Joan Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell

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Joan Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell, 2018

Joan Dawson Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell , DBE (born April 16, 1933 in Stockport , Cheshire , England ) is a British journalist , television presenter , news anchor , politician ( Labor Party ) and life peeress .



She was born Joan Dawson Rowlands in Stockport, Cheshire. She attended Stockport High School for Girls (now Hillcrest Grammar School), a Grammar School in local administration, where they head girl ( Head Girl was). As a teenager, she received speech lessons to shed her heavy northern English accent. She studied Economics ( Economics ) and later history at Newnham College of the University of Cambridge .

Television career

Joan Bakewell was one of the presenters of the early BBC Two telecast Late Night Line-Up announced (1965-1972). The author and television journalist Frank Muir called it at this time "the thinking man's object of desire ..." ("the thinking man's crumpet"). This nickname stuck with her; Bakewell himself doesn't like him. Bakewell co-hosted Reports Action for Granada Television from 1976 to 1978 , a Sunday program designed to encourage the public to use their services for good causes. She then returned to the BBC and co-hosted a short-lived late night television art show; She worked briefly on the PM program at BBC Radio 4 . From 1986 to 1988 she was the art and culture correspondent for the BBC news show Newsnight .

Bakewell later became the main host of the documentary and discussion series Heart of the Matter , which ran from 1988 to 2000. In 2001, Bakewell wrote and presented a four-part series for the BBC entitled Taboo , a personal exploration of the concepts of taste , propriety and censorship . The show was open about sex and nudity; in some cases it went to the limit of what could be shown on mainstream television. Bakewell used an open language and so-called "four-letter words" to describe pornography and sex toys . In one film, Bakewell watched film producer Ben Dover film a couple having sex for a porn movie . Bakewell himself read an "obscene" excerpt from the novel Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller . Excerpts from the film The Last Tango in Paris (1972) were also shown. Taboo was approved by the National Viewers and Listeners Association (later in Media Watch renamed) to the Director of Public Prosecutions ( Director of Public Prosecutions reported). Bakewell faced blasphemy ( Blasphemous libel ) charges after reciting part of an erotic poem by James Kirkup, The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name, about a Roman centurion's affection for Jesus Christ .

On May 26, 2008, Bakewell started an evening program on the BBC Parliament entitled Permissive Night . The program examined the liberalization of legislation in the British Parliament in the late 1960s. Topics included changes in divorce law , the death penalty , the legalization of abortion , the Race Relations Bill , partial impunity for homosexual acts (using parts of the documentary series Man Alive ) and the relaxation of censorship. Permissive Night concluded with a special from the previous television show Late Night Line-Up .

In 2009 she won the Journalist of the Year award at the annual Stonewall Awards .

Bakewell as a writer

Bakewell's autobiography , The Center of the Bed , was published in 2004. This focused on her experiences as a woman in the male dominated media industry and also touched on her affair with Harold Pinter while he was still married to actress Vivien Merchant and she was still married to Michael Bakewell. This affair was in 1978 the basis for Pinter's play Betrayed ( Betrayal ), which in 1983 under the title fraud with Patricia Hodge , Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley was filmed.

Bakewell is currently (February 2012) writing for the British newspaper The Independent . Usually her articles deal with aspects of social life and culture, but sometimes she writes more political articles, often related to life in the UK. She had previously written the Just Seventy column for The Guardian newspaper since 2003 . In September 2008 she started a bi-weekly column in the weekly supplement ( Times2-Section ) of The Times newspaper . Her first novel was published by Virago Press in March 2009 . All the Nice Girls drew its experience in Merseyside during the Second World War with an order to tell the story of a school that a ship "adopted".

Further offices and honors

From 2000 to 2002 she was Chairman of the British Film Institute . She is the chair of the theater company Shared Experience .

She was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999 . In the Queen's Birthday Honors List of 2008, she was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). In November 2008, Bakewell was named "Voice of the Elderly" by Harriet Harman , Minister for Women and Equality .

