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Monday, January 30, 2023

Top Gear: Sue Baker, who presented motoring show for 11 years, dies

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Sue Baker, one of the early presenters on long-running BBC motoring show Top Gear, has died at the age of 75.

The presenter and journalist, who had motor neurone disease (MND), died on Monday, her family said.

Baker joined Top Gear in 1980, three years after its launch, and appeared in more than 100 episodes.

She left in 1991, going on to set up the Motor Racing News Service based at the Brands Hatch race track. She was also the Observer’s motoring editor.

A statement issued by her family on Monday said: “It is with great sadness that we share the news of Sue’s passing. A doting mother to Ian and Hannah, a loving grandmother to Tom and George, and a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy. She passed at home this morning with family around her.

“She was a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover. She had a life and career that many would envy, but did it all with such grace that she was admired and respected by all who knew her. We know she meant so much to so many.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported her over the last few years as she battled with MND.”

‘Feminist icon’

As one of the first women to present on Top Gear, following in the footsteps of the likes of Angela Rippon and Judith Jackson, Baker was considered a pioneer in her field.

“The entire Top Gear team are very saddened to hear about Sue,” a statement from the programme said.

“She was an exceptional motoring journalist and a much-loved former presenter of the show. Our thoughts are with Sue’s family and friends at this time.”

Motoring editor and columnist Geraldine Herbert posted: “She was a wonderful person, a brilliant journalist, and a dear friend… she blazed a trail for women in a man’s world.”

The Guild of Motoring Writers, of which Baker was the vice-president and a former chair, said: “Sue was a pioneer for women in automotive journalism.”

Fellow car expert and writer Giles Chapman tweeted that Baker “should be hailed as a feminist icon”, as she was “the first woman to become a Fleet Street pro in car journalism”.

Baker’s family said they would share details of “how we will lay her to rest and celebrate her life and all her remarkable achievements in the coming days”.

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