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Langley Brown - News Editor Radio Medway and Kent (Read 685 times)
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Langley Brown - News Editor Radio Medway and Kent
Dec 11th, 2018, 4:25pm
Langley Brown, late News Editor of BBC Radio Medway and Radio Kent passed away after an illness at the end of November, according to work colleagues. Sadly his funeral was not widely announced. Many people have one or two mentors who they thank for their fulfilling media lives and successes, and Langley was one of mine. A hero to many.
I joined him late - in 1983, some three years before he 'was retired' - he was old school, straight as they came, and from Yorkshire. All three meant he said it as it was, and this didn't suit the evolving BBC ethos. But he gave me my first job in the BBC as a News Producer.
To us he was ‘Bargs’, nick-named after a Private Eye character by Graham Ellis, then in the Radio Kent Newsroom in about 1983-4. Warm, friendly, completely professional, he used to thrill us with endless stories at lunchtimes and into the evenings in the Ship Inn in Chatham High Street.
This was a concern because we loved him so much – as witnessed at the furore caused by his departure – but also because he never seemed to eat save a hard boiled egg or two sat at his desk. But it worked for him, as it had for many years prior to joining the BBC when he was a reporter and editor in East Africa which he and Jean loved. Langley also loved Yorkshire from where he hailed and his first reporter experiences.
The newsroom he ran was feisty, robust, innovative, strived for the highest standards always, in days when these included honesty, balance, lack of speculation. He led us through great stories such as the Miners’ Strike and the first stirrings of a Channel Tunnel with a deft touch, trusting his journalists and defending (from both miners' and employers accusations) when necessary even at risk to himself. I think he always reckoned his highlight was direct criticism of Mrs Thatcher (on air) when she refused to talk to the media in an election campaign and on a visit to Kent. That battle (suspension and a DG interview I believe) stopped what probably was an upward climb in the BBC - but Langley would never have regretted it - he's not have slept at night had he ducked the fight.  
I remember Langley predicting in pre-mobile phone days, that we’d all communicate with personal devices. We scoffed. What this great future thinker has had was the last laugh. Missed, not forgotten, neither is Jean his widow.
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Re: Langley Brown - News Editor Radio Medway and Kent
Reply #1 - Dec 12th, 2018, 3:17pm
Thank you for this. I didn't know Langley. You make me wish I had. We were lucky in those days to have a boss we could respect.
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