Bakewell holds several honorary doctorates. In 2009 she was honored with an honorary doctorate from Staffordshire University . In 2010 she received an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law (Hon DCL) from Newcastle University . On July 20, 2011, Bakewell received an honorary degree from the University of Essex ; she also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Chester .

In 2018 she was elected an honorary member of the British Academy .

Membership in the House of Lords

In November 2010 it was announced that Bakewell would be raised to the nobility as a life peer . On January 21, 2011 she became a member of the House of Lords with the title Baroness Bakewell, of Stockport in the County of Greater Manchester . Their official introduction to the House of Lords took place on January 25, 2011 with the support of David Puttnam and Helena Kennedy . Bakewell represents the Labor Party there . She gave her inaugural address on February 3, 2011.

In the first year of her membership, she was regularly present on meeting days.


In 2008 Bakewell criticized the absence of older women on British television. She said, "I think the fact that people are being retired, people like Moira Stuart and Selina [Scott] are disappearing - from the public eye - when they reach a certain age is a significant disadvantage in serious broadcasting. It there is a large part of the UK population who do not see themselves on the radio and that is women over 55. Well, that is not healthy for a broadcaster's relationship with its audience. The public should be represented on the screen in different colors, shapes, sexualities, however ... "

In 2010, Bakewell criticized the side effects of the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s. She said, “I never thought I'd say that myself, but I agree with Mrs. Whitehouse on this. The liberal sentiment in the 1960s was that sex was pleasant and healthy and shouldn't be viewed as dirty and bad. The pill allowed women to make their own decisions. Of course, this also meant taking the risk of making the wrong decision. But we hoped that all girls would learn to use these new freedoms wisely. Then it was all about money: now sex is also about money. Why else should little girls 'clothes be sexualized, TV shows with naked wives run, sex magazines put out the serious stuff on newsagents' shelves? It is money that corrupts us; Women are used and even participate. "


She was married to British television producer Michael Bakewell from 1955 to 1972, with whom she has two children. From 1975 to 2001 she was married to director, writer and producer Jack Emery.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Lost voices in: The Guardian, June 18, 1999
  2. Profile: Joan Bakewell BBC News, June 13, 2008
  3. Joan Bakewell CBE (Baroness Bakewell) ( Memento of the original from July 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Manchester UK , Retrieved January 21, 2011  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ An excuse to shock in: Daily Mail , accessed January 21, 2011
  5. Taboo complaints thrown out by watchdog in: The Guardian of May 30, 2002
  6. ^ TV Joan faces jail for gay poem in: The Guardian of March 3, 2002
  7. : Hodder & Stoughton Ltd The Center of the Bed (2004) ( ISBN 0-340-82310-0 )
  8. Heart of the matter: Joan Bakewell reveals how her affair with Harold Pinter - and the play it spawned - still dominates her life in Daily Mail, March 4, 2009
  9. Dame Joan Bakewell appointed Voice of Older People  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Personnel Today November 11, 2008@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  10. Dame Joan Bakewell DBE  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Official website of Staffordshire University )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  11. Celebrating Changing Age  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Official website of Newcastle University )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  12. Graduation 2011  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Article on the University of Essex website on July 20, 2011@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  13. ^ Twelve of the University of Chester's recent triumphs. Article on the University of Chester website on June 13, 2010
  14. ^ Joan Bakewell expected to be made Labor peer in: The Guardian, November 18, 2010
  15. ^ Joan Dawson Bakewell, Baroness Bakewell on , accessed August 20, 2015.
  16. 25 Jan 2011: Column 837 minutes of the House of Lords meeting of 25 January 2011
  17. House of Lords: Members 'expenses Members' expenses on the House of Lords website , accessed February 13, 2011
  18. Women over 55 'invisible on TV' BBC News, December 6, 2008
  19. Dame Joan Bakewell says Mary Whitehouse was right BBC News of June 1, 2010