Friday 14 December 2012

Kenneth Kendall 1924-2012

Kenneth helping look for clues on Treasure Hunt
Younger readers will certainly not remember Kenneth Kendall reading the news, he retired from that role in 1981. But he was soon taking part in one of the signature programmes of the new Channel 4 Treasure Hunt he was in the studio unsure of what was happening next but helping the contestants to help Anneka Rice hunt down clues while Ann Meo, Annette Lynton or Wincey Willis were the clue setters in the background.

In was in that role that I best remembered Kendall, as even I was a little on the young side to appreciate him as a news anchor. He lived on the Isle of Wight with his partner of twenty-two years Mark Fear so this edition of Treasure Hunt (Part 2) was either one he knew a little about the area or one that sparked him to move there. Though he was born in India and brought up in Cornwall.

Another role in which he appeared in my your was as the voice of the speech synthesiser software for the BBC Micro computer.

As a young man Kendall was a school teacher before becoming a captain in the Coldstream Guards during World War II.  He was injured during the Normandy beach landings on D-Day.

A young Kenneth from the early days
After the war he became a journalist on BBC radio from 1948 moving to TV in 1954 just as the medium was starting to take off just after the Coronation. In 1955 he became the first newsreader to appear in vision, before that news was a series of slides with the newsreader only as a voice over. He worked as a freelance for most of his career even while with the BBC, but he left in 1961 to take up a post with ITN until 1969, but returned to the BBC in 1969 for the remainder of his news reading career.

After 1989 he appearances were less frequent as he enjoyed semi-retirement presenting the occasion episode of Songs of Praise. In 2010 he also took part in the BBC's documentary The Young Ones looking at the lives of people in their 70s and 80s and how they overcame the process of aging.

He was a gentleman who always dressed sartorially and never was too blatant about his sexuality, keeping that part of him relatively in the private sphere. But he was always calm whether on the news or in the frantic final moments at the end of an episode of Treasure Hunt.

1 comment:

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