Broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell DBE shot to fame in 1965 when she joined pioneering television programme Late Night Line Up.
Since her “big break” on the live arts and discussion show, Joan’s career has spanned newspapers, radio and, more recently, she became a published novelist, whilst also making regular television appearances.
However, Joan’s first job, after studying History and Economics at Newham College, Cambridge, was as a Studio Manager on BBC Radio in 1954, the year she moved to London from her hometown of Stockport.
“In the 1950s I was briefly on the BBC staff working in radio as a studio manager and after that I was always freelance,” said Joan.
In 1957 Joan became a copywriter, before making her television debut as a contributor to the BBC’s Table Talk a few years later.
“My big TV break was Late Night Line Up, a daily live magazine programme on BBC2 which started in 1964, and I joined in 1965 as a presenter. There’s nothing like it on TV now. It was great work,” said Joan, who stayed with the show to its end in 1972.
Her status as a broadcaster was propelled further when she was appointed Arts Correspondent for BBC Television, a role she held for six years.
“After that I moved to BBC 1 and Heart of the Matter and that was the most sustained series of my career,” she added.
Joan has also written newspaper columns for The Guardian, The Independent and now The Times. She has had 4 plays broadcast on BBC Radio. Her first novel, All The Nice Girls, was published earlier this year.
In 2008, Joan was appointed Voice of the Older People by Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman.
Joan said: “I’m very concerned that old people aren’t getting a decent deal and I speak up for them whenever I can, on TV, radio and in the press.”
From 2009 to 2015, she was the radio journalist on BBC: Inside the Ethics Committee; examining and discussing the ethics of real-life medical cases. Then in 2016, continued the position with the BBC on We Need to Talk About Death; the exploration of choices and options available and the discussion of death, dying and the fear.
She has held positions as Patron and Chair in varied organisations: National Piers Society, Breast Cancer Care, National Campaign on the Arts, Shared Experienced Theatre Co., and British Film Institute.
The award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Dame Joan for her contribution to raising the profile of age equality issues and age discrimination.