Anna Ford

Anna Ford (born 2 October 1943) is an English former journalist, television presenter and newsreader. She first worked as a researcher, news reporter and later newsreader for Granada Television, ITN, and the BBC. Ford helped launch the British breakfast television programme TV-am. She retired from broadcast news presenting in April 2006 and was a non-executive director of Sainsbury's until the end of 2012. Ford now lives in her home town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.[1]

Anna Ford
Born2 October 1943 (age 75)
OccupationJournalist, television presenter, newsreader
Spouse(s)Alan Bittles (m.1970–div.)
Mark Boxer (m.1981–d.1988)
Partner(s)Jon Snow (1979), David Scott (2000)
ChildrenClaire (1982), Kate (1985)

Early life

Ford was born in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire to parents who were both West End actors. Her father had declined an offer from Samuel Goldwyn to work in Hollywood, and her mother, Jean (née Winstanley; sister of MP and broadcaster Michael Winstanley, Baron Winstanley)[2][3] had worked with Alec Guinness.[4] Her father John later became ordained as an Anglican priest and took Ford and her four brothers to live at Eskdale in the Lake District. She went to primary school at St Ursula's School, Wigton, then to Wigton Grammar School. After her father became the parish priest at St Martin's Church in Brampton she moved to the White House Grammar School.

Ford received a BA degree in economics from the Victoria University of Manchester and was president of the university's students' union from 1966 to 1967.[5]


Ford worked as a teacher for four years, including teaching Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners at the Her Majesty's Prison Maze in Ulster for two years.[4] She was later an Open University social studies tutor in Belfast for two years. Ford was thirty by the time she joined Granada Television as a researcher in 1974. Initially, she was told she was too old to be a newsreader, but became a reporter and newsreader on Granada Reports.[6] She joined the BBC in January 1977, but only after several months obtaining security clearance from MI5 because she was then living with a former communist,[7] and worked on Man Alive and Tomorrow's World.

In February 1978, Ford moved to ITN, faced with quickly abandoned legal threats from the BBC for breaking her contract.[8] Future colleague Reginald Bosanquet said at the time: "I have never been averse to working with ladies... I do not know Anna but I have heard that she is a very competent and professional lady."[8] Ford remains fond of his memory, and they formed a good professional relationship.[4] Ford began presenting ITV's News at One in March and later the 5:45PM bulletin, but within two months had become the first female newscaster on News at Ten.[8]

In 1981, she controversially left ITN to join the presenting team of the soon-to-launch TV-am. ITN were bidding for the breakfast franchise themselves and had positioned Ford as the lead anchor in their bid, unaware that she was involved with any other bidder. When her subterfuge was exposed, ITN immediately terminated her contract and publicly criticized her dishonesty and disloyalty.[9] Her tenure at TV-am was short lived in part due to fierce competition from the BBC's casually styled Breakfast Time. The loss of viewers resulted in a relaunch which was perceived as "dumbing-down" of the station, and only three months after the station's launch, Ford was dismissed from TV-am partly due to her on-air support for chairman Peter Jay (who had already resigned) and partly because she refused to stand down from Good Morning Britain when the ratings slumped.[9] Ford was involved in an incident at a party in which she threw her wine over Jonathan Aitken to express her outrage over his involvement in her sacking from the channel.[10]

Ford rejoined the BBC in 1986, becoming part of the presentation team for both BBC One's Six O'Clock News and the BBC Radio 4 Today programme in 1993. From 1999, she fronted the re-launched One O'Clock News.

In 1996, Ford was accused of bias when hosting a discussion on treatment of men during divorce cases on the Today programme. The three-minute discussion featured feminist barrister Elizabeth Woodcraft and Neil Lyndon, a critic of feminism, with Ford allowing Woodcraft to speak for more than two minutes of the three-minute feature. Lyndon received an apology for his treatment on the programme and Ford, herself a feminist,[11] was reprimanded by Rod Liddle, then the programme's editor.[12]

On 30 October 2005, Ford announced she would retire from broadcasting in April 2006 to pursue other interests while she "still has the interest and energy".[13] She also talked about ageism, stating:[14]

I might have been shovelled off into News 24 to the sort of graveyard shift, and I wouldn't have wanted to do that because it wouldn't have interested me. I think when you reflect on the people who they're (the BBC) bringing in and they're all much younger. I think they are being brought in because they are younger. I think that's specifically one of the reasons why they're being employed."

