Edmund “Ted” Trimmer: pioneer of regional television news

Ted Trimmer: a gentleman

A Gentleman of the Old School. It’s a cliche´, but there is no more apt description of Ted Trimmer, a great journalist and a great guy, his trademark bow-tie impeccably self-tied. It is sad that his death became a national story, not because of his own role as one of the pioneers of regional television news, nor even the violent and tragic circumstances in which he died, but for the fact that his big sister was the Hollywood star Deborah Kerr.

Ted was born in 1926 and grew up in a bungalow in Weston-SuperMare. His sister went into the theatre, and although Ted also took acting lessons after leaving Bristol Grammar School, he opted for journalism as a junior reporter on the local paper, The Weston Mercury. He joined the RAF shortly before the end of the war and returned to journalism on the Evening World, now The Bristol Evening Post. In the fifties Fleet Street beckoned and he worked for The Daily Express as a sub-editor and then the magazine Illustrated. It was the growth of television, and television news in particular, that caused the demise of the pictorial magazines.

Appropriately, in 1958 Ted found a new berth, back in Bristol, with the fledgling ITV station Television for Wales and the West – TellyWelly, as he called it.

His interest in pictures made him a television natural and by 1963 he had become Head of News at the station (which was later to become HTV).

Among other stories, Ted was involved in the coverage of the tragedy at Aberfan in which 144 people, most of them children, were killed when a mountain of coal waste engulfed their village.

He moved to Birmingham in 1968, where he became programme organiser, and then Deputy Editor, of ATV Today. In 1976 he succeeded Bob Gillman, the man who had brought him to the Midlands, as editor of the daily news programme. Ted also edited Citizen’s Rights for a year and a number of news specials, including the Royal Show and the Nottingham Festival. Latterly, Ted became executive editor and, after Central Television took over the Midlands’ ITV franchise from ATV, he was appointed Managing Editor of News and Current Affairs.

In these executive roles, he was instrumental in setting up the new East Midlands news operation in Nottingham and the introduction of Electronic News Gathering into the company. Ted retired in 1989 just after the company launched Central South.

Those who worked with him during his long career remember not just his kindness, but also his great skills as a journalist. He had a tremendous eye for detail and would leave no stone unturned and no fact unchecked.

Former controller of sports, Gary Newbon, said Ted, as programme producer, was a diplomat who brought out the best from people by kind and subtle persuasion.

Ted continued to support his colleagues as an active member of the Central retirement club, running the overseas holidays. Ted suffered a heart attack earlier this year, but had made a strong recovery.

He died in an incident involving another motorist, not far from his home at Kings Norton, Birmingham, on 23 August. A man has been charged with his murder.

He leaves a widow Kathy, whom he met while they worked at Central Television, a daughter Kate, stepsons Andy and Robert, stepdaughter Anna and grandchildren Bethany and Ethan. A service of celebration is to be held at St Nicolas Church, Kings Norton, on 20 September.

Compiled by Laurie Upshon

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