Obituary: Frank Bough

Frank Bough was one of the highest-profile and highest-paid presenters on BBC Television.

In a career spanning three decades, he won a reputation for his relaxed and unflappable style on camera.

He presented the BBC’s flagship sports programme, Grandstand, and launched the corporation’s Breakfast Time TV programme in 1983.

But his career abruptly ended after lurid tabloid revelations about his involvement with cocaine and call girls.

Francis Bough was born in a two-up, two-down terrace house in the Fenton area of Stoke-on-Trent on 15 January 1933.

His father ,who worked as an upholsterer, lost his job, and the family moved to Oswestry, Shropshire, where Bough attended the local grammar school.

He was a keen sportsman and also enjoyed acting, taking parts in a number of school Shakespeare productions, including Hamlet and Macbeth.

Although not particularly academic he won a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, in the days when, as he later put it, “Oxford valued a good all-rounder”.

He was a talented footballer, winning a Blue, although his side were beaten by Cambridge in the Varsity match at Wembley.

Bough did his National Service in the Royal Tank Regiment before getting a job as a graduate trainee with ICI in Billingham, County Durham.

He continued to play amateur football in the North East but became increasingly unhappy with his job, finally deciding he wanted to be a broadcaster.

He pestered the BBC for two years before it finally relented and he became a presenter with the corporation’s regional programme, Home at Six, which was broadcast from Newcastle.

It was later renamed Look North.

With his love of and knowledge of sport, he became the presenter of Sportsview in 1964, taking over from Peter Dimmock.

The programme went out midweek and featured football as well as a number of pre-recorded items.

He also began an 18-year stint hosting the BBC’s Sports Review of the Year, which later became Sports Personality of the Year.

Bough was part of the BBC’s World Cup commentating team in 1966, notably covering one of the great upsets of the tournament when North Korea beat Italy 1-0 at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough.

His stint on Sportsview ended in 1968 when David Coleman took the reins and the programme was renamed Sportsnight with Coleman.

However, it marked Bough’s move to Grandstand, the BBC’s flagship Saturday afternoon TV sports programme.

In the days before sport sold its rights to the highest bidder, Grandstand covered a host of sports every week, including high-profile events such as the Olympic Games, FA Cup finals and the Grand National.

These were mixed, depending on the season, with regular horse races, athletics and rugby league.

It was on Grandstand, with its multitude of live feeds providing the potential for things to go wrong, that Bough’s bomb-proof presenting style came into its own.

Here he gained his reputation for remaining an oasis of calm no matter what technical hitches were occurring.

His style prompted Michael Parkinson’s remark that “if my life depended on the smooth handling of a TV show he’d be the one I’d want in charge”.

Bough, when once asked the secret of this ability to keep his head when all about him were losing theirs, said simply: “I have a very long fuse.”

Long fuse or not, he was a perfectionist. He said: “We’re not in the business of just getting by on this programme.”

In 1972 he began presenting Nationwide, the BBC’s news programme that went out after the early evening news.

It was usually a fairly light-hearted programme, with opt-outs for BBC regions to focus on local news.

However, he recalled some resistance from managers in BBC current affairs who were aghast that a man from sport was to present one of their programmes.

In the same year, Bough had the harrowing experience of anchoring the BBC coverage of the Munich Olympics in which 11 members of the Israeli team were murdered by members of the Palestinian Black September organisation.

“It was a bizarre situation,” he later said. “The athletics continued while people were getting killed.”

As one of television’s best-known faces he appeared on the 1977 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.

Together with a number of other presenters, including the rugby league commentator Eddie Waring, he donned a sailor suit to perform a number from South Pacific.

The show attracted more than 21 million viewers, still a record for British television.

By now Bough was beginning to tire of Grandstand.

He still loved fronting the big sporting events but, as he later remarked: “I began to feel I was play-acting when it was Widnes v Batley on a wet November afternoon.”

Hearing that the BBC was about to launch a new breakfast TV service in 1983, Bough approached the editor Ron Neil.

Few presenters at the time had experience of presenting long and largely unscripted programmes, and his stint at Grandstand got him the job.

He proved a natural when the BBC launched Breakfast Time in January 1983, his laidback and comfortable style becoming an immediate hit with his early morning audience.

His fellow presenter, Nick Ross, later recalled that Bough brought a much needed sense of serenity and composure to the programme.

In 1987, fed up with early mornings, Bough quit Breakfast to present the Holiday programme.

