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September 2, 2003
Peter West, for many years the avuncular anchorman for the BBC's televised cricket, died this morning at his home in Bath after a long illness. He was 83, and is survived by his wife Pauline, a daughter and two sons.
He took his first steps in journalism in 1945, after his war was cut short by back trouble. He started in radio two years later, and graduated to the TV screen in 1951, by which time he was also editing the new Playfair Cricket Annual. It wasn't just cricket: West covered everything from the Olympics to rugby and Wimbledon, via Come Dancing, which he hosted for 15 years.
West was unflappable, whether trying to interview Ted Dexter in a thunderstorm ("Are you all right, Ted?" "Yes, but I think I've just been struck by lightning") or quizzing the umpire Tommy Spencer on the top of the pavilion at The Oval, cunningly seated next to a huge speaker that kept broadcasting the teatime scores at inconvenient moments in the discussion.
He was the front man for the BBC's cricket coverage until the end of the 1986 season, when Tony Lewis took over. West then wrote an autobiography, and covered Mike Gatting's 1986-87 "Grand Slam" tour of Australia for the Daily Telegraph.
More recently he was able to reassure a newspaper which had referred to "the late Peter West" that rumours of his demise were exaggerated. Now, sadly, they are not.