First Woman to Read News on BBC, Nancy Wigginton, Dies at 93

The first woman to read the news on BBC television, Nancy Wigginton, has died at the age of 93.

Nancy Wigginton, who was better known as Nan Winton, made history as the first female TV newsreader at the corporation on 20 June 1960.

Winton was an experienced journalist who had worked on Panorama and Town and Around before she joined the television news reading team.

The veteran television and radio broadcaster, who lived in Bridport, Dorset, died in hospital on 11 May.

News of the decision, dubbed by the BBC at the time as an “experiment” but made partly in response to the challenge of commercial television, prompted much debate.

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”.

However, Winton’s on-screen role was short lived after viewers deemed a woman reading the late news was “not acceptable”, according to BBC audience research.

By October the same year, Winton had read the late bulletins seven times before the experiment ended.

There would not be a regular female newsreader until Angela Rippon joined the team on the flagship Nine O’Clock News in 1975.

Winton went on to work for ITV before retiring.

An inquest was opened into her death at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court on 16 May.

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