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Saturday, 29 January, 2000, 09:35 GMT
Jean Metcalfe: The Forces' Favourite




Jean Metcalfe was one of Britain's best-loved radio personalities. She will be forever remembered for Two Way Family Favourites broadcast on the Light Programme, the forerunner to Radio 2, in the years following the Second World War.

Together with her husband Cliff Michelmore, she linked British troops stationed in West Germany with their families back home. At its height, 26 million people tuned in to the programme.

Her 'girl next door' image and urbane delivery endeared her to a generation of radio listeners. She was a pioneer, one of the first women to become a broadcasting personality.

Originally a typist on the Forces' Programme, Jean Metcalfe went on to play music requests on Forces' Favourites, before being chosen to present the British side of Two Way Family Favourites following the war.

Her co-presenter, based in Hamburg, was an RAF Squadron Leader called Cliff Michelmore. The two did not meet face to face for six months, but were quickly engaged and married in 1950.


Jean Metcalfe with her husband Cliff Michelmore Jean Metcalfe with her husband Cliff Michelmore
Cliff Michelmore called it 'love at first hearing'.

Jean Metcalfe was the first presenter of Woman's Hour and was a mentor to the programme's current anchor, Jenni Murray.

Following her retirement, she went on to become an accomplished painter and writer and, in 1980, she published an acclaimed book of watercolours which looked back at her childhood in Surrey.

Jean Metcalfe had two children and six grandchildren. Her son, Guy, followed in his father's footsteps as a popular television presenter.

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28 Jan 00 |  UK
Forces' favourite Jean dies
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