Ten Things #22: Birthdays

Digital Content Producer, About The BBC Blog

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This month’s notable BBC birthdays prompt the Ten Things series of posts out of temporary retirement. 

1. Alan Whicker, born 2 August 1925 

The veteran BBC broadcaster and journalist who died last month would have celebrated his 88th birthday on 2 August. He travelled the world as a reporter and presenter and was probably best known for his TV programme Whicker’s World, which ran for 30 years. Alan recalls an extraordinary encounter with notorious Haitian dictator ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier. Alan Whicker's Journey of a Lifetime is available on BBC iPlayer and is next on BBC Two on Sunday at 10.45pm.


2. Terry Wogan, born 3 August 1938

Irish DJ, broadcaster and presenter Terry Wogan turns 75 on 7 August. In his career he has presented on the Light Programme, on Radio 1 and Radio 2, hosted a 'thrice-weekly' chat show on BBC One and 'Blankety Blank' in the eighties. He is also famed for commentating on the Eurovision Song Contest. He last broadcast the Radio 2 breakfast show in December 2009 but continues his Sunday morning show, as well as being part of the presenting team for the BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal night.

Presenter Terry Wogan and Children in Need mascot Pudsey Bear in 2000

3. John Simpson, born 9 August 1944

BBC World Affairs editor, John Simpson joined the BBC at the age of 25; he turns 69 this month. In over 40 years at the BBC he has reported from more than 100 countries and over 30 war zones. He was in Iraq for the Gulf War in 1991, and describes the situation in an archive interview.

John Simpson presenting the BBC Nine O'Clock News in 1981

4. Madhur Jaffrey, born 13 August 1933

Indian actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey turns 80 this month. Her first TV appearance as a cook came in September 1982 when her eight-part series Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery aired on the BBC. In 2003 she appeared in EastEnders.

There are a selection of clips of Madhur’s TV series on YouTube and BBC Food also has a selection of her recipes including my favourite: Oven ki murghi (chicken breasts baked with green chillies and onions).

5. John Humphrys, born 17 August 1943

The broadcaster will be 70  this month. He’s been on air with Radio 4’s Today programme for over 25 years and was named Radio Journalist of the year at the Sony Awards 2013. He is also in his tenth year of putting contestants through their paces in the Mastermind chair.

Listen to a selection of John’s archive interviews on the Radio Academy website, including an encounter with a Dalek.

John Humphrys (centre) with fellow Today presenters Jenni Murray and Brian Redhead in 1986

6. Barry Norman, born 21 August 1933

Film critic Barry Norman turns 80 later this month. He is best known for the BBC Film Programme which started in 1972 and which he hosted until 1998. Watch a montage of his time at the Film Programme backed with the immediately recognisable soundtrack.

7. Stephen Fry, born 24 August 1957

Renaissance man Stephen Fry will be 56 this year. He’s a presenter, broadcaster, actor, writer, director, comedian… the list goes on. We at About The BBC are particular fans of his comedy with Hugh Laurie, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, see the clip for a bit of Fry’s genius in action.

8. John Peel, born 30 August 1939

The DJ and presenter John Peel who died in 2004, would have been 74 this year. He joined Radio 1 in 1967 and was a key figure in modern musical history championing artists like David Bowie, The Smiths and Joy Division. He hosted the legendary Peel Sessions and Radio 4’s Home Truths. Visit John Peel’s Record Archive on The Space for archive recordings, pictures and video.

John Peel

9. Sue MacGregor, born 30 August 1941

The former Woman’s Hour presenter turns 72 this year. She also fronted the Today programme and most recently she’s presented the acclaimed Radio 4 programme The Reunion for which she won a Sony Gold Award.

Woman's Hour presenter Sue MacGregor broadcasting in 1973

10. Cerrie Burnell, born 30 August 1979

CBeebies presenter Cerrie is 34 at the end of August. The disabled presenter joined the channel in 2009 just three months after becoming a mum, fronting Discover and Do and The Bedtime Hour. Read an interview with Cerri in the Guardian also watch an interview with Cerrie on the BBC Ouch! (disability) blog.

Jump Up And Dance, Cerrie Burnell pictured centre

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