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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Mr & Mrs host Derek Batey dies aged 84

Derek Batey – the Cumbrian broadcaster known the world over for his classic TV show Mr & Mrs – has died.

The Brampton-born broadcaster, who was 84, began his career with ITV Border at Durranhill in Carlisle and became a household name after creating the hit show.

His death was confirmed today.

Mr Batey became ill while on holiday in the United States and after returning to his home in Blackpool with his wife Edith, 89, he passed away in the town’s Trinity Hospice last night.

Harry King, a former ITV producer and director who worked with Mr Batey for more than 50 years, said: “Derek was a people person, who was never happier than when he was talking to either a prince or a pauper.

“He would do interviews with prime ministers and he could also talk comfortably to lady next door. It was a great skill which he had.

“When he did the shows Look Who’s Talking [a talk show] and Mr & Mrs, they worked because the people involved always knew that Derek would never try to make fools of them. He never asked them questions that they weren’t expecting.

“He would be happy if they got all the laughs and they got all the credit and that doesn’t happen today. But he really was the star.”

Mr & Mrs had its heyday in the 1970s and developed a cult following, pitting married couples against each other in a gentle quiz show format.

Derek Batey owned the rights to the show and so retained control over versions of it that went out successfully across the world.

Phillip Schofield presents the modern celebrity version of the show, which still airs on ITV.

Batey was the brains behind Border Television’s most successful television show.

It was in 1967 that he saw a tape of Mr & Mrs and decided to run it, initially for 13 weeks.

He presented Mr & Mrs 500 times on television and 5,000 times on stage.

His success was rewarded with Border when he joined the broadcaster’s board of directors in 1978.

After leaving Border, he moved to St Anne’s in Lancashire, dividing his time between there, Gran Canaria and Flordia, where he had houses.

Weblink: Mr & Mrs in Derek Batey's own words

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