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Ford, Anna (1943-)

Journalist, Presenter

Main image of Ford, Anna (1943-)

From the moment Angela Rippon high-kicked her way into viewer consciousness on The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show (BBC, tx. 25/12/1976), British television news appeared in grave danger of cashing in on a 'personality' presenter cult and edging towards a more tabloid form.

A welcome pause in this worrying prospect came in 1978 when Anna Ford arrived at News at Ten (ITV, 1967-99) like a glass of warm milk on a winter's evening. Her directness with hard facts and balanced analysis restored a committed presence to the contemporary news picture.

After graduating at Manchester University, she started with Granada TV as a researcher/reporter. She joined the public affairs programme Man Alive (BBC, 1965-82) in late 1967, moving on to the science-future series Tomorrow's World (BBC, 1965-2006) and the industry economics documentary The Risk Business (BBC, 1976-81).

A private person caught up in a very public industry, she soon had reason to complain that male viewers were more interested in her looks and body than her intellect, and more concerned with her appearance than with the news she was given to present.

She joined the 'Famous Five' at TV-am in 1983 but when that combine (David Frost/Michael Parkinson/Robert Kee/Angela Rippon) fell into dispute and litigation she involved herself (by now a professional mum) with the parent-guide programmes Understanding Toddlers (ITV, 1983) and its progressive age follow-ups. Also a notable contributer to A Woman's World (ITV, 1987), a series concerned with the lives of women worldwide, Putting Women in the Picture (BBC, tx. 24/8/1987), on the portrayal of women on television, and the documentary A Night In With the Girls (BBC, tx. 15 & 16/3/1997), sharing experiences with such TV figures as Kate Adie, Linda Agran, Verity Lambert, Janet Street-Porter, and Joan Bakewell.

Tise Vahimagi

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