News Personality Passes Away at 93 After Groundbreaking Career

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May 21, 2019May 21, 2019

A groundbreaking woman has passed away. Nancy Wigginton, who was better known as Nan Winton, has passed away.

Winton was the first woman to read the news on BBC television. She died at the age of 93.

She took on the role at the BBC on June 20, 1968. Winton was an experienced journalist before she joined the television news reading team.

She was retired and living in Dorset, England. She died in hospital on May 11.

The decision to hire a female news reader was dubbed by the BBC at the time as an "experiment." However, the bosses had faith in Winton's abilities.

"Television bosses at the time believed Winton was serious enough to overcome prejudiced voices in the media that said women were 'too frivolous to be the bearers of grave news,'" writes the BBC in her obituary.

Sadly, her on-screen role was short lived. Viewers at the time thought that a woman reading the late news was "not acceptable."

Speaking in a BBC documentary about her career in 1997, Winton said she "didn't realise at the time what a revolutionary thing it was".

She added, "I did realise everybody was getting very excited about it."

She continued, "I didn't have any trouble from the press or the public. It was the editorial staff who were a bit dodgy."

She said the editorial staff were a "bit ambivalent" about her. By October the same year, Winton had read the late bulletin seven times before she was taken off the Nine O'Clock news.

She recalls being angry about the decision. There would not be a regular female newsreader until Angela Rippon joined the Nine O'Clock News presentation team in 1975.

Winton went on to work for another network, ITV, before her retirement.

"At a time when we have a host of brilliant women who present, edit, film and report the BBC news, we should look back and pay tribute to trailblazers such as Nan, the first female newsreader on the BBC," said Fran Unsworth, the current BBC director of news and current affairs.