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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 September, 2003, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Cricket broadcaster West dies
Peter West
Peter West was a familiar face for TV viewers
Former BBC cricket broadcaster Peter West has died at the age of 83.

He covered a variety of sports during his career, including the Olympics and Wimbledon, but is most closely associated with TV coverage of cricket.

West also hosted Come Dancing for 15 years.

A father of three, he died at his home in Bath on Tuesday morning after a long illness.

Former England captains Ray Illingworth and Tony Lewis and Australian Richie Benaud were among those who shared the commentary box with West.

"Sad news about Peter who was a valued colleague, delightful chap and good friend for many years," said former Australia captain Benaud.

In his autobiography, Lewis, who succeeded West as the anchor man of the BBC's cricket coverage, described him as a "hard act to follow".

He went on: "He was popular, with an excellent timbre of voice and massively professional - the television director's dream.

"On top of that, Peter loved cricket and respected the best players without being afraid to ask the pointed question."

Although West did not have a first-class cricket background of his colleagues, Illingworth also respected his ability as a broadcaster.

"You need that balance. If you have people with a cricket background and pros at broadcasting as well, then you've got the ideal world.

Bob Willis,Imran Khan and Peter West
West interviews Bob Willis and Imran Khan
"He was certainly a pro and he made me very welcome when I joined them," recalled Illingworth.

But one of West's habits did not find favour with his co-commentators.

"We used to tell him to put his pipe out - that's a thing that has always stuck in my mind," Illingworth joked.

"Those boxes weren't the biggest and he used to doze a little bit after lunch for 10 minutes and then he'd have his pipe and we always used to be on to him about that."

Born in Surrey, West was educated at Cranbrook School before enrolling at Sandhurst in 1939.

He was invalided out of the army five years later because of an heriditary back problem but turned to journalism in 1945, first working on newspapers before joining the BBC.

West retired from cricket commentary in 1986 to become rugby correspondent of The Times.

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