Kay Alexander retires from BBC Midlands Today

Kay Alexander and Midlands Today production team
Image caption Kay Alexander (centre front) has been a BBC broadcaster for nearly 40 years

Kay Alexander has retired from the BBC after a career with the corporation lasting almost 40 years.

After graduating from the University of Birmingham in 1973, Ms Alexander joined the BBC at Pebble Mill in Birmingham as a reporter on Radio 4.

She later moved on to be a regular presenter on Midlands Today.

She said the time was right to go because her husband had retired at Christmas and she "was envious that he was free every day".

"It's a very difficult thing to get your head round when you've worked all your life but actually there comes a point you've paid your dues," she said.

"I'm not going to say we're going to be fabulously rich in retirement but we will be fine, just having that freedom will be nice."

'Genuine kind person'

Ms Alexander was born in Aldershot and after school went on to read English at the University of Birmingham.

She worked on programmes including You & Yours, Checkpoint and Woman's Hour.

Former on-air colleagues included Tom Coyne, Sue Beardsmore and Brian Conway - to whom she has been married for 24 years.

Tom Coyne praised her "professionalism" and said their rapport seemed to be popular with viewers.

Mr Coyne said: "I could poke fun at her and she would come back in a friendly way and this seemed to be a great success with viewers.

"I realised that she was a really genuine nice kind person and that's why, as well as her professionalism, she's probably survived so long."

'Early starts'

In October 2003, the Royal Television Society presented Ms Alexander with a special award to mark thirty years in television.

Midlands Today editor Robert Thompson said: "Kay is very much a broadcasting legend here in the Midlands - for nearly 40 years she has delighted audiences on an extraordinary range of programmes.

"She has also inspired colleagues to take up careers in television news and encouraged people to become even better at their jobs.

"We will miss waking up with her - but we know that she won't miss those half past three starts."

Ms Alexander is also finishing her term as chairman of the Birmingham Assay Office, but said she will stay on the board.

She is also a patron of Acorns Children's Hospice, an ambassador for the National Forest and a former director of the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre.

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