Ford presented her last One O'Clock News on 27 April 2006, signing off by introducing a compilation of clips of her career. On 2 May 2006, J Sainsbury plc, the UK supermarket group, announced Ford was joining the company as a non-executive director.[15] She is the Chair of Sainsbury's board's Corporate Responsibility Committee.[16]


On 17 December 2001, she was installed as Chancellor of the Victoria University of Manchester. When the Victoria University of Manchester merged with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) on 1 October 2004 to create the new University of Manchester, she became its Co-Chancellor along with Sir Terry Leahy (the former Chancellor of UMIST). On 22 April 2006, Ford received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews, nominated by Sir Menzies Campbell. She completed her term and Tom Bloxham succeeded her as sole Chancellor on 1st August 2008.

Other work

Ford is one of many guest hosts to have taken the chair for the satirical news quiz Have I Got News for You.[17]

Personal life

Ford had an early marriage to Alan Bittles (1970-div), although this dissolved before her television career and, in the late 1979, she was briefly engaged to Jon Snow, a colleague at ITN.[18][19] She married the magazine editor and cartoonist Mark Boxer, with whom she had two daughters, Claire and Kate, before he died of a brain tumour in 1988 at their home in Brentford, Greater London.[20]

She was briefly engaged in 2000, to former astronaut David Scott.[21] Ford became the subject of news stories in August 2001, when she lost a high-profile court case. She claimed unsuccessfully that photographs of her in a bikini with David Scott, by a press photographer in Majorca, with a powerful zoom lens and published in the British media, constituted an invasion of her privacy.[6]

In a letter to The Guardian in February 2010, Ford accused Martin Amis (a friend of her late husband Mark Boxer) of having neglected his duties as godfather to her daughter Claire and also having been disrespectful to Boxer at the time of his death.[22] Amis rejected her allegations in a reply, but accepted that he had been remiss in his duties as godfather.[23]


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Who Dares Wins Newscaster #1


  1. ^ James Thompson (12 July 2012). "Anna Ford signs off from Sainsbury's – Business News – Business". The Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Bill Hagerty "Anna Ford: Try a little tenderness", British Journalism Review, 18:3, 2007, p.9-16
  5. ^ Pike, Caitlin; Ritchie, Eleanor (4 November 2005). "Women presenters pay tribute to trailblazer Ford". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b Anna Ford: Hardy perennial BBC News – 3 August 2001
  7. ^ Mark Hollingshurst and Richard Norton Taylior Blacklist: The Inside Story of Political Vetting, London: Hogarth Press, 1988, p.106; David Leigh and Paul Lashmar "The Blacklist in Room 105", The Observer, 18 August 1985, p.9
  8. ^ a b c "1978: Ford makes her ITN debut", BBC On This Day, 13 February
  9. ^ a b Leapman, Michael. Treachery: The Power Struggle at TV-am. Unwin Hyman 1984. ISBN 978-0-04-791041-8
  10. ^ Young, Kirsty (18 March 2012). "Desert Island Discs: Anna Ford". BBC.
  11. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (22 February 2010). "Martin Amis responds: A poor godparent, yes, but I did not 'fill in time' at friend's deathbed". The Guardian.
  12. ^ McKie, Andrew (31 August 1997). "Bias reprimand for Anna Ford". The Sunday Telegraph.
  13. ^ Newsreader Ford retiring from BBC BBC News – 30 October 2005
  14. ^ Anna Ford talks tough on ageism BBC News – 9 April 2006
  15. ^ "J. Sainsbury Appoints Famous U.K. Newsreader To Board" – 2 May 2006
  16. ^ "Sainsbury's Corporate Responsibility Report 2008, with Ford's article on page 6. (pdf file)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Power, Bairbre (21 May 2000). "Feisty Anna Ford leaps to the defence of her moon walker boyfriend". Irish Independent.
  19. ^ "Camden New Journal". Camden New Journal. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Mark Boxer, Editor, Cartoonist And Social Satirist, Is Dead at 57". The New York Times. 23 July 1988.
  21. ^ Smith, Andrew (2005). Moondust: in search of the men who fell to Earth. New York: Fourth Estate. pp. 324–325. ISBN 978-0-00-715541-5. OCLC 58720734.
  22. ^ The root of Martin Amis's anger The Guardian – 20 February 2010
  23. ^ Martin Amis: a response The Guardian – 22 February 2010

