BBC presenter Ray Gosling dies aged 74

Friends say Gosling should be remembered for his many TV and radio documentaries, rather than the suspended sentence which saw an end to his career

The BBC presenter, documentary maker and journalist Ray Gosling has died in hospital aged 74.

A prominent gay rights activist, Gosling was born in Chester in 1939, before attending – and dropping out of – the University of Leicester. In his early adult life he was a youth worker in Nottingham, the city where he died and with which he would become closely linked.

During the 1960s and 70s Gosling moved into television, hosting Granada TV’s On Site programme and going on to make over 100 filmed documentaries – and many more for radio.

He was given a suspended prison sentence in September 2010 after he appeared on the BBC’s Inside Out East Midlands, where he was a regular presenter, claiming to have killed a former lover.

In the programme he said: “I killed someone once. He was a young chap, he'd been my lover and he got Aids. I picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.”

Gosling was arrested, but later convicted of wasting police time after it emerged that the claims were false.

His friend, the poet and artist Dave Bishop, was with him at the Queen’s Medical Centre hospital on Tuesday. He told BBC News people should remember Gosling for his TV and radio work.

“He was different from all other broadcasters,” he said. “He was curious about the world and used to go to places that no-one else bothered with.

“Ray knew how to talk to people and he liked to mix with the working class, and talk to them. He didn't like programmes like Shameless and EastEnders because he thought they misrepresented the working class.”

Gosling was declared bankrupt in 2000 and moved into sheltered accommodation, but continued to write and make programmes about the world around him, including his own experiences of life in a home.

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