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Why famed newsreader Moira Stuart is one of my childless role models

By Nina Steele 

Moira StuartThe public uproar that ensued in April 2007, when the BBC decided to part company with Moira Stuart as a TV newsreader, was proof of how much respect and admiration she commended. By then, she had been at the corporation for a total of 34 years, 26 of which were spent reading the news. I, like millions of other Brits enjoyed watching her in that very unique style, not to mention that very distinctive voice. She exuded the type of understated confidence that made her instantly likeable. She never gave the impression of trying too hard. She always came across as a woman of substance, as opposed to one that got to where she was on looks alone. Thankfully, her retirement was short lived and she has been back reading the news on BBC Radio 2 since January 2010.

Moira Stuart was born on September 2, 1949. Her father walked out on the family when she was just 10 months old. She already had an older sister. Her mother would later remarry, but that marriage too failed, although not before another sibling was added to the family. Being a single mother to 3 children meant that her mother worked hard. In one of her rare interviews, Moira said this about the troubles she faced as a child: “’I haven’t had the opportunity to lean on a “daddy” and there was not very much time with my mother when I was growing up because she was always out trying to have the rent paid and put a meal on the table”. She attributes much of her reserved personality to her childhood. Of that she said: “This might be the reason why I’m so self-contained – because I had to be. That sounds so cold but it was a fact of life”.

By her own account, her childhood also played a part in the fact that she never married. Of that she said: “I think my childhood has coloured my perception of these gorgeous, gorgeous guys I have met over the years. To commit has been difficult”. In spite of all that, it seems that one thing her childhood did not take away, is her inherent strength. Because to achieve what she has achieved, particularly as a woman of colour, requires a certain amount of courage and self-belief. You don’t become one of the most loved and successful TV personalities in Britain by luck alone.

Indeed, to be held in such high regard in today’s Britain is quite remarkable, considering how disillusioned most Brits are with celebrities and public figures in general. I am glad that she is now back doing what she loves doing, even though it is on radio and not on TV.

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