Sir Martyn John Dudley Lewis CBE (born 7 April 1945) is a Welsh television news presenter and journalist. He was a presenter for various BBC News programmes between 1986 and 1999 and was known for his involvement in the coverage of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. He is also active in the charity sector and is the Founder & Executive Chairman of YourBigDay Ltd.
Sir Martyn Lewis
Martyn Lewis in 2012
Martyn John Dudley Lewis
7 April 1945
(m. 1970; her death 2012)
Patsy Baker (m. 2012)
Lewis was born in Swansea, Glamorgan, though was educated at the co-educational Dalriada School in Northern Ireland and graduated with a BA degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He then joined BBC Northern Ireland in 1967. Lewis also holds an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Ulster and is a Freeman of the City of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Garrick Club and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Lewis became the first presenter of the One O'Clock News on BBC One on 27 October 1986 when it was launched as part of the introduction of the channel's daytime schedule, replacing News After Noon. Subsequently, he presented other bulletins including the Six O'Clock News and Nine O'Clock News.
Lewis played a prominent role in the announcement of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on Sunday 31 August 1997. He was called into the BBC in the early hours of that morning to present short national bulletins during a late night viewing of Borsalino about the car accident in Paris. He returned home afterwards to get some sleep – expecting the Princess to pull through – only to be drafted in again in time for the special 6 am bulletin covering Diana's death.
During the marathon coverage which was simulcast on BBC1, BBC World as well as broadcasters around the world which took in the BBC news feed, Lewis was almost brought to tears following Tony Blair's "People's Princess" statement. His uninterrupted presenting stint ended mid-afternoon when Peter Sissons took over.
On 26 April 1999, a few weeks before the BBC relaunched its news programmes, he presented the Six O'Clock news bulletin with Jennie Bond on the day his co-host Jill Dando was murdered outside her home in West London. He also appeared on rival ITN that evening to pay tribute to his dead colleague.
He presented his last bulletin at the start of May 1999 from Edinburgh, reporting on Scottish devolution, signing off with, "And from me, it's goodbye."
He retired from newsreading in 1999 and since then has presented occasional programmes on ITV including Dateline Jerusalem and Ultimate Questions.
He played himself in brief cameo roles in several films, appearing as a newsreader in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, in The Bill and The Vicar of Dibley in 2000, and in archive footage featured in the 2006 film The Queen, as well as Argo, Senna and The James Bond Story.
In 2008, he appeared in the video on board the Heathrow Express as a guide to the airport security.
In 2013, he appeared as the presenter in television commercials for Calgon, acting out interviews with 'experts' in a series entitled "Smart Washing with Calgon".
Lewis was chairman and co-founder of Teliris, one of the first telepresence systems developed. He was actively involved in the marketing of this solution through personal contacts, speaking engagements and "Telepresence Times", his vlog launched in 2009. He retired as chairman in 2012.
He is Founder & Executive Chairman of YourBigDay Ltd, which uses the ITN & Reuters archives to produce birthday & anniversary videos covering most of the last century.
He is president of United Response, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities or mental health needs to live in the community, in England and in Wales.
He founded the youth charity YouthNet in 1995 (now known as The Mix), and stayed as chairman until stepping down in July 2014, though he remains an advisor. The charity provides advice, information and support through websites aimed at young people.
From 2010 to 2016 he was chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, an umbrella body for charities in England and Wales with over 13,000 members. He is also chairman of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. He was chairman of Families of the Fallen 2010–15; trustee of the Windsor Leadership Trust 2001–10, and is currently deputy chair of the Lord Mayor of London's Dragon Awards.
He is a patron of The Patchwork Foundation, the quarterly broadsheet Positive News, and Dementia UK.
He married Liz Carse in 1970. They met while working at HTV Wales in the late sixties – she as a continuity announcer, he as a reporter and presenter. Liz died in 2012 after a long battle with Huntington's Disease. Martyn and Liz have two daughters, Kate Lewis [better source needed] and singer-songwriter Sylvie Lewis.
Martyn is now married to Patsy Baker (née Wallis) who is Senior Group Adviser to the Huntsworth Group of public relations companies.
Lewis was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997 for his services to young people and the hospice movement and was knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for voluntary and charitable work, especially for the hospice movement.
Books by Lewis include:
- And Finally (1984) – an anthology of humorous stories that have ended news bulletins over the years. ISBN 978-0-7126-0923-4
- Tears and Smiles – the Hospice Handbook (with the Duchess of Kent, 1989) – the first layman's guide to the British Hospice movement. ISBN 978-1-85479-060-6
- Cats in The News (1991) – a humorous anthology which topped the best seller list for 8 weeks. ISBN 978-0-356-20282-2
- Dogs in the News (1992) ISBN 978-0-7515-0250-3
- Go For It – Martyn Lewis's Essential Guide to Opportunities for Young People (1993–98) – annual publication which was the forerunner of the charity YouthNet. ISBN 978-1-85291-131-7
- Today's The Day (1995) – based on Lewis' quiz show of the same name. ISBN 978-0-86369-943-6
- Reflections on Success (1997) – interviews with over 60 famous people across a wide range of professions analysing their success. ISBN 978-1-85291-139-3
- Seasons of Our Lives (1999) – an anthology of poetry and prose to comfort, encourage and amuse people as they go through different stages of life. ISBN 978-1-85291-142-3
- Lewis, Martyn (26 April 1993). "Not my idea of good news: At the end of a week of horrifying events, Martyn Lewis, BBC presenter, argues for a change in news values". The Independent.
- Bedell, Geraldine (2 May 1993). "Profile: Sweetie among cynics: Martyn Lewis: Top in a tough profession, he campaigns for good news and writes about cats. So why are the claws out for him?". The Independent.
- Telepresence Times vlog
- Miller, Katy. (7 July 2014) Meet the trustees. YouthNet. Retrieved on 10 June 2016.
- What We Do. youthnet.org
- Interview with Martyn Lewis Archived 11 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, ThirdSector, 18 May 2010
- Martyn Lewis, Civil Society
- Alice, Sharman (10 September 2015). "Pennies reaches 20 million micro-donation milestone". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Kate Lewis". IMDb.
- "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N2.
- "New Year's Honours 2016 list" (PDF). GOV.UK. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.