BBC weather presenters now – tragic death at 51, famous family and career U-turn

BBC weather forecasters provide viewers with the best and worst news, revealing whether those summer barbecues will be going ahead or if they'll be rained off.

And while the presenters aren't on screen for too long, faces like Carol Kirkwood and Owain Wyn Evans have become stars in their own rights – and some of their stories are far more interesting than the weather.

Carol and Owain are just a few weather presenters who have garnered huge fanbases.

Another is BBC presenter Tomasz Schafanaker, who reportedly counted the late Queen Elizabeth II as a fan.

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But who were the weather presenters who came before Carol, Owain and Tomasz, to name a few?

Here, Daily Star takes a look at where some of the BBC Weather stars are now.

George Cowling

Long before Tomasz Schafanaker, Owain Wyn Evans or Carol Kirkwood, another meteorologist made history when they became the first person to broadcast the weather live on TV.

After working as a weather forecaster for the Royal Air Force (RAF), George Cowling joined the BBC and presented the first televised weather broadcast on January 11, 1954.

The broadcasts were much different from what we know today, with the BBC describing the presenter as using "charcoal sticks to draw weather features on two charts, one for today and one for tomorrow's forecast."

Presenting alongside Tom Clifton, they became the first weather personality celebrities, with the press at the time naming them "Mr Shower and Mr Shine" and "Mr West and Mr Dry".

It is reported that George was also a keen golfer, alongside fellow BBC weather presenters Jack Scott and Bert Foord, so it is handy that he knew what the weather would be like before setting out for a few rounds of the sport.

He worked at the corporation for three years, before returning to his role in the RAF.

George later worked at Heathrow Airport and the Met Office College, before retiring in 1981.

However, the history making weatherman died on December 25, 2009 at the age of 79 years old, following a short stay in hospital.

Paying tribute to the star, the Editorial Manager of BBC Weather at the time, Richard Chapman, said: "Our thoughts are with his family.

"He was always highly regarded by the BBC weather team as it grew and developed over the years, and he continued to take a keen interest in how the weather story was told to our audiences."

Barbara Edwards

Barbara Edwards was another history making meteorologist, after she became the first female weather presenter on the BBC in January 1974.

She had previously worked for the Met Office and as a weather forecaster for Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport, before landing a role on BBC radio between 1970 to 1974.

The star remained on our screens for more than four years, but was sadly subjected to horrid remarks from some viewers, who criticised the way she dressed.

Barbara later spoke about becoming tired of fame, saying to The Daily Express: "I'm glad I took the challenge but I'm glad to be forgotten."

She later returned to present the weather on BBC Radio.

The forecaster also revealed to the BBC in 2014 that after leaving the Met Office, she made a career u-turn and took up a job working part time in a University Library.

The weather forecaster was not the only famous meteorologist in her family however, as her aunt is Claire Martin, who presented weather forecasts on CBC Television in Canada.

Away from the limelight, Barbara married Kenneth Wilson in 1976.

Bill Giles

Bill Giles presented BBC weather forecasts in the eighties, after previously working as a lecturer for the Met Office College in the late sixties.

After beginning his broadcasting career in 1972, he landed his BBC role in 1983, following the retirement of Jack Scott.

In 2000, Bill retired from the Met Office after a long career in TV weather forecasting, but has since co-authored the book A Climate Of Change.

He was also awarded an OBE in 1995.

However, during his time as a weather forecaster, it is reported that he also won an appeal against a ruling by The Met Office, saying that he had bullied and intimidated TV colleagues.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said at the time in 1999: "The Met Office has completed its investigation into the allegations of deliberate harassment and bullying made by Richard Edgar against Bill Giles, its senior weatherman at the BBC Weather Centre.

"Bill, who reached the normal Civil Service retiring age of 60, last week, has been cleared of the charges which would have amounted to serious misconduct.

"Nevertheless, in conducting a full and thorough analysis of the case, Chief Executive Peter Ewins has concluded that there are problems with management of the Met Office's activities at the Weather Centre and that changes are necessary."

In his personal life, Bill was married to Eileen Lake from 1961 to 1991, with who he had two children.

The star later married Patricia Stafford in 1993, and revealed to The Daily Express that he has five granddaughters and a great grandson.

Michael Fish

Michael Fish is one of the most famous names in BBC Weather history.

He originally joined the Met Office in 1962, before moving into broadcasting nearly a decade later in 1974.

The presenter was one of the BBC's longest running weather forecasters between 1974 to 2004, but he is most famously remembered for his 1987 hurricane broadcast.

On October 15, 1987, he could be heard telling BBC viewers: "Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't!"

The words look set to come back to haunt him, after the "great storm of 1987" followed in the hours afterwards.

Speaking on the 30th anniversary of the hurricane, he also made a surprise revelation to The Sun – that no one rang in about the hurricane.

"It's a myth that we didn't know it was coming, that there was no mention of high winds, that I was the only one that got it wrong the woman that rang the BBC – there wasn't a wasn't a woman at all actually – and that it was a hurricane," said Michael.

The clip has become so famous, that it even featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

After leaving the BBC in 2004, he became the co-author of the book Storm Force: Britain's Wildest Weather, as well as presenting broadcasts on BBC South East Today and Net Weather TV.

However, he announced his retirement from weather forecasting in 2021.

Michael was also awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to broadcasting, as well as the TRIC Award for TV Weather Presenter Of The Year.

He was later awarded an MBE in 2014, and has since been described by co-stars including Ian McCaskill as "the last of the true weathermen you will ever see," in Michael's final broadcast for the BBC.

The presenter has even had songs dedicated to him, with punk bands and electronic dance legends The Prodigy all mentioning his name, or featuring samples of his weather broadcasts in their music.

Away from the limelight, Michael Fish has two children called Alison and Nicola.

Diane Oxberry

Beloved BBC presenter Diane Oxbury presented the weather on North West Tonight for more than 23 years.

However, she first began her career away from the weather – instead working alongside Steve Wright and Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 1 in the early nineties.

She later landed a role as a presenter on the children's TV show, The 8:15 from Manchester in 1991.

It was not only fame she found on the show however, as she also found romance with cameraman Ian Hindle, who she married in 1993.

Together the couple had two children.

Diane made a u-turn two years later to study meteorology at the Met Office College in 1995, before joining BBC North West tonight in the same year – where she became a familiar face to many.

She also regularly presented current affairs programme, Inside Out North West.

However, Diane was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and ten days later, the weather forecaster died on January 10, 2019 at the age of 51 years old.

Viewers and her co-stars paid tribute to the star, with North West Tonight presenter Roger Johnson saying: "We are heartbroken by Dianne’s death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It’s hard to imagine the programme without her.

"Our thoughts are with Ian and all of Dianne’s family. We hope they will find some comfort in the knowledge so many people loved Dianne and will miss her terribly."

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Diane's husband Ian said: "'Not a day goes by when I don't think about her, miss her or, quite often, cry thinking about her.

"I miss her sense of humour, her love. She was a brilliant wife and mother and I miss all the things we did together."

Her husband Ian has since set up a charity called The Diane Oxburry Trust, to support patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

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