External links

1943 in British television

This is a list of British television related events from 1943.

Amnesty International UK Media Awards 1994

In total 6 awards were presented for National Print, Periodicals, Photojournalism, Radio, Television Documentary and Television News.

The overall winner was awarded for George Alagiah's report on Burundi, broadcast by BBC News.

The awards were hosted by Anna Ford.

Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers

Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers is a popular thirteen-part British television series looking at strange worlds of the paranormal. It was produced by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network and first broadcast in 1985. It was the sequel to the 1980 series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World.

The series is introduced by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke in short sequences filmed at his home in Sri Lanka. Individual episodes are narrated by Anna Ford. The series was produced by John Fairley and directed by Peter Jones, Michael Weigall and Charles Flynn.

It was followed by Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe, broadcast in 1994.

BBC News at One

The BBC News at One is the afternoon/lunchtime news bulletin from the BBC. Produced by BBC News, the programme is broadcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel every Monday to Sunday at 1:00pm. The programme is usually presented by Sophie Raworth every Monday to Thursday and Jane Hill on Friday.

The BBC News at One achieved an average reach of 2.7 million viewers per bulletin in 2007, making it the most watched programme on UK daytime television.

BBC News at Six

The BBC News at Six is the evening news programme bulletin from the BBC. Produced by BBC News, the programme is broadcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel on weekdays at 6:00pm. For a long period the News at Six was the most watched news programme in the UK but since 2006 it has been over taken by the BBC News at Ten. On average it is watched by four million viewers.George Alagiah is the programme's main presenter, presenting Mondays to Thursdays, with Fiona Bruce presenting on Fridays. Other BBC News presenters including Sophie Raworth, Reeta Chakrabarti, Clive Myrie and Jane Hill occasionally present the programme.

In late 2007 the length of the programme was shortened from 30 minutes to 28 minutes to allow for a news summary being shown on BBC One at 7:58pm.

On 8 May 2017, SBS in Australia began airing BBC News at Six during their English-language news programming segment. It is broadcast at 7:00am everyday on delay from Britain.

Breakfast with Frost

Breakfast with Frost was a Sunday morning BBC current affairs programme hosted by Sir David Frost. It covered the main political news of the day, with Frost interviewing key figures in the world of politics, and celebrity guests reviewing the Sunday papers.

British Academy Film Awards

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to honour the best British and international contributions to film. The ceremonies were initially held at the flagship Odeon cinema in Leicester Square in London, before being held at the Royal Opera House from 2008 to 2016. Since 2017, the ceremony has been held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Good Morning Britain (1983 TV programme)

Good Morning Britain was TV-am's flagship breakfast television show, broadcast on weekdays from February 1983 until the franchise ended in 1992. It had many different presenters throughout its run but the most enduring pairing was Anne Diamond and Nick Owen.

From a slow start, which almost led to the closure of the channel, Good Morning Britain became very successful and ultimately achieved impressive ratings. According to one presenter Mike Morris they estimated to have interviewed over 30,000-guests on the sofa throughout its run.

The studio buildings in Hawley Crescent, would later be acquired by MTV, and ultimately used as Viacom Media Networks offices.