It was to be a short stint. In 1988 he was sacked by the BBC after a newspaper carried revelations that he had indulged in cocaine parties with call girls.

The story came as a particular shock, given Bough’s hitherto clean-cut family-man image.

He eventually returned to broadcasting, including fronting ITV’s Rugby World Cup coverage, but his renaissance was short-lived.

In 1992 he was photographed leaving a a sadomasochistic prostitute’s flat that, according to newspaper reports, featured a cage and school canes.

There was a brief return to the airwaves on an independent local radio station but, by 1996, Bough had disappeared from public view.

In the following years he remained out of sight, turning down a chance to return to the screen when Breakfast celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006.

However, in 2014 it was announced that he would step back into the public arena and contribute to a BBC documentary looking at 30 years of Breakfast TV in the UK.

Frank Bough was one of Britain’s most consummate broadcasters, who won a legion of fans for his calm and friendly manner.

He was always worried that he would be remembered only for the tabloid headlines rather than for his many successful years in front of a camera.

“It was a brief but appalling period in my life,” Bough said. “Don’t condemn my entire career for a brief episode I regret.”

Isle of Wight tanker stowaways: Seven suspects detained

Seven suspects have been detained after a suspected hijacking involving stowaways on a tanker off the Isle of Wight.

UK special forces completed the operation in nine minutes, BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale said.

Military assistance had been requested after the stowaways on board the Liberian-registered Nave Andromeda reportedly became violent.

The crew, who were locked in the ship’s citadel, are safe.

The Ministry of Defence called the incident a “suspected hijacking” and said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel authorised the operation in response to a police request.

Mr Wallace said: “I commend the hard work of the armed forces and police to protect lives and secure the ship.

“In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts.”

Mrs Patel tweeted she was “thankful for the quick and decisive action of our police and armed forces who were able to bring this situation under control, guaranteeing the safety of all those on board”.

Mr Beale said the individuals were detained after they were met with “overwhelming force”.

He said members of the Special Boat Service based at Poole, in Dorset, were involved in the operation, which also featured six helicopters.

Concerns over the crew’s welfare were raised at 10:04 GMT when the vessel was six miles off Bembridge, police said.

A spokesman said “verbal threats” had been made towards the crew.

A three-mile exclusion zone was put in place around the vessel.

Richard Meade, editor of shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, had earlier said there were thought to have been seven stowaways on board.

He said it was believed they had become violent towards the crew after they attempted to detain them in a cabin.

The tanker Andromeda, owned by Greek shipping company Navios, was en route from Lagos in Nigeria to Fawley oil refinery on Southampton Water.

It had not stopped anywhere else.

According to a source close to the shipping company, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent towards the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.

The crew retreated to the ship’s citadel, a secure area in which they can lock themselves, making it impossible for attackers to get in.

This is standard procedure during a terrorist or pirate attack, but there is no suggestion the crew were doing more than protecting themselves from the stowaways.

The crew contacted the coastguard, which then alerted police.

Navios are a long-established shipping company with a good reputation.

The 240ft-long (73m) ship is known to have left Lagos in Nigeria on 5 October and is currently situated south of the Isle of Wight.

Lawyers for the vessel’s owners said they had been aware of the stowaways on board for some time.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency said it was assisting police and search and rescue helicopters were at the scene.

Frank Bough: Former Grandstand presenter dies, aged 87

The former TV presenter Frank Bough has died at the age of 87, a family friend has told the BBC.

Bough was one of the highest-profile and highest-paid presenters on BBC television.

He presented the BBC’s flagship sports programme, Grandstand, and launched the corporation’s Breakfast Time TV programme in 1983.

Bough died last Wednesday in a care home.

A keen footballer, Bough became the presenter of Sportsview in 1964, taking over from Peter Dimmock.

After his stint on the programme ended in 1968, he moved to Grandstand – the BBC’s leading sports show on Saturday afternoon.

School meals: I remember going to bed with hunger pains

“I find it hard to remember ever having a cooked meal at home,” says Danielle, who relied on free school meals as a child.

“I would eat spaghetti hoops cold out of the tin.

“We would have sliced white bread because it was 13p from [discount supermarket] Kwik Save, then put margarine on it and put it under the grill.

“Me and my sister thought we were going to open a cafĂ©.”

Danielle, 39, is now a successful senior manager for a charity, living in London, but growing up she lived with food insecurity.

