Mary Elizabeth Marquis MBE is a Scottish former television news presenter.

She was a leading interviewer and presenter on BBC Scotland from the mid-1960s, and became the face of the network's evening news programme Reporting Scotland until 1988, notably including the whole of the 1970s Nationwide era when input from BBC regional studios all across the BBC1 network was linked together in a broadcast to the whole of the UK.

Early life[edit]Edit

Born in Glasgow on 14th March 1940 and an only child, Mary's family moved to Kirn across the water in Argyll when she was small, to run a small hotel, after her father had suffered a heart attack. As a child she suffered an attack of tuberculosis and used a wheelchair for a time, which kindled a dream of becoming an actress. At the age of 17 she won a place to RADA, but instead trained in Glasgow, nearer to her family.

For many years, Marquis became the doyenne of BBC Scotland, regularly presenting the flagship 6.30 programme from the BBC Scotland studios in Queen Margaret Drive. She also occasionally presented Nationwide from London.

Marquis returned to BBC Scotland to mark its move into new state-of-the-art headquarters at Pacific Quay and was interviewed for the programme.

RSAMD awards an annual Mary Marquis prize for student performance in television, commemorating her time there.


Soon after the death of her father she joined Border TV as an onscreen continuity announcer, initially thinking she would only do it "for a month", but it became her career for the next twenty-seven years. She was the first person seen on screen at Border, opening the station's transmission with the words "Good Evening and welcome to Border Television" when it went on air at 5:45 on September 1, 1961.

Two years later she moved to BBC Scotland, travelling all over Scotland to interview people for A Quick Look Round, and then for her own series First Person Singular form 1970 - 75, before becoming one of the three leading presenters of Reporting Scotland at its inception in 1968, and subsequently the programme's main anchor for the next twenty years. With the start of the enormously popular Nationwide in 1969, she became a frequent face on television across the whole of the UK, and several times covered for its regular presenters in London for two or three weeks. This was at a time when women newsreaders were quite unusual on British television, pre-dating Angela Rippon.

In the 1970s she was head-hunted by ITN to become their first female newscaster. But Mary Marquis preferred to stay in Glasgow where she could look after her mother and family, and the job instead went to Anna Ford in 1978.

Following the death of her mother, and a change of management at the BBC, she stepped down from Reporting Scotland in 1988.[1] She has subsequently been involved with various arts, medical and academic organisations, and also did a series of live interviews at the Edinburgh Festival. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1983 New Year Honours list, and honoured with a special award for 'Special Contribution to Scottish Broadcasting' at the 2007 Scottish BAFTA awards.

Appearance[edit|edit source]Edit

With her reputation for being cool under pressure, being always "immaculately groomed" often in an elegant neck scarf, and the precision of her drama-school-refined accent and delivery, The Guardian's TV columnist Gareth McLean has described the "gloriously imperious" Mary Marquis as "the only newsreader I've ever seen with a beauty spot that wouldn't have looked out of place on Marie Antoinette". Scotland".

Personal life[edit]Edit

In 1962 she married Jack Anderson, a Glasgow (subsequently also Canada and London)-based architect and lecturer, and a son David was born two years later. Although expecting to be dismissed, she continued to appear on screen almost until the birth (including one interview conducted on a roof), and was back in the studio afterwards within six weeks

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