Joan Bakewell

Books | Radio | Television | Journalism


Joan was born in Stockport, and grew up in Hazel Grove, Cheshire. She was educated at Norbury Primary School, Stockport High School for Girls and Newnham College Cambridge, where she graduated with a Part I degree in Economics and Part II in History. She has lived in London since 1954.

She is divorced, with two children and six grand children.

1954 - 1956

Studio Manager with BBC Radio
1957 - 1959 Advertising Copywriter with McCann Erickson, Hobson Bates
and later David Williams Ltd
1962 First television broadcast as contributor to BBC TV's Table Talk
Early 1960s Presenter ATV's Sunday Break (ITV)
Home at 4.30 for Southern Television (ITV)
The Second Sex for BBC TV
Meeting Point for BBC TV
1965 - 1972 Late Night Line Up: one of four presenter-interviewers for BBC 2's
nightly programme
Also Celebrity Interviews at the National Film Theatre: Bette Davis,
Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Burt Lancaster
1970's For BBC TV:
    Where Is Your God?
    Who Cares?
    The Affirmative Way
    Holiday Programmes 1974 - 1978
For Granada TV:
    Four Series of Reports Action.

Columnist for The Manchester Evening News.
Television critic for Punch.
Television reviewer for The Times.
Profile writer for The Illustrated London News.
1987 - 1990 Columnist for The Sunday Times
2003 - 2011 Columnist for The Guardian
2003 - 2008 Columnist for The Independent
2008 - 2010 Columnist for The Times
2011 - Columnist for The Daily Telegraph
BBC Television
1981 - 1987

BBC Television's Arts Correspondent
1987 - 2000 BBC 1's Heart of the Matter
2000 Contributions to One Foot in the Past, Correspondent
and other on-going series
My Generation: writer and presenter of three-part Series for BBC 2
2001 Taboo: writer and presenter of three-part Series for BBC 2
2011 - Occasional Panorama presenter for BBC 1
BBC Radio
1999 - 2000

Presenter of BBC Radio 3's Artist of the Week
1999 - 2001 Chair of BBC Radio 3's The Brains Trust
2001 - 2014 Presenter of BBC Radio 3's Belief series.
2009 - 2016 Presenter of BBC Radio 4's Inside the Ethics Committee
2016 - 2019 Presenter of BBC Radio 4's We Need to Talk About Death
Sky Arts
2013 - 2022

Annual Portrait Artist of the Year
Annual Landscape Artist of the Year

Numerous short stories: Womens' Magazines, Punch etc
1970 The New Priesthood: British Television Today
  (with Professor Nicholas Garnham)
A Fine and Private Place (with John Drummond)
1977 The Complete Traveller
1996 The Heart of the Matter: A Memoir
2003 The Centre of the Bed (autobiography)
2005 Belief
2006 The View from Here: Life at Seventy
2009 All the Nice Girls (novel)
2011 She's Leaving Home (novel)
2016 Stop the Clocks
2022 The Tick of Two Clocks
Joan has served on:
1984 - 1999

The Council of the Aldeburgh Festival
1994 - 2003 The Council of the Friends of the Tate Gallery
1998 - 2003 Board of the Royal National Theatre
1994 - 2002 Governor of the BFI
2000 - 2002 Chair of the BFI
2005 - 2009 Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts
2007 - 2012 Chair of the theatre company, Shared Experience.
  The Piers Association
The Almshouse Association
As a Labour Peer
2013 - 2015 Communications Committee of the House of Lords
2016 - 2018 The Speaker's Arts Advisory Panel
2017 Select Committee on A.I.
2019 Select Committee on the Regeneration of the Seaside
2021 Select Committee on the Built Environment
2017 - Joint Chair of the Humanists APPG
Honorary Degrees

Stirling University
Queen Margaret's University, Edinburgh
Royal Holloway, London
Chester University
University of the Arts
Staffordshire University
Lancaster University
Newcastle University
The Open University
Essex University
Manchester Metropolitan University

Joan was made a CBE is 1999 and Dame in 2008. In January 2011 she took her seat in the House of Lords as Baroness Bakewell of Stockport. In April 2013, she became President of Birkbeck College.


The Tick of Two Clocks, 2021 Stop The Clocks, 2016 She's Leaving Home, 2011 All the Nice Girls, 2009 The View from Here, 2006 Belief, 2005 The Centre of the Bed, 2003 The Heart of the Matter, 1996