Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg
The Right Honourable
The Lord Bragg

Bragg addressing the London School of Economics, c.1990s
Born 6 October 1939 (1939-10-06) (age 72)
Carlisle, Cumberland, UK
Nationality British
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford
Occupation Broadcaster, presenter, interviewer, commentator, novelist, scriptwriter[1]
Notable works In Our Time
Television The South Bank Show
Political party Labour

Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg FRSL FRTS FBA, FRS FRSA (born 6 October 1939) is an English broadcaster and author best known for his work with the BBC and for presenting the The South Bank Show (1978–2010). Since 1998 he has presented over 500 weekly episodes of the BBC Radio discussion programme In Our Time.



Bragg was born 6 October 1939 in Carlisle, Cumberland[2] (now Cumbria), the son of Mary Ethel (née Park), a tailor, and Stanley Bragg, a stock keeper turned mechanic.[3] He attended the Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton,[2] and then read Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Broadcasting career

Bragg began his career in 1961 as a general trainee at the BBC,[2] spending his first two years in radio at the BBC World Service, then at the BBC Third Programme and BBC Home Service.[4] He then joined the production team of Huw Wheldon's Monitor arts series on BBC Television.[4] His work as a writer and broadcaster began in 1967. He is best known for the London Weekend Television (LWT) arts programme The South Bank Show, which he edited and presented from 1978 to 2010.[5] He was Head of Arts at LWT from 1982 to 1990 and Controller of Arts at LWT from 1990. He is also known for his many programmes on BBC Radio 4, including Start the Week (1988 to 1998), The Routes of English, (mapping the history of the English language), and In Our Time (1998 to present), which in March 2011 broadcast its 500th programme.

A novelist and writer of non-fiction, Bragg has written a number of television and film screenplays. Some of his early television work was in collaboration with Ken Russell, for whom he wrote the biographical dramas The Debussy Film (1965) and Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967), as well as Russell's film about Tchaikovsky, The Music Lovers (1970). He is president of the National Academy of Writing. His 2008 novel Remember Me is a largely autobiographical story.[6]

Bragg is a Vice President of the Friends of the British Library, a charity set up to provide funding support to the British Library.[7] He became a member of the Arts Council Literature Panel in 1969, since becoming Chairman, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.

Personal life

Bragg married his first wife, Marie-Elisabeth Roche, in 1961,[2] and they had one child, a daughter.[8] He did not know that his wife had a history of suicide attempts. Ten years later she killed herself, after he left her for another woman. "I could have done things which helped and I did things which harmed", he told The Guardian in 1998. "So yes, I feel guilt, I feel remorse."[9]

Bragg's second wife, Catherine Mary Haste, whom he married in 1973,[2] is also a television producer and writer, having, among other things, edited the 2007 memoir of Clarissa Eden, widow of Sir Anthony Eden, and collaborated with Cherie Booth, wife of Tony Blair, on a 2004 book about the wives of British Prime Ministers. They have a son and a daughter.

Bragg has publicly discussed two nervous breakdowns that happened in his life, one in his teens, and another in his 30s.[6]

A friend of Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister, in 1998 Bragg was named in a list of the largest private financial donors to the Labour Party.[10]

He is a supporter of Arsenal F.C.[11]

Selected honours and awards



  • For Want of a Nail (1965)
  • The Second Inheritance (1966)
  • The Cumbrian Trilogy:
  • The Nerve (1971)
  • Josh Lawton (1972)
  • The Silken Net (1974)
  • Autumn Manoeuvres (1978)
  • Love and Glory (1983)
  • The Maid of Buttermere (1987) (based on the life of Mary Robinson)
  • Without a City Wall (1988)
  • The Second Inheritance (1990)
  • A Time to Dance (1990)
  • Crystal Rooms (1992)
  • Credo (1996) also known as The Sword and the Miracle
  • The Soldier's Return Quartet:
    • The Soldier's Return (1999)
    • A Son of War (2001)
    • Crossing the Lines (2003)
    • Remember Me... (2008)

