Inaugural Nationwide presenter Michael Barratt has signed off aged 94. Despite stewarding a popular BBC programme, the rest of the UK media had to step up to the plate to give him a QO. FFS, Beeb!
A journalist since his teens, Barratt worked in both Africa, where he interviewed Albert Schweitzer, and his native Britain, where he got the ball rolling on the eventual downfall of the Kray Twins. It wasn’t until helming Nationwide with his gravelly voice that he developed a Cronkite-esque esteem to an audience of 11 million. The premier Beeb news programme of the 70s, Nationwide was noted for its emphasis on quirkier material (most famously the skateboarding duck) between heavyweight stories and for launching many local presenters to wider stardom. In tune with the breezy nature of the programme, Barratt didn’t take himself too seriously and appeared as himself in The Goodies and The Magic Christian. He also presented Gardeners’ Question Time and Songs of Praise despite being an atheist who knew sod all about gardening! He’s nevertheless about to get very well acquainted with dirt, to the benefit of Lidders Late Lamentables.
Also, there’s a picture of him holding a Westie puppy, so he would’ve been the headliner even if Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Tomasz Schafernaker died in this same batch…
3 January 1928 – 10 July 2022, aged 94
💀💀💀💀💀 + 👻 = 9 POINTS