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Richard Baker OBE (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 the first person to read 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 and he also presented many classical music programmes on both television and radio, including for many years the annual live broadcast from the Last Night of the Proms, and made cameo appearances in episodes 30 and 33 of Monty Python's Flying Circus. He also narrated Mary, Mungo and Midge, a children's cartoon produced by the BBC in 1969 and Teddy Edward for the BBC in 1973 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 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 ended.
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.
- Janet Thumim, Inventing television culture