John Tidmarsh

Published June 5, 2019

A wonderful man, both in the studio and on the cricket field.

3 Responses to “John Tidmarsh”

  1. Andy Popperwell June 5, 2019

    Elizabeth Smith writes:
    “John was a most amusing and agreeable chap. He would saunter into work, full of smiles, with an aura of fun around him, and cheer everybody up. He was born happy. Cricket was by far his most important activity when he was young. He used to say that his sporting friends were by far the most important factor in moving on at the BBC. Some of the more ruthless BBC presenters were noted for their competitive selfishness, and were by no means fun to work with. John was the opposite. His amusing and lively presentation is still missed by those who were addicted listeners to his broadcasts and by his former colleagues.”

  2. Frederick Dove June 5, 2019

    In January 1998, I took over from John as the main presenter of ‘Outlook’, though for the next twelve months, he continued to do one special celebrity-interview edition a month. In late 1998, he came to Bush House to record an interview with cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, but Khan had to drop out. Half-jokingly, I suggested to John that, as this was going to be his last special edition, and therefore last appearance on ‘Outlook’ after more than thirty years, we should turn the tables and I should record an interview with him as the special guest. He liked the idea, so did the editor, so did the World Service commissioners, and so we went ahead.
    At John’s suggestion, we started the programme by walking into the studio, with the mics already recording, talking about cricket. And then, still off-mic, we stood by the table in studio C33, and I said “Where shall I sit?”, and John replied “I’ve sat in that chair for more than thirty years. You sit there now.”
    The programme went out at the end of the year. It was a great listen, though – with ‘Outlook’ then just 25 minutes long – it was far, far too short to do justice to such a consummate raconteur, with a wealth of great anecdotes about people he’d met and places he’d been.

  3. Andy Popperwell July 18, 2019

    Alastair Lack has provided this obituary of John for Prospero:


    John Tidmarsh, who has died at the age of ninety, was one of the most accomplished broadcasters and correspondents in the history of the BBC. In particular, he presented the World Service programme, Outlook for thirty years. Outlook, on the air three times a day, five days a week had an enormous audience worldwide, an audience which closely associated with the programmes eclectic mix of world news, current affairs, features and celebrity interviews. And John was always an authoritative, friendly and welcome presence.
    Brought up in a variety of places and schools on account of his father’s job, John’s heart really remained with the West Country. He began as a cub reporter at sixteen, and then after national service, began to contribute to the BBC. This led to a varied and international career with the Corporation. He rose fast and reported from many international locations: The United Nations in New York, India, the American civil rights movement, Vietnam, the civil war in Lebanon and elsewhere.
    In the 1960s John decided to go freelance and so began – in his own words – ‘one long adventure’ with the Outlook programme. He presented editions from every continent, save Antarctica.
    John had many broadcasting strengths. He had a solid grounding in reporting. His scripts were a model of clarity, with short sentences, immediately clear. He was a friendly voice, never pompous or too self-important.
    John also had the priceless asset of getting to the nub of a matter quickly. His experience of reporting from hot spots meant he could grasp a complicated story very quickly and find a meaningful angle that would interest listeners.
    In his time he interviewed an amazing range of guests: Henry Kissinger, Shirley MacLaine, Dame Joan Sutherland, Julie Andrews and many others. It was all part of the long adventure, which he pursued with much relish and professionalism.
    He is survived by his partner Anne Lount, and two children, Patrick and Emma, from his marriage to Pat (they remained friends after the divorce).
    John Alan Tidmarsh, 13 August 1928 – 30 May 2019
    Alastair Lack

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