Sally Magnusson

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Sally Magnusson
Born (1955-10-11) 11 October 1955 (age 65)
Glasgow, Scotland
NationalityScottish, Icelandic
EducationLaurel Bank School for Girls
University of Edinburgh
OccupationBroadcaster, writer
Spouse(s)Norman Stone
Children5, including Jamie
Parent(s)Magnus Magnusson
Mamie Baird
FamilyJon Magnusson (brother)

Sally Magnusson (born 11 October 1955, in Glasgow), is a Scottish broadcaster and writer. She is the presenter of Reporting Scotland for BBC Scotland as well as Tracing Your Roots on BBC Radio 4 and was one of the main presenters of the long-running religious television programme Songs of Praise.

Early life[edit]

Sally Magnusson was born in 1955 and is the daughter of the Icelandic-born broadcaster and writer Magnus Magnusson. Her mother, Mamie Baird, also worked as a journalist.[1][2] Footballer Archie Baird was her maternal uncle.


Magnusson was educated at Laurel Bank School for Girls,[3] a former independent school (which later merged with another independent school, The Park School, to form Laurel Park School,[4] itself to merge in 2001 into Hutchesons' Grammar School) in the city of Glasgow, followed by the University of Edinburgh, where she studied English Language and Literature.

Life and career[edit]

Magnusson started her career in journalism at The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh and then the Sunday Standard in Glasgow.[5] She is often seen on BBC television, most notably as a long-serving presenter of BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland news programme, a role she shared with Jackie Bird and now Laura Miller.

In the 1980s, Magnusson was a presenter on the BBC's Breakfast Time. In 1987 she was part of the Breakfast Time team, including Frank Bough, Jeremy Paxman and Peter Snow, which covered the results of the general election. From 1989 onwards, she co-presented the programme's replacement, Breakfast News, initially with Laurie Mayer, and in later years, with Justin Webb.

In 1999, Magnusson narrated the Q.E.D documentary Saving Trudy.[6]

Magnusson has presented many television programmes, ranging from Reporting Scotland to Panorama to Songs of Praise.[7] In 2005 she joined BBC Two's The Daily Politics as its Friday presenter.[5] In 2005 she presented the BBC's Scottish Election Night coverage.


Magnusson is the author of Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere.[8] She has also written books about the Scottish runner Eric Liddell, who refused to run on the Sabbath day due to his Christian beliefs, and about the Cornish Christian poet Jack Clemo and his marriage to Ruth Peaty.

Magnusson wrote the children's book Horace and the Haggis Hunter, which was illustrated by her husband, Norman Stone.

The Seal Woman's Gift, Magnusson's first novel for adults, was published in February 2018.

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Norman Stone, a TV director.[9] She lives in the village of Torrance, East Dunbartonshire.[9] Magnusson and her husband have five children.[10]

Awards and honours[edit]

She has received Honorary degrees from several institutions: in 2009 a Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University, in 2015 an honorary degree from the University of Stirling[11] and from the Open University on 29 October 2016.


  • The Flying Scotsman: The Eric Liddell Story. 1981.
  • Clemo, A Love Story. 1986.
  • A Shout in the Street: The Story of Church House in Bridgeton. 1991. ISBN 9780861531509.
  • Family Life. 1999. ISBN 0002570637.
  • Glorious Things: My Hymns for Life. 2004.
  • Icelandic Saga. 2004.
  • Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend. 2005.
  • Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere. 2010. ISBN 1845135903.
  • Horace and the Haggis Hunter. 2012.
  • Horace the Haggis and the Ghost Dog. 2013.
  • Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything. 2014. ISBN 1444751786.
  • The Sealwoman's Gift. 2018. ISBN 9781473638952.


  1. ^ "Templeton Bowling Club hold summer fett [sic]". Daily Record / Rutherglen Reformer. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  2. ^ Grant, Linda (31 January 2014). "Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything by Sally Magnusson – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 February access
  3. ^ Craig McQueen (16 June 2009). "Different Class". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  4. ^ Barclay MacBain (Education Correspondent) (7 February 1996). "Park and Laurel Bank to merge - Old adversaries bow to increasing pressures on independent education by joining forces". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "BBC - Press Office - Sally Magnusson". 4 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sally Magnusson". BBC. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2010.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  8. ^ Life of Pee: The Story of How Urine Got Everywhere: Sally Magnusson: Books
  9. ^ a b "Sally Magnusson's book in running for literary prize". Kirkintilloch Herald. 19 October 2014.
  10. ^ Rachel Carlyle (2 February 2014). "BBC presenter Sally Magnusson on her mum's battle with dementia".
  11. ^ "Sally Magnusson and John Byrne to receive honorary doctorates". STV News. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2016.

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