Jennifer Gay (born 22 September 1935) was an on-screen BBC Children's TV continuity announcer for the BBC Television Service (later to become BBC One, but then the only British television channel) between 1949 and 1953.
|Born||September 22, 1935|
The Television Annual for 1953
Gay began introducing children's programmes in June 1949, and aged 14 became the "first schoolgirl in the world to announce TV programmes as a regular job". For the next three years, she grew up on screen, her name intrinsically linked with early 1950s children's television.
Introducing herself by name as "one of the Children's Hour announcers", Gay appeared most days at 5pm to introduce that afternoon's hour of programming, which included such favourites as Muffin the Mule, Mr. Turnip, and Hank and Prudence. Andrew Martin a BBC Archives expert described Gay as "the accepted way of presenting children to themselves".
Her final on-screen appearance as an announcer was in May 1953, after which Gay left the BBC to continue the ballet training she had pursued throughout her television career. She returned to television at ATV in the Midlands during the early 1960s, and was one of the launch team of reporters for the nightly news magazine programme ATV Today.
In December 1949, Gay "announced the first children's programmes transmitted from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter", while the 1953 Television Annual described Gay's "most frightening afternoon", as the occasion upon which "she had to partner Mrs. Attlee in the programme which opened the Lime Grove Studios," just five months later in May, 1950.
Also in 1950, she battled sea-sickness after journeying to France to "take part in TV's first-ever cross-Channel hook-up", which included scenes of "Jennifer... going through Customs and being shown round the Port of Calais".
- TV Announcers: "The Continuity Booth" Archived 2012-07-17 at Archive.today. Accessed 26 October 2008
- Baily, Kenneth (ed.) "Kiddy-Vision, Once Daily" in The Television Annual for 1953
- Martin, Andrew & Gay, Jennifer The Bits in Between...: "Children's Announcers" at the BBC Archive