THE former host of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, Hugh Scully, has died at the age of 72.
Scully joined the BBC in 1965 as a freelance journalist and was a presenter on BBC One’s Nationwide. In 1981 he was selected to present Antiques Roadshow alongside Arthur Negus.
He resigned as presenter in 2000 to join an internet auction company, helping launch its online antiques business.
It was feared that Scully’s position would jeopardise Antiques Roadshow’s objective reputation – not favouring the expertise of any one auction house.
At the time of his departure, he said: “I have particularly enjoyed my long association with the Antiques Roadshow which has always been a delight and one of the best jobs in broadcasting.
“Now the time has come when I must pursue my commercial interests which, sadly, are incompatible with my role on the programme. I wish my successor well.”
Scully complimented the choice of Michael Aspel as his replacement, calling him “one of the very best presenters in the UK”.
His son Oliver revealed his father died on Thursday afternoon while watching television at his Cornwall home.
Sue Lawley, who worked with Scully on Nationwide and before that at the BBC in Plymouth, described him as “a great talent” and a “fun-loving man”.
She said: “He was a very good presenter – he did the most marvellous pieces for camera and he could write, which was terrific.
“His greatest coup, in his view, was when he persuaded Mrs Thatcher to give him the series of programmes they went on to do together on the Downing Street years...
“In the end he and Mrs Thatcher became firm friends.”
Henry Sandon, who worked with Scully on Antiques Roadshow, said he had an “immense ability to drink wine” and was “always happy, jolly and wonderful”. He added: “I shall never forget the chap, he was ever so marvellous.”
Scully was married to wife Barbara for 43 years before she died aged 69 in 2009. He told a local Falmouth newspaper at the time that she was his “best fried and soulmate”.
The pair moved to Mawnan, Cornwall, in 1993 after the presenter found a house in Country Life magazine. They would go on to raised tens of thousands of pounds for the local RNLI and Mawnan Parish Church through an antiques validation day in their garden of their home in Treworgan.
Fellow BBC presenters Lizo Mzimba and David Sillito were among those to pay tribute to Scully. Sillito tweeted: “Sad news Hugh Scully has died. 19 years on Antiques Roadshow and of course Nationwide in the 70s.”