Welsh TV pioneer Owen Edwards dies at age 76

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Owen Edwards fronted the launch of Welsh language station S4C in 1982

Owen Edwards, the former director of BBC Wales and the first chief executive of Welsh language television station S4C, died on Monday at the age of 76. Edwards had suffered from Parkinson's Disease for over twenty years.

Edwards started his career with the BBC in 1950 as a broadcaster. He worked on regional news programmes and reported on such events as the Aberfan disaster. In 1961 he began presenting Heddiw (‘Today’), the BBC's Welsh early evening news programme. He took a role behind the camera in 1966.

In 1974, Edwards was made director of BBC Wales. Under his control, both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru were launched. He left the post in 1981 to found S4C, a Welsh language television station. He stayed with the channel until his retirement in 1989. In 2008, Edwards was presented with a special achievement award for his contributions to media.

Menna Richards, the current director of BBC Wales, commented on Edwards death. She said, “He was a man who truly loved Wales, and his legacy to our nation's public life is rich and enduring.” Current S4C chair John Walter Jones said, “He managed to establish a Welsh language television service that was admired throughout the world.”

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