Joan Bakewell, winner of the 2016 Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award
In recognition of her outstanding commitment to religious and ethical broadcasting over six decades, the Sandford St Martin trustees agreed that the 2016 Trustees’ Award should go to the broadcaster and journalist, Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE.
The award was presented to Joan Bakewell at Lambeth Palace by her friend the classicist Mary Beard who said “Joan deserves this award because of her long contribution to serious, compassionate, ethical broadcasting – facing difficult issues in an approachable but never simplifying way”.
Joan Bakewell has been a household name since the 1960s when she made her television debut and was the only female presenter on the pioneering BBC2 programme Late Night Line-Up. In the years since she has presented BBC1’s Heart of the Matter (1988-2000), where she frequently explored the most complex issues of belief and ethics, the BBC Radio 3′ series Belief and BBC Radio 4’s Inside the Ethics Committee. She was one of the first journalists to interview Nelson Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990 and her career has made programmes about the campaign for women priests and homosexuality in the priesthood. She has been a witness to history – and in so many cases has been the conduit through which British audiences witnessed history being made.
Roger Bolton praised her constant curiosity – a quality that she has also taken into the House of Lords, where as a Labour Peer, Bakewell “uses her position to ensure that its debates about ethics cut to the heart of the matter”.
When told she would receive the Award, Bakewell said: “I am enormously pleased to be given this award, which has a tremendous reputation. I think it matters all the more in today’s climate because we need space where serious ideas can be reflected and discussed.”