Arthur Clifford Michelmore
11 December 1919
|Died||17 March 2016 (aged 96)|
(m. 1950; died 2000)
Arthur Clifford "Cliff" Michelmore CBE (11 December 1919 – 17 March 2016) was an English television presenter and producer. He was best known for the BBC television programme Tonight, which he presented from 1957 to 1965. He also hosted the BBC's television coverage of the Apollo moon landings, the Aberfan disaster, the 1966 and 1970 UK general elections and the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1969.
Michelmore was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, in 1919, and attended Cowes Secondary School, Denmark Road, Cowes, Loughborough College and Leicester College of Technology and Art. He was a member of the 32nd entry of the Aircraft Apprentice Scheme at No. 1 School of Technical Training RAF which was located at RAF Halton. He was a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and began broadcasting on British Forces Network radio.
After the war he worked for BBC Radio and television as a freelance sports commentator, then as a news reporter and as a producer of children's programmes, including All Your Own. Michelmore married a nurse during the war but divorced in 1949.
On 4 March 1950 he married Jean Metcalfe, a BBC announcer, who presented Two-Way Family Favourites in London while he was presenting the Hamburg link in the programme for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. The two did not meet face to face for six months, but after meeting they were quickly engaged and married. Cliff called it 'love at first hearing'. They had a daughter, actress Jenny Michelmore, and a son, broadcaster and composer Guy Michelmore, both of whom have children.
From 1955 to 1957 Michelmore presented the BBC TV programme Highlight, a current affairs show with a reputation for uncompromising interviews. On 18 February 1957 he became anchorman for BBC Television's new topical weekday magazine show Tonight, which ran for eight years and attracted eight million viewers at its peak. This made him probably the most frequently appearing person on television at the time, and hence one of the best-known people in the UK. He was named BAFTA Television Personality of the Year in 1958. Michelmore introduced a 17-year-old David Bowie to his first television audience on Tonight in 1964. Bowie was introduced as the spokesman and founder of 'The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men'.
When Tonight finished in 1965, Michelmore hosted a BBC One series called 24 Hours until 1968. In 1967 he presented the UK segment of Our World (TV special), a worldwide TV broadcast that was the first to use satellite communication extensively in an attempt to "connect the whole world by television". The programme featured a performance by the Beatles of their song "All You Need Is Love". Michelmore used to claim that the song was at least partly inspired by the Our World logo, a chain of figures holding hands around the world. In the 1970s and up until the demise of Southern Television in December 1981 (the ITV contractor for much of southern England), Michelmore acted as chief anchorman and presenter for the evening local news programme "Day by Day". When the BBC closed their Lime Grove Studios in 1991, Michelmore presented the last broadcast from Lime Grove.
After leaving full-time television work, Michelmore became head of EMI's new video division. He was a regular presenter on BBC1's Holiday programme from 1969 to 1986, and presented other shows for BBC TV, ITV and BBC Radio. Michelmore returned to the BBC on 18 November 2007 to introduce a programme on the BBC Parliament channel, recalling the 1967 devaluation of the pound. He resided during his later life in the West Sussex village of South Harting.
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- "Jean Metcalfe: The Forces' Favourite". BBC News. 29 January 2000.
- "TV Commentary: Annual Awards". Glasgow Herald. 6 December 1958. Retrieved 13 November 2011.[dead link]
- Production paperwork, The Radio Times and BBC Archive library all list the title in words, while the programme's logo used numerals.
- "Obituary: Cliff Michelmore". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Our World: first ever live international TV production". European Broadcasting Union. 4 July 2007. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012.
- "Legendary BBC presenter Cliff Michelmore who anchored British coverage of the Apollo moon landings and several general elections dies aged 96". Mail Online. Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Cliff Michelmore Death: Six Things You Might Not Know About the BBC Broadcaster". Newsweek. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "Cliff Michelmore: BBC radio and TV broadcaster dies aged 96". BBC News. 17 March 2016.
- "Obituary: Cliff Michelmore". BBC. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.