British television presenter Caron Keating, born 5 October 1962, died this day in 2004. Her parents were the television presenter Gloria Hunniford and the BBC producer Donald Keating. Keating studied at the University of Bristol where she graduated with a BA Honours Degree in English and Drama.
Keating’s television career began in Northern Ireland where she presented The Video Picture Show, Channel One and the music programme Greenrock, but her big break undoubtedly came when she was selected to join the team of Blue Peter late in 1986. She brought a new trendy image to the programme, and was popular with viewers because of her looks and fashion-conscious image, appearing on the programme with Peter Duncan, Janet Ellis, Mark Curry, Yvette Fielding, and John Leslie. Highlights of her Blue Peter career included a trip to Moscow in 1987 during the perestroika period, swimming with sharks, abseiling down skyscrapers and standing strapped to the top of a light aircraft whilst it performed aerial acrobatics. She also interviewed serving Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the programme in 1988.
After four years, Keating left Blue Peter and joined BBC Radio 5 where, amongst other programmes, she co-hosted an early 90’s afternoon show with film critic Mark Kermode, the show was named “A game of two halves” and, in his autobiography, Kermode described Keating as “The very dictionary definition of Lovely”. She presented several other TV programmes including This Morning, before breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997.
After various conventional and alternative treatments, including a period away from her family on the Gold Coast, Australia, and at a hospice in Switzerland, she died at the age of 41, at her mother’s house in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Set up in Keating’s memory, The Caron Keating Foundation ( http://www.caronkeating.org/) is a fund-raising partnership set up to raise money to offer financial support to professional carers, complementary healing practitioners, and support groups dealing with cancer patients, as well as individuals and families who are affected by the disease. It will also financially help a number of cancer charities with their ongoing quest for prevention, early detection and hopefully an ultimate cure. It was set up by her mother, TV presenter Gloria Hunniford, and her two brothers Michael and Paul Keating. [Wikipedia]