Entertainment & Arts

Kenneth Kendall, former broadcaster, dies

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Media captionA look at the life and career of Kenneth Kendall

Former BBC newsreader Kenneth Kendall has died at the age of 88.

The one-time presenter of the popular UK game show Treasure Hunt suffered a stroke a few weeks ago and died peacefully, his agent confirmed.

He joined the BBC as a radio announcer, later moving to TV where he became the first newsreader to appear in vision.

He also featured in the Doctor Who serial The War Machines and had a cameo role as a newsreader in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The first newsreader to appear in vision on BBC television in 1955, Kendall also worked occasionally for ITN in the 1960s.

He was voted the most popular newscaster by Daily Mirror readers in 1979.

Recognised for his elegant sense of style, he received an award for best-dressed newsreader by Style International.

Wincey Willis, a former weather presenter and current BBC radio presenter, paid tribute to Kendall on Twitter.

She said: "[He] was a lovely man, very kind to me when I started Treasure Hunt. We were good friends. He was very funny and we both loved dogs RIP."

Born in India, Kendall became the face of the BBC Nine O'Clock News by 1975.

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Media captionAnneka Rice: 'Kenneth Kendall was an extraordinary person'

He left the corporation in 1981, later joining Channel 4's Treasure Hunt, a gameshow which saw him direct Anneka Rice around the country in a helicopter to search for clues.

Speaking to the BBC, Rice said Kendall was a "truly great broadcaster".

"It was extraordinary when Kenneth joined Treasure Hunt because he was this very respected urbane newsreader, very serious, and I think it was genius casting. It allowed him to show a completely different side to his personality.

"He's going to be remembered for [playing] an important part of television history," she added, "starting in radio and television, the first in vision newsreader and finishing up on a reality TV show, probably the first of its kind. Again another iconic television moment.

"I'm very pleased he's got that recognition because he was an extraordinary person, very clever."

Rice met up with Kendall in more recent years as they lived in the same town, Cowes, on the Isle of Wight and shared a love of art.

"My one sadness is that we did talk, jokingly - obviously - that we would get together for one final Treasure Hunt, and sadly he's missed that moment," Added Rice.

Kendall returned to the BBC in 2010 to appear in a show called The Young Ones which featured six celebrities examining the problems of ageing.

He retired to Cowes on the Isle of Wight where he ran an art gallery with his longtime partner Mark Fear.

Acting BBC director-general Tim Davie said: "As the first British newsreader ever to appear on our TV screens in 1955, the passing of Kenneth Kendall is a sad moment in broadcasting history.

"Kenneth will be remembered for his long and successful career in both radio and later TV and, of course, for his much remarked- upon elegant sense of style.

"As one of the broadcasting greats, he will be hugely missed by colleagues across the BBC."