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Moore, Patrick (1923-2012)

Writer, Presenter

Main image of Moore, Patrick (1923-2012)

One of television's more eccentric personalities and familiar faces, astronomer Patrick Moore has entered the pantheon of television history with the distinction of becoming its longest serving presenter.

A sickly child, he was educated at home by his parents. His passion for astronomy began at the tender age of six. By the age of eleven he was elected a member of the British Astronomical Association. He served on the association's council with a fellow astronomer, comic actor Will Hay. Moore's war years were served as a navigator in the RAF.

In 1957, BBC producer Paul Johnstone offered Moore the chance to front a monthly astronomy programme, The Sky at Night. Now among British television's longest-running series, the programme was originally transmitted live from Lime Grove. These broadcasts brought Moore his fair share of mishaps - on one occasion he accidentally swallowed a fly.

The monocle-wearing, xylophone-playing Moore was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in 1974 for This is Your Life (ITV, 1969-94; BBC, 1994-). He has appeared on a wide variety of programmes; a popular panellist in programmes ranging from Blankety Blank (BBC, 1979-89; 1997-2001; ITV, 2001-) to Have I Got News For You (BBC, 1990); a comedy guest star, in several episodes of The Goodies (BBC, 1970-80); even dancing in the 1971 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show. His larger than life personality has enlivened numerous comedy-based interview shows; Clive Anderson Talks Back, Alter Ego and Room 101 (in which Moore consigned impenetrable wrapping paper to television hell.)

His one other television series, the computer game show Gamesmaster (Channel 4, 1992-94), contains his most surreal performance - as a disembodied floating head. An authoritative figure on various news and events programmes including Total Eclipse Live (BBC, tx. 11/8/1999), Moore received a knighthood and a BAFTA for his services to television in 2001.

Graham Rinaldi

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