Nan Winton was the first ever female television newsreader on the BBC.
Winton was a BBC TV continuity announcer from 1958 to 1961 and also an experienced journalist, who had worked on Panorama and Town and Around. She worked alongside contemporaries including Kenneth Kendall and Michael Aspel. She was given the job of reading the 6pm news and weekend bulletins on Sunday evenings, in response to rivals ITN, who had a female newscaster, Barbara Mandell, from its launch in 1955.
Winton began on 20 June 1960, and her role was intended as an experiment, with BBC executives believing Winton was a serious person able to counteract the prejudice that women were “too frivolous to be the bearers of grave news”. Stuart Hood, a BBC manager at the time whose idea it was to appoint Winton, once confirmed that this was much the opinion of his colleagues at time as well. Winton herself recalled that she had problems with BBC editorial staff rather than the public. However, Audience research concluded that viewers thought a woman reading the late news was “not acceptable”. She was removed from the role in March 1961. She remained the only woman to have read the national news on BBC TV until 1975, when Angela Rippon began a much longer spell as a newsreader.
After stepping down from reading the news, Winton moved to ITV in 1961, and remained a TV and radio news reporter and interviewer. She was also a regular panellist on the radio panel game Treble Chance.
Nan Winton died on May 11th 2019, aged 93.