The TV-am programme archive, including Good Morning Britain, is understood to nearly completely intact, and available for clip sales.

ITV News at Ten

News at Ten is the flagship evening news programme on British television network ITV, produced by ITN and founded by news editor Geoffrey Cox in July 1967. The bulletin was the first permanent 30-minute news broadcast in the United Kingdom, and although initially scheduled for only thirteen weeks due to fears that its length would turn viewers off, the bulletin proved to be highly popular with audiences and became a fixture of the ITV schedule.

News at Ten rose to popularity for its winning combination of in-depth, analytical news coverage and populist stories. It simultaneously helped popularise newscasters such as Alastair Burnet, Andrew Gardner, Reginald Bosanquet, Sandy Gall, Anna Ford, John Suchet, Mark Austin, Alastair Stewart and Trevor McDonald into well-known television personalities.

When the bulletin was axed in 1999 in order for primetime entertainment programming to air uninterrupted, there was a public outcry. ITV reluctantly brought the programme back - under the name ITV News at Ten - in 2001, airing it at 10pm for a minimum of three nights per week, but eventually replaced it with the ITV News at 10:30 in 2004. It was not until January 2008 that News at Ten was reinstated to the ITV schedule. The programme is currently presented by Tom Bradby.

List of Today programme guest editors

The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 in the UK has an annual week of guest editors over the Christmas and New Year period. This is the full list of the individuals involved.2003 guest editors:

Monica Ali,

Norman Tebbit

Thom Yorke

Gillian Reynolds

Stephen Hawking2004 guest editors:


Richard Branson

Anthony Minghella

Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York

Onora O'Neill, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve2005 guest editors:

David Blunkett MP

Anna Ford,

Queen Noor of Jordan,

Steve Chandra Savale, - member of the band Asian Dub Foundation

Sir John Bond, Chairman of HSBC2006 guest editors:

Yoko Ono

Sir Clive Woodward

Zac Goldsmith

Rowan Williams

Allan Leighton2007 Guest Editors

Stella Rimington

Damon Albarn

Peter Hennessy

Sir Martin Evans

Richard Lewis, Samantha Gainard and Paul Amphlett of Dyfed-Powys Police as nominated by Today Programme Listeners.2008 Guest Editors

Zadie Smith

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Jarvis Cocker

Sir Win Bischoff

Zaha Hadid2009 Guest Editors

Martin Rees

David Hockney

Tony Adams

PD James

Robert Wyatt

Shirley Williams2010 Guest Editors

Diana Athill

Colin Firth

Sam Taylor Wood

Richard Ingrams

Dame Clara Furse2011 Guest Editors

Sebastian Coe

Mo Ibrahim

Tracey Emin

Sir Victor Blank

Baroness Boothroyd

Stewart Lee2012 Guest Editors

Mass Observation

Sir Paul Nurse

Melinda Gates

Dame Ann Leslie

Benjamin Zephaniah

Al Murray2013 Guest Editors

Sir Tim Berners Lee

Michael Palin

Eliza Manningham Buller

Antony Jenkins

PJ Harvey2014 Guest Editors

John Bercow

Tracey Thorn

Mervyn King, Baron King of Lothbury

Lenny Henry

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Baroness Butler-Sloss2015 Guest Editors

Michael Sheen

Sir Bradley Wiggins

Miriam González Durántez

David Adjaye

Baroness Campbell

Lord Browne2016 Guest Editors

Nicola Adams

Carey Mulligan

Helena Morrissey

Sally Davies2017 Guest Editors

Tamara Rojo

Prince Harry

Ben Okri

Baroness Trumpington

AI Robot2018 Guest Editors

David Dimbleby

Kamila Shamsie

Martha Lane Fox

Angelina Jolie

Chidera Eggerue

Andrew Roberts

Outer Space

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

Lucy Cavendish College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge which admits only postgraduates and undergraduates aged 21 or over. It only accepts female students and fellows, making the college one of only three women-only university colleges in England.The college is named in honour of Lucy Cavendish (1841–1925), who campaigned for the reform of women's education.The College has announced its intention to reform its admissions policy to include women and men from the standard university age, effective from October 2021.