She has told the BBC how, as a child, she often had to resort to shoplifting or “bin-diving” for essential food at weekends or during the school holidays – once, when she was as young as 10.

“Food poverty in Britain isn’t really spoken about because of shame,” she says.

“When the holidays hit, hunger doesn’t go.”

Danielle is calling on the government to “support young people” as the row about the decision not to extend free school meals for children in England into the half-term holiday continues.

The government extended free school meals to eligible children during the Easter holidays earlier this year and, after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, did the same for the summer holiday.

Ministers say that providing help through councils is the best way to reach those that need it.

“I was brought up in a household where we didn’t have food at home,” Danielle recalls.

Her mother was ill, and couldn’t work. A single-parent household, Danielle says she and her two siblings were often left to “fend for themselves”, in addition to caring for their mum.

“Some days it was hard for her to get out of bed. She really put in a lot of effort but she couldn’t cope. I don’t hold it against her because she tried,” Danielle stresses.

They would usually receive child benefits payments on a Monday. “So we would often take a day off school and have lots of food then,” says Danielle, “but nothing afterwards.”

Packets of jelly were common because they cost 20p and “would go quite far”, or instant custard – “things to fill you up”.

At the weekend, meals would frequently consist of dry cereal and dry bread.

“I remember going to bed with hunger pains and coming home to an empty fridge,” she says.

“You learn to shut off the signals from your brain that tell you you’re hungry.”

This habit stayed with her into adult life. “I don’t realise I’m hungry, and then it gets to 4pm and I realise I’ve been dissociating and suddenly have to eat.

“As a young adult I didn’t know how to cook, so would just eat for survival. Something to take away the hunger.”

Danielle could sometimes eat at friends’ houses or at Sunday school as a child, but her main source of hot meals was school.

She explains that because her mum was on benefits, that qualified her and her siblings for free school meals – which were limited to certain children.

“I have really strong memories of them,” she says.

“Apple crumble and custard [her favourite pudding to this day], baked potatoes, roast dinners.

“I also have fond memories of sitting at the table with all of my friends.”

But beyond that, she was forced to find other ways of sourcing food, when they had run out of essentials and she was “starving”.

This included “bin-diving” for surplus food behind supermarkets, paying 10p for scraps from the local fish and chip shops, and shoplifting.

“It wasn’t frequent, but when we were desperate,” she says.

Danielle was caught shoplifting a jar of Marmite aged 10 – carefully selected from the shelves because it could “last weeks” by only spreading a small bit on each piece of bread.

And, while on the earlier occasion she was only told not to return to the shop, at 14-years-old she had her fingerprints taken, was placed in a police cell and later cautioned over shoplifting.

“I think that was for stealing jelly.”

Danielle says the incident came up on her record when she was applying for a job in later life, leaving her devastated.

“I feel like I’m quite a moral person. For it to tarnish your career when all you are trying to do is eat,” she says.

“I’m not proud of it and I would never do it now, but it was survival.”

As soon as Danielle was old enough to get various part-time jobs, she stopped shoplifting, and went on to get three “A” grade A-Levels and a First-class degree at university.

But she says that she could have gone “either way”.

“I did have a supportive education system and that enabled me to not continue down the wrong path,” she says.

“Because of the support that we have in the UK it allows people to go from poverty into middle class and be able to earn a living.

“Unless we support young people, give them opportunities, like food and education, then that wouldn’t be able to happen.”

Responding to the row over free school meals, Danielle argues that those who are making the decisions are doing so from “a place of privilege” without an understanding of “what it’s like to be a child and to be hungry”.

She also stresses that there are “all sorts” of family dynamics that can lead to financial difficulty, including debt, mental health issues, and addiction.

“It can happen to anyone,” she says.

As Danielle hit her 30s, she developed a new relationship with food – teaching herself to cook from scratch and eventually batch cooking for the week.

“One of my friends set up a supper club and said I was their inspiration,” she said.

“I just thought it’s funny going from no food, to all my friends saying I was such an amazing cook.”

Isle of Wight tanker stowaways: Special forces involved

UK special forces are involved in dealing with an “ongoing incident” on board a tanker situated off the Isle of Wight, the BBC understands.

The crude oil tanker, the Liberian-registered Nave Andromeda, is known to have stowaways on board and was due to dock in Southampton earlier.

Richard Meade, editor of shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, said there were thought to be seven stowaways on board.

He said it was believed they had become violent towards the crew.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said Hampshire police had requested military assistance.