Non-fiction books

Children's books

  • A Christmas Child (1977)
  • My Favourite Stories of Lakeland (editor) (1981)



  1. ^ a b "Lord Bragg of Wigton FRS FRSL FRTS". British Academy. Retrieved 2011-10-04. "Public understanding of the arts, literature and sciences. Broadcaster, presenter, interviewer, commentator, novelist, scriptwriter." 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Quicke, Andrew. "Melvyn Bragg". Encyclopedia of Television. Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  3. ^ "Family detective: Melvyn Bragg" The Telegraph
  4. ^ a b article by Melvyn Bragg in British Mensa Magazine, January 2002, page 7
  5. ^ "ITV Fact File on The South Bank Show". 
  6. ^ a b Daphne Guinness (June 14, 2008). "Melvyn in the middle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  7. ^ "Friends of the British Library Annual Report 2006/07". Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  8. ^ Guinness, Daphne (14 July 2008). "Melvyn in the Middle". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2008. " first wife was an aristocrat. I didn't know that for a year." 
  9. ^ "Plato or Nietzsche? You choose" The Guardian
  10. ^ ""Luvvies" for Labour". BBC News. 30 August 1998. 
  11. ^ "Melvyn Bragg on becoming a fan - Arsenal, 1989". The Guardian (London). 17 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Minutes and Order Paper - Minutes of Proceedings from the House of Lords, 28 October 1998
  13. ^ "Notice: 4SI (Issue: 55222)". London Gazette (55222). 11 August 1998. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Bragg opens namesake drama suite". BBC News. 17 October 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  15. ^ "Melvyn Bragg to receive Bafta Academy Fellowship". BBC News. 1 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Honorary Fellows of the Royal Society

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Katharine, Duchess of Kent
Chancellor of the University of Leeds

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Melvyn Bragg — ➡ Bragg * * * …   Universalium

  • Melvyn Bragg — n 1. a sexual encounter, shag 2. a cigarette, fag The rhyming slang uses the name of the British TV arts programme presenter and novelist …   Contemporary slang

  • Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg — Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg, FRSL, FRTS (* 6. Oktober 1939 in Wigton, Cumberland, England) ist ein britischer Autor, Drehbuchautor, Fernseh und Rundfunkmoderator und Life Peer. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben und Ausbildung 2 Fernsehkarriere …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Melvyn — may refer to: Melvyn Betts Melvyn Bragg Melvyn C. Goldstein Melvyn Douglas Melvyn Dubofsky Melvyn Gale Melvyn Goldstein Melvyn Grant Melvyn Hayes Melvyn J Taub Melvyn Jones Melvyn Levitsky Melvyn Morrow Melvyn Rubenfire Melvyn I. Weiss …   Wikipedia

  • Bragg — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Billy Bragg (* 1957), englischer Musiker Braxton Bragg (1817–1876), General der Konföderierten Don Bragg (* 1935), US amerikanischer Stabhochspringer und Olympiasieger Doug Bragg (1928–1973), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bragg (homonymie) — Bragg Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Bragg peut faire référence à : Bragg, un cratère lunaire. un patronyme porté par : Billy Bragg, un chanteur. Braxton Bragg, un officier… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bragg (surname) — Bragg is a surname, and may refer to:*Billy Bragg, English folk musician *Braxton Bragg, military officer for whom Fort Bragg is named *Melvyn Bragg, author *R A Bragg, author *Paul Bragg, nutritionist *Thomas Bragg, North Carolina politician and …   Wikipedia

  • Bragg — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Bragg peut faire référence à : Bragg, un cratère lunaire. un patronyme porté par : Billy Bragg, un chanteur. Braxton Bragg, un officier… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kingdom Come (Bragg novel) — infobox Book | name = Kingdom Come title orig = translator = image caption = author = Melvyn Bragg illustrator = cover artist = country = United Kingdom language = English series = Cumbrian Trilogy genre = Family Saga publisher = Secker and… …   Wikipedia

  • The Seventh Seal — For other uses, see The Seventh Seal (disambiguation). The Seventh Seal Theatrical release poster Directed by Ingmar Bergman …   Wikipedia

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