Richard Baker (broadcaster)
|Richard Baker OBE RD|
15 June 1925 |
Willesden, Middlesex, England
Richard Douglas James Baker OBE RD (born 15 June 1925) is an English broadcaster, best known as a newsreader for BBC News from 1954 to 1982. He was a contemporary of Kenneth Kendall and Robert Dougall and was an early reader of the BBC Television News (in voiceover) in 1954.
Early life and education
The son of a plasterer, Baker was born in Willesden, North London, and educated at the former Kilburn Grammar School and at Peterhouse, Cambridge. After graduation, he was an actor at Birmingham Rep and a teacher at Wilson's School, Camberwell. He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II and was awarded the Royal Naval Reserve decoration.
He started at the BBC as an announcer, introducing the first BBC television news broadcast on 5 July 1954, although John Snagge read the actual bulletin. He is also closely associated with classical music, and presented many music programmes on both television and radio, including, for many years, the annual live broadcast from the Last Night of the Proms. He was a regular panellist on the classical music quiz show Face the Music.
Baker made cameo appearances in three episodes (30, 33 and 39) of Monty Python's Flying Circus and in the 1977 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. He also narrated Mary Mungo & Midge (1969), a children's cartoon produced for the BBC, and Teddy Edward (1973), another children's series, as well as Prokofiev's composition for children Peter and the Wolf. On radio he presented Baker's Dozen, Start the Week on Radio 4 from April 1970 until 1987, Mozart, These You Have Loved (1972–77) and the long-running Your Hundred Best Tunes for BBC Radio 2 on Sunday nights, taking over from Alan Keith, who died in 2003, before retiring in January 2007 when the programme was dropped by the BBC.
Baker's time in the RNVR bore fruit in the form of a biography of Vice-Admiral Sir Gilbert Stephenson KBE, CB, CMG, under whom he had served. The Terror of Tobermory was published by W.H. Allen in 1972. He and his wife Margaret have two sons; Andrew, a sports columnist at The Daily Telegraph and James, a senior executive at Sky Television.
- "History of BBC News". BBC.