Cliff Michelmore: BBC radio and TV broadcaster dies aged 96

Cliff Michelmore: BBC radio and TV broadcaster dies aged 96

Cliff Michelmore, a familiar figure in BBC radio and TV broadcasting since the 1940s, has died in hospital aged 96.

In a career spanning some 60 years, Michelmore anchored coverage of events including the Apollo moon landings and two general elections.

Known for his unflappable style, he interviewed figures including Prince Charles, Prime Minister Harold Wilson and a 17-year-old David Bowie.

BBC director general Tony Hall said he was an “outstanding broadcaster”.

His “personal approach” recast the role of the TV presenter at the BBC, Lord Hall said.

Best known as host of the current affairs programme Tonight from 1957 to 1965, Michelmore brought a more informal style to news presenting.

Studio equipment appeared in shot and Michelmore often presented items while perched on the edge of his desk.

In his later life, Michelmore went on to present Holiday on BBC One and was still broadcasting in his 80s, long after the last Tonight.

He also anchored major live events, including news of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963, which broke while he was live on air, and the return of the of the damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft.

His son Guy told the BBC his father died at Petersfield Hospital in Hampshire after being admitted last week.

‘Love at first hearing’

Born in 1919 in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Michelmore joined the RAF and was commissioned during World War Two.

He made his first broadcast for the British Forces Network in Hamburg, and soon began appearing on air in a variety of roles – including in radio dramas and presenting a weekly gardening slot.

His big break came when he was asked to fill in at the Hamburg end of popular BBC radio show Two-Way Family Favourites.

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