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Tributes to Anglia TV presenter

PUBLISHED: 09:20 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 12:15 07 May 2010

Michael Speake with fellow Anglia Television presenters, including BC, in the 1980s

Michael Speake with fellow Anglia Television presenters, including BC, in the 1980s

One of the most famous faces of Anglia Television for three decades and recognised in almost every living room across the region, Michael Speake, has died after a short illness, aged 68.

Michael Speake, one of the most famous faces of Anglia Television for three decades and recognised in almost every living room across the region, has died after a short illness, aged 68.

A continuity announcer, he was one of the team who did daily battle with the children's puppet character BC when Anglia and independent television commanded audiences of millions.

Known to generations of children, BC helped the continuity announcer read out viewers' cards in the Birthday Club spot from about 1981. This popularity inspired Mr Speake to publish BC and The Magic Book in 1986.

He worked alongside other presenters including Katie Glass, Patrick Anthony, Christine Webber and Caroline Oldrey. He joined Anglia in the late 1970s after working for ATV in the Midlands, BBC Radio Scotland and also Northern Ireland. A lifelong fan of the silver screen, he presented a highly-respected programme on Radio Norfolk on Sundays.

He had a great sense of fun and a love of comedy. Helen McDermott, who joined Anglia in 1979 and introduced BC to the network, recalled a hidden side.

"The great thing about Michael was that he could laugh at himself. He was a brilliant straight man. He was very talented but never boasted about it at all," she said.

He was a skillful watch repairer and often, while she was ironing waiting for the next programme break, he would be busy with a loupe mending a broken timepiece or a television, she recalled.

Born in Shrewsbury, his father died during the war and although his mother remarried, he remained a rather private and reserved man.

After living close to the city centre, off the Aylsham Road, for a couple of years, he then moved to Easton in about 1980. He died at his home on Tuesday after a short illness, but even until Christmas, he was still able to complete repairs on his beloved car.

He enjoyed the cinema and, after leaving Anglia in 1989, he became more involved by working at the Odeon cinema and latterly with other independent operators. He was well known around the city and used to judge the Hy's Girl of the Week before the club closed in 2004.

He leaves a stepfather. Details of the funeral are to be announced.

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