Michael Winstanley, Baron Winstanley

Michael Platt Winstanley, Baron Winstanley (27 August 1918 – 18 July 1993) was the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Cheadle from 1966 to 1970 and, after boundary changes, for Hazel Grove, a newly created seat comprising half his former seat, from February to October 1974.

Winstanley was born in Nantwich, Cheshire, to Sydney Adams Winstanley (1878-1953), GP. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and the University of Manchester where he was President of the University Union and captain of cricket. He graduated in medicine and served in the RAMC before becoming a general practitioner in Urmston. He became a noted media personality as a television and radio doctor in the 1960s. Between 1972 and 1986 he presented Granada Television's This Is Your Right, an early-evening, five-minute consumer advice and legal rights bulletin which ultimately credited him as Lord Michael Winstanley.

Following his return to the House of Commons in 1974, Winstanley discovered that he held a post which would disqualify him from being a member of the House of Commons, medical officer at a Royal Ordnance Factory that amounted to employment in the Civil Service of the Crown. On 3 April 1974, the Commons passed a motion under section 6 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1957 to override the disqualification and allow Winstanley to sit.Winstanley was created a life peer on 23 January 1976 with the title Baron Winstanley of Urmston in Greater Manchester. His niece is journalist and newsreader Anna Ford.

Reginald Bosanquet

Reginald Tindal Kennedy "Reggie" Bosanquet (9 August 1932 – 27 May 1984) was a British journalist and broadcaster who was an anchor of News at Ten for ITN from 1967 to 1979.

Sophie Raworth

Sophie Jane Raworth (born 15 May 1968) is an English journalist and broadcaster. She works for the BBC as a newsreader, anchoring BBC News at One. She also regularly appears on the BBC News at Six and occasionally on BBC News at Ten.

In 2015, she became the new presenter of consumer affairs programme Watchdog and in 2016, began presenting Crimewatch, both for BBC One.


TV-am was a TV company that broadcast the ITV franchise for breakfast television in the United Kingdom from 1 February 1983 until 31 December 1992. The station was the UK's first national operator of a commercial breakfast television franchise. Its daily broadcasts were between 6 am and 9:25 am.

Throughout its nine years and 11 months of broadcast, the station regularly had problems resulting in numerous management changes, especially in its early years. It also suffered from major financial cutbacks hampering its operations. Though on a stable footing by 1986 and winning its ratings battle with BBC Breakfast Time, within a year further turmoil ensued when industrial action hit the company.

Despite these setbacks, by the 1990s TV-am had become the UK's most popular breakfast show. However, following a change in the law regarding TV franchising, the company lost its licence. It was replaced by GMTV in 1993.

The Nelson Thomlinson School

The Nelson Thomlinson School is a comprehensive secondary school located in the market town of Wigton, Cumbria, England. The school's motto is the Latin phrase Fide et Operis, "Faith and Works". The position of Headteacher has been occupied by David Samuel Northwood since September 2012, after the former head, Janet Downes, retired at the end of the previous academic year.

University of Manchester Students' Union

The University of Manchester Students' Union is the representative body of students at the University of Manchester, England, and is the UK's largest students' union. It was formed out of the merger between UMIST Students' Association (USA) and University of Manchester Union (UMU) when the parent organisations (UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester) merged on 1 October 2004.

It does not have a president, but is instead run by an 8-member executive team who share joint responsibility.


Wigton is a market town in Cumbria, England. Historically in Cumberland, it lies just outside the Lake District in the borough of Allerdale. Wigton is at the centre of the Solway Plain, between the Caldbeck Fells and the Solway coast. It is served by Wigton railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line, and the A596 road to Workington. The town of Silloth-on-Solway lies twelve miles to the west, beyond Abbeytown.

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