Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Simon Hoggart (1946-2014)

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This morning the news broke that the journalist and broadcaster Simon Hoggart has passed away, aged 67.

I remember Hoggart fondly as host of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, which he presented for ten years between 1996 and 2006 before handing over to Sandi Toksvig. On my 15th birthday in 2001 (the year before I started blogging), we went to a recording of The News Quiz at the Grand Opera House in York. Normally it is recorded in central London, but the show was visiting the north as part of that summer’s BBC Music Live in Yorkshire. Hoggart was the chair, on the day before his 55th birthday as it happens, and he was brilliant. A question about whether a panellist could mention the retailer Woolworths was given the response that, yes, you could say that on the BBC, but not the phrase ‘cock-sucking mother——‘. That was, of course, not broadcast.

Sadly of the six people on the panel – the chair, the newsreader, and four panellists – three have now passed, as the late greats Linda Smith and Richard Whiteley were also there. Thankfully, Charlotte Green and Jeremy Hardy are still going strong, and we saw Hardy in Huddersfield last year.

Hoggart was probably best known for his satirical sketches in The Guardian, where he would take a sideways look at the previous days’ goings on in Parliament – a column he wrote for 20 years. His final article was a review of 2013.

Sadly Hoggart was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three and half years ago, and despite undergoing chemotherapy the condition proved terminal. His contributions to satire and his wit will be sorely missed.

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