted the phrase himself, and it is the title of his autobiography. In a recent ITV documentary on Spitting Image, Norman admitted initially hating the way his puppet looked on the programme (mostly because it had a large inexplicable wart on its forehead, which he doesn't have), but later somewhat moderated his attitude and felt flattered that the series found him famous enough to include him in its sketches.
He was awarded the BAFTA's Richard Dimbleby Award in 1980, Magazine Columnist of the Year in 1990 and a CBE in 1998.
Politically, Norman is a supporter of the Liberal Democrats. He was a supporter of the Labour Party until the formation of the Social Democratic Party in 1981. He has named Shirley Williams as the politician he most admires.
- And Why Not?: Memoirs of a Film Lover (2003)
- See You in the Morning (2013)
- Who's Who 2013
- "Barry Norman defects to Sky". BBC News. 9 June 1998. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Laura Wilson Obituary: Diana Norman, The Guardian, 4 February 2011
- "Norman moves into pickled onions at". Telegraph.co.uk. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Culture jobs show Labour bias". BBC News. 5 November 1998. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Barry Norman. And Why Not?: Memoirs of a Film Lover. ISBN 978-0743449700