Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Raymond Baxter 1922-2006

Born and brought up in Ilford, Essex, he joined the RAF in 1940 at the age of 18, and became a squadron leader. He was still in the RAF when he joined Forces Broadcasting in Cairo in 1945. After a spell with the British Forces Network he moved to Outside Broadcasts at the BBC. He went freelance in the mid 1960s, and also took up a job in industry. He was there from the start of Tomorrow's World in 1965, bringing to it a particular enthusiasm for explaining gadgets and mechanical processes in an uncomplicated way.

Raymond Baxter was the face of Tomorrow's World for 12 years, bringing science and technology to generations, but his versatility also saw his commentary skills sought for sports and state occasions.
These included the annual Festival of Remembrance, the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Mountbatten of Burma, and the 1953 Coronation for which he had to stand in Trafalgar Square under the statue of King Charles's horse in the pouring rain. As the commentator on motor racing, speedway and aviation, Raymond Baxter was always close to the action and sometimes part of it.
He competed in the Monte Carlo rally and during World War II he flew Spitfires. He was twice mentioned in despatches. It was Baxter who described Concorde's first flight. He was the first to broadcast live from an aeroplane, an ocean-liner and a submarine under water.