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Jack Scott

Jack Scott, weatherman for BBC television from 1969 to 1983 and for Thames Television from 1983 to 1988, died on 11 November 2008. He was 85.

Born in Ferryhill in Co. Durham, he joined the Met Office from Nottingham Technical College at the age of 17 and spent a good deal of his early years on the move, as all the newspapers report – including The Times:

He joined the Met Office in 1941 and spent the Second World War working on RAF stations at Sullom Voe in Shetland, North Africa and Malta. In the 1950s and 1960s he worked at RAF Watnall, now renamed the Nottingham Weather Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya, and at an RAF airbase in Uxbridge, near London.

He joined the BBC in 1968 and was a key factor in transitions in both style and presentation from the early days of TV weather forecasts, as John Kettley relates inThe Guardian:

Following on from the advent of BBC2 in 1964 and colour television in 1967, what Jack did initially was to bring a more colourful presentation to the screen, not just literally, but also in the warmth of his performance.

In 1975 he supervised the technological change from static weather maps to magnetic symbols, still remembered fondly today by a whole generation who watched in anticipation of the rain symbol sliding down the chart or, worse still, crashing on to the studio floor.

The Daily Telegraph comments on his various duties as the BBC’s senior weather forecaster:

As the senior forecaster, Scott had his share of administrative tasks, of which the most bizarre was dealing with a deranged woman who stalked his colleague (and her uncle) Bill Giles over a period of 11 years.

She contacted Scott to claim that Giles had accused him of being a cross-dresser. “He took it very badly,” Giles remarked, “and I don’t blame him.”

As a civil servant, Scott retired at 60, but that wasn’t the end of his career, as The Times points out:

Scott left the BBC and the Met Office in 1983, at the age of 60, and since he was employed by the Civil Service rather than the BBC, he was able to draw his Civil Service pension. However, his days as a weatherman were not finished: he joined Thames Television and broadcast for ITV for another five years until 1988.

In retirement he kept touch with at least a few of his old BBC colleagues through his love of golf, as the Telegraph says:

In retirement Scott’s main interest was golf. He was a member (and a former captain) of Burnham Beeches Golf Club in Buckinghamshire. Fellow members included two other former BBC weathermen – George Cowling, who proposed him for the club, and the late Bert Foord, whom Scott proposed. As well as golf, he numbered collecting weather-related cartoons among his hobbies.

The final word goes to his colleague John Kettley in The Guardian:

His love for the job and warmth of delivery will be his broadcasting legacy. He had a thorough knowledge of his subject and combined great authority with a kind manner. Jack did not necessarily need television, but television needed Jack.

(John “Jack” Scott, born 9 November 1923 in Ferryhill, Co. Durham; died 11 November 2008)