Frank Bough, host of BBC’s Grandstand, dies aged 87 | UK news

The former TV presenter Frank Bough, best known for presenting the BBC’s flagship sports show Grandstand, has died at the age of 87.

Bough, who also presented the news magazine show Nationwide and Breakfast Time, was one of the corporation’s highest-profile and highest-paid television hosts in the 1970s and 1980s. He reportedly died last Wednesday in a care home. No further details have been released.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent on 15 January 1933, Bough grew up in Oswestry, Shropshire. He began his television career presenting Sportsview in 1964. After his stint on the programme ended in 1968, he moved to the Saturday afternoon Grandstand programme.

Bough launched the corporation’s Breakfast Time show in 1983, alongside co-hosts Selina Scott and Nick Ross, before quitting in 1987 to present the Holiday programme.

Bough with two of his Breakfast Time co-presenters, Debbie Rix (left) and Selina Scott Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/REX

During his sports broadcasting career, he anchored six World Cups, six Olympics and at least a dozen Five Nations championships for the BBC.

His reputation was one of affable, relaxed professionalism, and Michael Parkinson once described him on Desert Island Discs as “the most unassailable performer on British television”. But when a 1988 News of the World article exposed that he had taken cocaine and visited sex workers, the scandal was deemed irreconcilable with Bough’s hitherto wholesome image, and he was sacked by the BBC. His career and reputation never recovered.

He went on to present the Frank Bough Interview for Sky TV for two series and front Six O’Clock Live on LWT until it was axed in 1992, before going on to do radio presenting for LBC until 1996.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Frank excelled as a live presenter with the BBC for many years and we are very sorry to hear of his passing. We send our condolences to his family and friends.”

Various people who worked with Bough paid tribute to him on Sunday. Simon Kuper, a Financial Times columnist, said: “When my first book was published, in 1994, I appeared on Frank Bough’s radio programme for an item of perhaps 10 minutes. He was the only radio interviewer I met who had prepared by reading the entire book.”

TV astrologer Russell Grant said: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of an old television friend: Frank Bough was a great man to work with. We launched BBCBreakfastTime in January 1983. Always there for advice and support. They said we wouldn’t get on, but we absolutely did – chalk and cheese! See you, Frank.”

The TV writer Julian Dutton said: “Goodbye #FrankBough. Straddling Saturday afternoons like a colossus, projecting the confidence of a cheerful councillor or headmaster who’d wandered into the BBC and taken over. Smoothly spinning plates & late kick-offs with military ease. RIP.”

Jeff Stelling, who presents Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, tweeted: “I met Frank Bough when I was a young reporter. He was kind, helpful and generous with his time. His brilliant career was blighted by scandal, but I hope people will remember how fine a broadcaster he was. One of the very best in the business.”

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