He said members of the Special Boat Service based at Poole, in Dorset, were specially trained to deal with such incidents, though the Ministry of Defence does not officially comment on their activities.

A three-mile exclusion zone is in place around the vessel.

Concerns over the crew’s welfare were raised at 10:04 GMT when the vessel was six miles off Bembridge, police said.

A spokesman said “verbal threats” had been made towards the crew.

The tanker Andromeda, owned by Greek shipping company Navios, was en route from Lagos in Nigeria to Fawley oil refinery on Southampton Water.

It had not stopped anywhere else.

According to a source close to the shipping company, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent towards the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.

The crew retreated to the ship’s citadel, a secure area in which they can lock themselves, making it impossible for attackers to get in.

This is standard procedure during a terrorist or pirate attack, but there is no suggestion the crew were doing more than protecting themselves from the stowaways.

The crew contacted the coastguard, which then alerted police.

Navios are a long-established shipping company with a good reputation.

The 240ft-long (73m) ship is known to have left Lagos in Nigeria on 5 October and is currently situated south of the Isle of Wight.

Lawyers for the vessel’s owners said they had been aware of the stowaways on board for some time.

Mr Meade said: “They discovered seven stowaways on board the vessel. When the crew tried to detain the stowaways in a cabin they got violent and that sparked the security incident.

“This wasn’t a hijacking attempt. This was the fact that they discovered stowaways on board and the stowaways didn’t want to be locked in a cabin.”

The Maritime Coastguard Agency said it was assisting police and search and rescue helicopters were at the scene.

A spokeswoman for Associated British Ports (ABP) said it had no comment on the incident.

It is understood the port received contact from the ship but it had not been refused entry to the harbour.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it was aware of the incident.

Isle of Wight: Military assistance sought over tanker stowaways

Military assistance has been requested over an “ongoing incident” on board an oil tanker situated off the Isle of Wight, the BBC understands.

The crude oil tanker, the Liberian-registered Nave Andromeda, is known to have stowaways on board and was due to dock in Southampton earlier.

Richard Meade, editor of shipping news journal Lloyd’s List, said there were thought to be seven stowaways on board.

He said it was believed they had become violent towards the crew.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said Hampshire police had requested military assistance but it was not clear what support had been requested “and whether it will be activated or requested for back up”.

The 240ft-long (73m) ship is known to have left Lagos in Nigeria on 5 October and is currently situated south of the Isle of Wight.

Lawyers for the vessel’s owners said they had been aware of the stowaways on board for some time.

Mr Meade said: “They discovered seven stowaways on board the vessel. When the crew tried to detain the stowaways in a cabin they got violent and that sparked the security incident.

“This wasn’t a hijacking attempt. This was the fact that they discovered stowaways on board and the stowaways didn’t want to be locked in a cabin.”

Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, said: “The ship is very visible from the eastern side of the island. What the main thing is now, is how serious the situation is.”

The tanker Andromeda, owned by Greek shipping company Navios, was en route from Lagos in Nigeria to Fawley oil refinery on Southampton Water.

It had not stopped anywhere else.

According to a source close to the shipping company, the crew were aware of stowaways on board, but the stowaways became violent towards the crew while it was off the Isle of Wight.

It is not known how many stowaways are on board.

The crew retreated to the ship’s citadel, a secure area in which they can lock themselves, making it impossible for attackers to get in.

This is standard procedure during a terrorist or pirate attack, but there is no suggestion the crew were doing more than protecting themselves from the stowaways.

The crew contacted the coastguard, which then alerted police.

Navios are a long-established shipping company with a good reputation.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency said it was assisting police and search and rescue helicopters were at the scene.

A UK Chamber of Shipping spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident onboard the Nave Andromeda off the Isle of Wight and are in contact with the relevant authorities.

“We believe it is likely to be related to stowaways on board but are awaiting more information.”

A spokeswoman for Associated British Ports (ABP) said it had no comment on the incident.

It is understood the port received contact from the ship but it had not been refused entry to the harbour.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it was aware of the incident.

Paul Harvey: Single gives new lease of life to composer with dementia

A piece of music composed by a former music teacher with dementia is to be released as a single after he recorded it with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra.

Paul Harvey, 80, originally improvised the composition after being given four notes to play by his son.

A clip of the performance, which went viral, was intended to show how musical ability can survive memory loss.

On Sunday, the single of Four Notes – Paul’s Tune was aired on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House for the first time.

