BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Saturday, 16 September 2006, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
TV presenter Raymond Baxter dies
Raymond Baxter
Raymond Baxter was best known for presenting Tomorrow's World
Television presenter Raymond Baxter - best known for fronting the BBC's science programme Tomorrow's World - has died at the age of 84.

He was with daughter Jenny Douglas and son Dr Graham Baxter when he died at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.

He presented Tomorrow's World for its first 12 years, but also commentated on the Queen's coronation, Churchill's funeral and Concorde's first flight.

Former colleagues have been lining up to pay tribute.

Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin said: "He was an absolute gentlemen, such a lovely, lovely man, immense charm and absolutely passionate about technology.

"I felt very envious of him because the era that he worked on Tomorrow's World was the time that technology was 'white hot'. Raymond showed us the very first hovercraft and he went on the very first flight of Concorde."

'Love of innovation'

Another former Tomorrow's World colleague, Judith Hann, said: "He did not let anything fluster him at all, he would just talk his way through things going wrong. He taught me a great deal."

Baxter's family said he was working until the day before he went into hospital.

They said in a statement: "He had a love of innovation and challenge both professionally and personally, and he met that challenge right up to the end because he was commentating at Goodwood the day before he was taken into hospital.

Raymond Baxter
He possessed authority, intelligence and charisma - and more than that, he was a true gentleman
Phil Dolling
Former Tomorrow's World
deputy editor

"He was a professional through and through in everything he attempted from his days as a pilot, as a broadcaster, and through to his love of sailing."

He was a Spitfire pilot during World War II, taking part in raids against V1 and V2 missile sites deep inside occupied Europe.

Immediately after the war he joined the British Forces Network and reported on the Berlin airlift.

A motorsport enthusiast, he not only covered but also took part in a number of Monte Carlo rallies.

David Pickthall, executive producer of the BBC's events department, paid tribute to the veteran presenter.

He said: "Raymond Baxter was without doubt a British television pioneer, whose groundbreaking outside broadcast work for the BBC, beginning in the 1950s, set standards for the industry.

First transplant

"His distinctive voice provided the viewer with a trusted guide to many television firsts - the first live pictures from America and the first flight of Concorde amongst the best remembered.

"His iconic presentation of Tomorrow's World was for many their first entry into an understanding and interest in the world of science and technology."

One of the highlights of his time on Tomorrow's World was in 1967, when he interviewed Dr Christian Barnard live by telephone from South Africa, just one hour after he completed the world's first heart transplant.

Baxter returned to Tomorrow's World for anniversary editions but was "sad" to see it dropped by the BBC in 2003.

Former series deputy editor Phil Dolling said: "Raymond was fearless in front of a live camera - reporting around the world on important moments in history.

"He possessed authority, intelligence and charisma - and more than that, he was a true gentleman."

Watch Raymond Baxter on Tomorrow's World

Obituary: Raymond Baxter
15 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Raymond Baxter
15 Sep 06 |  In Pictures

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific