Former BBC newsreader Richard Baker dies aged 93

Richard Baker in 1969

Former BBC newsreader Richard Baker has died aged 93.

The son of a plasterer, London-born Baker introduced the first news bulletin broadcast on BBC TV in July 1954.

He went on to become one of the BBC’s best known personalities, fronting the Last Night of the Proms and presenting on Radio 2 and 4.

Baker’s son James said his father died this morning at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Baker’s studies at Cambridge University were interrupted by World War Two.

He served on a minesweeper with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the conflict, attached to the supply convoys to Russia.

A keen amateur dramatist, Baker resumed his education after the war and joined the BBC in 1950 as a radio presenter.

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Media captionRichard Baker introducing the first news bulletin broadcast on BBC TV

His long career at the corporation also saw him voice children’s TV series Mary, Mungo and Midge, and make three guest appearances on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

BBC director general Tony Hall paid tribute to the veteran newsreader, saying: “Richard Baker was at the forefront of the creation of the modern news presenter.

“He was a calm and assured presence who became the face of news for millions.

“Later, he became a great advocate for classical music, presenting many much loved programmes. But more than that, he was quite simply a lovely and charming man.

“Our sympathies are with his many friends and family.”

BBC journalist John Simpson was among the first to pay tribute to Baker on social media, describing him as one of the “finest newsreaders of modern times”.

ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart said Baker was a “giant” and a “true gentleman”.

“THE newsreader” for a certain generation, BBC presenter Simon McCoy has said.

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