News presenter Richard Baker, who introduced the first TV news bulletin on the BBC in 1954, has died at the aged of 93.
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.
Richard Baker, who has just died, was one of the finest newsreaders of modern times: highly intelligent, thoughtful, gentle, yet tough in defence of his principles.
— John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) November 17, 2018
He started at the BBC as an announcer, introducing the first BBC television news broadcast on 5 July 1954. 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 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.
A giant. Not a 'journalist', but that wasn't the style in his day. Burnet, Day, Gall et al came along and changed all that. Richard 'Dickie' Baker was also a master of the arts, especially music about which he wrote beautifully. A true gentleman. #RIP https://t.co/kadgvvwVXQ
— Alastair Stewart (@alstewitn) November 17, 2018
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), Melodies for You for BBC Radio 2 (1986–1995, 1999–2003) 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.
Remembering Richard Baker- THE newsreader for a generation of us – and a huge influence on me. #RIP
— Simon McCoy (@BBCSimonMcCoy) November 17, 2018
Baker died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Sadly my father passed away this morning at the age of 93. Great broadcaster, great dad and grandfather. RIP. pic.twitter.com/N4AknFGFDU
— Andrew Baker (@ccAndrewBaker) November 17, 2018