Tony Bastable

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Tony Bastable
Born(1944-10-15)15 October 1944
Hexham, Northumberland, United Kingdom
Died29 May 2007(2007-05-29) (aged 62)
Redhill, Surrey, United Kingdom
OccupationTelevision presenter and producer
Spouse(s)June Buchan (1969 - 1971) (divorced)
Jacqueline Colkett (1974 - 1992) (divorced)
Anita Westwood (2001 -2007) (his death)

Anthony Leslie "Tony" Bastable (15 October 1944 – 29 May 2007) was an English television presenter, who was one of the original presenters of the children's magazine programme Magpie.

Early life[edit]

Bastable was born in Hexham, Northumberland, in 1944.[1] After moving to Wembley, Middlesex, he attended Wembley Manor School from 1952 to 1955 and University College School in Frognal, London.

On leaving school he trained to be a school teacher, teaching British History part-time at Buckingham College School in Harrow, Middlesex, whilst also working as a reporter for local newspapers.[2]

Television career[edit]

In the early 1960s, Bastable applied for a job as a television news reporter for Southern Television, but was turned down for being "too young".[1] Instead he was given a job presenting a children's programme. Within 18 months he was working for ATV as a presenter of children's shows, sports magazines and schools' programmes. In 1968 he moved to Thames Television and began presenting Magpie, a new children's programme, with Susan Stranks and Pete Brady.[3] Magpie was effectively a "groovier" version of the BBC's Blue Peter.[1][3] In 1972, he became Magpie's producer.

During his career, Bastable produced and presented many one-off programmes, including historical documentaries and current affairs programmes, and presented and commentated on many outside and sporting events.[1] He presented two series of Problems (1976-77), a programme on sexual difficulties, screened late, and with Claire Rayner in the first series, and Jenny Conway and Paul Brown for the entire run. For Thames he presented the Drive-In programme with Shaw Taylor from 1973 to 1978, and also its successor Wheels from 1980 to 1981. In 1976 he presented Miss Thames Television; he also wrote and presented 1776, the ITV programme on the US bicentenary, and he provided the commentaries for the award-winning historical series English Garden, which were delivered by Sir John Gielgud. For nine years Bastable presented the consumer protection series Money-Go-Round, and also presented shows such as Mind Over Matter, a programme he devised with Kit Pedler that investigated the paranormal, and the computing series Database as well as 4 Computer Buffs.[1] In addition, he was a panellist on radio shows and he narrated the Channel 4 nature programme Profiles Of Nature.

Later life[edit]

Bastable later moved into independent production, and he produced training and promotional films for companies such as the Ford Motor Company, the National Bus Company, the Royal Navy, the Department of Transport and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.[1] He also authored mini-history books for children on the 15th and 16th-century nautical explorers John Cabot and Ferdinand Magellan.[1]


He suffered from emphysema in his final years, and died at the age of sixty two from pneumonia at the East Surrey Hospital, Redhill, in the county of Surrey on 29 May 2007.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Bastable was a qualified cricket umpire and founded the Institute of Cricket Umpires and Scorers.[1] In 1972 he founded The Magpies, a wandering cricket team taking its name from the TV programme.[4]

He married three times. His first marriage was in 1969 to June Buchan, from whom he was divorced in 1971. In 1974, he married Jackie Colkett. They had a daughter, but divorced in 1992. He married for the third time, to Anita Westwood, in 2001.[1]

Popular culture references[edit]

Half Man Half Biscuit refer to Bastable in their song "I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)", from the 1985 album Back in the DHSS. He is also referenced in the song "Tony Bastable vs. John Noakes" by The Dentists, from the 1985 album Some People Are on the Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now.


  • John Cabot (Pub. World Almanac Library, 2003).
  • Ferdinand Magellan (Pub. World Almanac Library, 2003).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Tony Bastable - Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 2 June 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ Barker, Dennis (5 June 2007). "Obituary for Tony Bastable". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "First Magpie host Bastable dies". BBC. 31 May 2007.
  4. ^ "Obituaries index: A-E". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 6 May 2018.

External links[edit]