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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Raymond Baxter dies

The BBC carries the story as TV presenter Raymond Baxter dies. For members of the ABSW, perhaps that should read science enthusiast passes away.

Baxter's Tomorrow's World may be from a different era, but there's a fair bet that for some of us at least his enthusiasm contributed at least in part to the decision to go into science, and perhaps even into science journalism.

Whatever we might think today of Tomorrow's World, especially its insistence on exclusivity for the stuff it covered, no one had come near capturing the same audience for science. They never will in these days of fragmented media.

My own Baxter memory is of an aborted press jaunt to launch, get this, a new razor blade, the original Gillette double-edge blade. With its tradename of Mach 2, it was natural that they would tie the launch to Concorde, then still something of a novelty. Gillette lined up Baxter to MC the event. As luck would have it, they couldn't spare the promised Concorde for the launch, mechanical problems or some such, so it had to happen in one of those ghastly hotels on the perimeter road at Heathrow. Grappling with a recalcitrant AV system, Baxter spent much of the time mercilessly taunting the people who were doubtless throwing a large wad of money in his direction for the event. His comments were along the lines of not being able to organise a piss up in a brewery. Although, as a former Spitfire pilot, he probably used juicier epithets.

Michael Kenward