Broadcasting personality Frank Bough has died, aged 87

The presenter of Grandstand and Breakfast Time was a BBC icon for decades before he was sensationally sacked.

Frank Bough

An original presenter on BBC Breakfast Time and one of Britain’s most familiar TV personalities Frank Bough has died, aged 87.

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According to the BBC, Bough died in a care home last Wednesday.

Born in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Bough won a scholarship to Oxford University and served in the Royal Tank Regiment before his news career began. He graduated from BBC’s regional programme News at Six, later to be renamed Look North, to become a presenter on Sportview in 1964, moving on to become principle host on iconic Saturday Afternoon sports show Grandstand for 15 years from 1968 to 1983.

In 1983 he was involved in the launch of the BBC’s Breakfast Time, before quitting in 1987 to present the Holiday programme.

Bough’s career and legacy were overshadowed by an exposé in the News of the World in 1988 that he used cocaine and call girls. He was sacked soon after by the BBC.

The sensational story reverberated in the media and wider society for some time and was recounted in a 2003 Channel 4 documentary, Snorting Coke at the BBC.

He said, memorably, of the exposé: “It was a brief but appalling period in my life. Don’t condemn my entire career for a brief episode I regret.”

Many have paid respect to the presenter for his enduring career and his steadiness in the difficult art of live television presenting.

Former colleague Gary Russell posted that “I worked daily with Frank Bough on Breakfast Time and never found him anything but funny, affable, kind and polite and above all professional. He was always nice to me. RIP”.

Sky’s Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling hoped that the scandal wouldn’t be the sole reason Bough was remembered.

Veteran news anchor Nick Owen tweeted: “RIP Frank Bough. I regarded him as the ultimate broadcaster who combined news and sport brilliantly. Whatever the scandals that broke around him, he was an inspiration to me when I started in tv more than 40 years ago.”

Bough also presented the BBC’s Sports Review of the Year, which later became Sports Personality of the Year, for 18 years.

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He continued to work as a presenter until 1998, but his career never recovered to the heights of previous decades.