Despite being diagnosed with dementia late last year, Harvey, a composer from Sussex, has continued to be able to play piano pieces from memory and create new ones.

His son, Nick, who posted the video in September, said it had been an “old party trick” of his father’s to request four random notes and then improvise a song.

In the video, which has had more than 60,000 likes, Nick picked F natural, A, D and B natural for his father to play.

After the clip went viral, the performance was aired on Broadcasting House for World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September.

This prompted listeners to ask the BBC to have the performance orchestrated, which led to the BBC Philharmonic’s involvement.

Hearing the recording of the single for the first time, Paul, who was joined by his son on the programme, said: “It was very, very moving and very thrilling at the same time…

“It’s quite amazing that all this has happened, and in my 81st year. It’s fantastic.

“It’s given me a new lease of life and after we’ve all finished here I’ll go to the piano and find another four notes.”

Nick said: “It was amazing – it was absolutely gorgeous.”

Arlene Phillips, the choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge whose father had Alzheimer’s, and is an Alzheimer Society’s ambassador, said the piece was “so beautiful”.

She said: “It’s just incredible that four notes can stir so many mixed emotions.”

Jason Warren, professor of neurology at the Dementia Research Centre at University College London, said one reason people with dementia can continue to play music is because it “makes sense on its own terms”.

“So unlike a lot of the tests and the things we might ask people with dementia to do in the clinic, for example, or in their everyday lives, music to some extent is almost self-contained.”

However, he said what Paul did in his piece was “remarkable by any standard, because what that also shows is his creativity”.

Nick said it was hoped the single would be released on all major steaming platforms on Sunday, 1 November. All proceeds will be split between the Alzheimer’s Society and Music for Dementia.

Isle of Wight: Ongoing tanker incident not a hijacking

Police are dealing with an “ongoing incident” on board an oil tanker situated off the Isle of Wight.

The crude oil tanker, the Liberian-registered Nave Andromeda, is thought to have stowaways on board and was due to dock in Southampton earlier.

Lawyers Tatham and Co, representing the vessel’s owners, said the incident was “100% not a hijacking” despite reports.

Hampshire Constabulary said the vessel was currently situated south of the Isle of Wight.

The owners’ lawyers said it had been known for a while there were stowaways were on board.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency said it was assisting police and search and rescue helicopters were at the scene.

The Ministry of Defence has told the BBC that there is no military involvement in the operation.

Cumbrias M6: Photo archive shows motorway at 50

An archive of photographs has revealed the engineering feat of building the M6 in Cumbria 50 years ago.

It is one of the highest stretches of motorway in the country, covering 36 miles (57.9km) between Lancaster and Penrith.

The road, which incorporates the Lune Gorge, was opened on 23 October 1970.

Photographs of the construction of the motorway, by John Laing Construction Ltd, have been preserved in a special Historic England archive.

At the time, it was the highest section of motorway in the country at Shap, at 316m (1037ft) above sea level.

The surveys for the M6 through Cumbria were done from the air, which was a first for the UK.

Work on the Lune Gorge section of the road, between Killington and Tebay, began in October 1967 with construction carried out by civil engineering specialists John Laing Construction Ltd.

At the time the weather and ground conditions were some of the most challenging faced by UK engineers, according to Highways England, which operates the motorway.

Almost a thousand road workers were involved in the project, which had five separate construction contracts making up the new Lancaster to Penrith route.

Mike Gellatley, a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and former London Underground chief engineer, remembered working on the project which was “a constant battle against the elements”.

“Residents in the area were initially sceptical about the motorway but it totally transformed journeys,” he said.

“In the days before the M6, a journey up to the to the far north and Scotland was a torturous adventure with vehicles often having to queue in winter to get past snow along the A6 at Shap.”

The Roger Howe Bridge over the River Lune was built for the re-routed A685 during the construction of the M6, through the Lune Gorge.

Keith Little, of Cumbria County Council, called the motorway a “vital part” of the development of the county’s transport network.

“It made the county more accessible to the rest of the country and has enabled local businesses and residents to trade, travel and connect with the wider region,” he said.

The Lancaster to Penrith M6 was officially opened by Transport Industries minister John Peyton on 23 October 1970.

At 236 miles (379km), running from Rugby in Warwickshire to the Scottish border, the M6 is the longest motorway in the country.

It was not completed until 2008 when the Highways Agency finished converting the A74 between Carlisle and Gretna Green.

Archive copyright: Historic England/John Laing Photographic Collection