Obituary for Sue Baker: Motoring journalist, author and broadcaster who presented "Top Gear" for 11 years

Obituary for Sue Baker: Motoring journalist, author and broadcaster who presented “Top Gear” for 11 years

Sue Baker, who died aged 75, was a motoring journalist and broadcaster who presented the television show Top Gear for 11 years from 1980, appearing in 113 episodes; A far cry from the testosterone-rich boys’ show of later years, at its core, she recalled, was straightforward consumer service – ‘what new cars are coming and what we think of them’.

top gear was created by BBC Midlands which ran a first nine episode series in 1977 presented by Angela Rippon and Tom Coyne. It became national the following year and by 1980 it was so popular that BBC Two began commissioning two series a year.

Sue Baker was recruited along with Chris Goffey in 1981; They were soon joined by Frank Page and William Woollard, and other presenters such as Tiff Needell and Quentin Willson followed – as well as Jeremy Clarkson, whom she was grooming to take over from her.

thought the top gear While the 1980s was a more sober affair than the Clarkson and Paddy McGuinness era, Sue Baker traveled the world – albeit usually on a less exotic errand, as she recalled in a recent interview with BrownCarGuy’s YouTube channel: “Do it now them the mega-fun program with adventures. We went where the cars were available – Japan, Korea, whatever – and drove the new cars before they came out here.”

The show would cover the topic from end to end, and would also cover features like heated rear windows, anti-theft devices and the newfangled idea of ​​paying for parking with a credit card. But when it came to road testing, she recalled, “I had to fight back to not get all the little shopping cars.”

Leslie Susan Baker was born on May 9, 1947 in Chislehurst, Kent, to Dora and Frank Baker; Her father was employed by a bank and worked on mechanization. He wasn’t a car fanatic but brought home some new stuff for Sue and her sister to find out. “I’ve always wanted to know how things work,” she said, “and a love of all things technical led me to a love of cars.”

After graduating from high school, she studied journalism at Harlow College in Essex. She secured a job at her local newspaper and, having been passionate about motorsport since childhood, at the age of just 20 she founded the Motor Racing News Service in Brands Hatch, 10 miles from her hometown.

​She managed to persuade the writer of her newspaper to let her write lyrics during his holiday and as he had no interest in motorsport she was able to bag the beat of Brands Hatch after driving to Le Mans under her own power and she presented Boss with a paper-ready report.

She was one of only two reporters on her first car launch in Italy, but was dismayed to discover that the other woman thought she was a deadly rival.

She moved to the evening news in London, ascending to driving. She then covered Formula 1 and particularly fondly recalled reporting on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

In 1982 she became motor editor at The Observerwhere she stayed until 1995. She also worked freelance saga Magazine.

Sue Baker also enjoyed racing herself, competing in both rallies and on the track. She once drove an 1899 Benz in the London-Brighton Rally.

video of the day

She was Vice President and former Chair of the Guild of Motoring Writers – the first woman to hold office. In 1991 she published Complete engine guideand in the year 2000 The Glove Box Guide for Female Drivers.

When asked if she liked the modern incarnation of the program that made her famous, she diplomatically replied, “Ish.”

Sue Baker, who suffered from motor neuron disease in later life, married John Downey, who worked in Naval Intelligence. He died in 2019 and she is survived by her daughter and son.

#Obituary #Sue #Baker #Motoring #journalist #author #broadcaster #presented #Top #Gear #years

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *