Anne Gregg

Travel journalist and broadcaster


Anne Deirdre Gregg, journalist and television presenter: born Belfast 11 February 1940; died London 5 September 2006.

Away from the cameras, Anne Gregg was known for being just as bubbly, warm and kind as she was on screen - something reflected in her reaction to being ousted as presenter of the BBC's Holiday programme 15 years ago.

Newspaper headlines screamed of her "sacking", when in fact she had resigned after being asked to revert to the role of reporter, with a new presenter being brought in, but Gregg was philosophical. "When you have a job like mine, your fall from grace is very public," she said. "But, for people in this industry, losing a job is just as bad, if not worse, and only your family hears about it."

The revamp of Holiday was seen by some as proof of an ageist attitude in the media, but Gregg pointed to the survival of Esther Rantzen and Sue Lawley in high-profile jobs, insisting: "Simply, there were changes and I didn't fit in with them, so I decided to walk away and let them get on with it."

Neither was she impressed - or flattered - to have been dubbed "the thinking man's crumpet". "It's just one of those glib phrases," she said:

The only thing that pleases me about it is that I am in good company, as the likes of Joan Bakewell,

Joanna Lumley and Felicity Kendal have all been similarly described.

The presenter's departure from Holiday was met with more than 1,000 protests to the BBC but, as Anneka Rice - almost 20 years her junior - replaced her, Gregg switched channels to ITV to host her own programmes and continued to write for various newspapers and magazines, as she had done for the previous quarter-century.

Born in 1940 in Belfast, where her father worked in the Ordnance Survey office and her mother was a dressmaker, Gregg became a civil servant herself, working as a book-keeper after leaving Strathearn Grammar School. Her first plane journey, at the age of 18, to the Expo '58 event in Brussels, left a lasting impression that would lead her into travel writing. A year later, she changed career when she became an announcer and reporter with the newly established Ulster Television, ITV's Northern Ireland contractor. In 1963, she switched to Anglia Television, in Norwich, before joining the BBC in London as a continuity announcer.

However, she then left television for print journalism, joining Good Housekeeping magazine as features editor in 1966 and rising to deputy editor, before taking over the editorship of Woman's Journal in 1978. Two years later, she went freelance, continuing to write but also returning to the screen as a reporter on the Holiday programme, eventually becoming its presenter, following in the footsteps of Cliff Michelmore.

After her abrupt departure, Gregg presented ITV's travel-religion programme Annie Across America (1992), about Christianity in the United States, enthusing:

It was fascinating to hear the totally opposed views of people who all profess to be Christians. You go from the Southern Baptists, who think gays ought to be boiled in oil, to a gay priest in Los Angeles fighting for human and civil rights.

The following year, she travelled with various preachers to different places of pilgrimage for Package Pilgrims (1993).

Gregg also hosted the ITV travel programme Getaways (screened in the Meridian and HTV regions, 1993-98) and Places Apart (for BBC Northern Ireland, 1996-97), as well as one series of the BBC Radio 4 programme Breakaway (1997).

At various times, she was travel editor of Radio Times, Living, Catalyst and BBC Homes & Antiques magazines and, from 1979 until her death, editor of The Traveller in France. In 2003 France awarded her the Médaille d'Or du Tourisme.

Gregg's love of France led her to write the book Tarragon and Truffles: a guide to the best French markets (2006). Her other books included The Perfect Holiday (1989), Dalton's Directory of British Holidays (1993) and the "Heritage Guides to Great Britain" series (1995).

Anthony Hayward

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little