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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back