RICHARD Baker, the broadcaster who read the BBC’s first televised news bulletin, has died in Oxford aged 93.

The popular newsreader presented classical music on BBC Third Programme, as well as hosting Radio 4’s Start the Week and The Last Night at the Proms, among various other programmes.

But he was best known for presenting BBC news bulletins for 28 years, leading him to be dubbed ‘the face of news’.

Born in Willesden, north London, on June 15, 1925, he was a plasterer’s son, educated at Kilburn Grammar School, before going on to Cambridge University.

His studies were interrupted by service with the Royal Navy in the Second World War, for which he won awards. He remained active with naval charities for years.

After graduating, he had brief spells in teaching and acting before starting his illustrious career in broadcasting.

As well as news reading, he voiced children’s television characters, narrated audio books and even appeared in a Christmas special of Morecambe and Wise.

In 1961, he married Margaret Martin, a secretary, who he had known ‘since birth’, owing to their mothers’ friendship.

The pair had a long spell living in Hertfordshire before, around eight years ago, moving to a retirement village in Letcombe Regis near Wantage, where Mr Baker continued to pursue his deep love of music into old age.

He died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on November 17, following a short illness.

Tributes from a number of towering figures from the world of journalism have since poured in.

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Richard was the face of news for millions.

“Baker was a calm and assured presence. Later, he became a great advocate for classical music, presenting many much loved programmes. But more than that, he was quite simply a lovely and charming man.”

Renowned BBC journalist John Simpson tweeted: “Richard Baker, who has just died, was one of the finest newsreaders of modern times: highly intelligent, thoughtful, gentle, yet tough in defence of his principles.”

Son Andrew added: “Great broadcaster, great dad and grandfather.

“Sincere thanks to the many many people who have sent kind messages of sympathy and support, and shared happy memories, following the death of my father.

“It has been a welcome boost in sad times to see the affection that he inspired. Thank you all.”

Mr Baker leaves behind his wife, 94, two sons, Andrew, 56, James, 54, and four grandchildren. A private funeral will be held next week.