During her career, she initially worked as a researcher, news reporter and later news reader for Granada Television, the BBC, became the first female newsreader on ITN, and helped launch the first British Breakfast television programme TV-am. She retired from broadcast news presenting in April 2006, and is now a non-executive director for Sainsbury's.
Ford received a BA Hons degree in Social Anthropology from the Victoria University of Manchester and was president of the students' union in 1966, and was apparently nicknamed "Red Anna" at this time. She also received a Postgraduate Diploma in adult education whilst at Manchester.
In 1978 she moved to ITN, becoming the network's first female newsreader. Fellow newsreader Reginald Bosanquet was inspired to write poetry for her: I prayed, I vowed, that I'd be good; and many people thought I would; but then I got my just reward; 18 nights with Anna Ford.
Ford left ITN to launch TV-am in 1981, with its original high-brow "mission to explain". But with fierce competition from the BBC's casually styled Breakfast Time, TV-am was re-launched in a perceived "dumbing-down" of the station, and only 3 months after the station's launch, Ford was dismissed from the presenting team. Ford was involved in a notable party incident, in which she threw her wine over Jonathan Aitken to express her outrage over his involvement in her sacking from the channel.
She rejoined the BBC in 1986, becoming part of the presentation team for both BBC One's Six O'Clock News and the BBC Radio 4 Today programme in 1989. From 1999 she fronted the re-launched lunchtime One O'Clock News. In February 2003, Ford experienced one of her more challenging broadcasts when she lost her voice live on-air. She had to resort to drinking water on air, and the decision in the end had to be taken to replace Ford with the available Sophie Raworth.
On 30 October 2005, Ford announced her plans to retire from broadcasting in April 2006 in order to pursue other interests while she still has the interest and energy.She also talked tough on ageism, stating: On 27 April 2006, she said farewell to the viewers and signed off by introducing a compilation of clips of her career. On 2 May 2006, J Sainsbury plc, the UK supermarket group, announced Ford was joining the company as a non-executive director.
She turned down the chance of a part in the film Chariots of Fire but appeared in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins. She also appeared on the BBC's Stars Sing the Beatles, with her version of "Here, There and Everywhere". In December 2005 she was a guest presenter of Have I Got News For You - even though team captain Ian Hislop's publication, Private Eye, had mockingly appraised her as a 'talented autocue reader' on her retirement.
She has stated that her biggest regret is having turned down repeated invitations to appear on the Morecambe and Wise Show. Having been asked to appear in a song and dance routine on the 1978 Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show, instead, the comedians performed the routine with a look-a-like, whose face was never seen on camera.
She was then briefly engaged in 2000 to former astronaut David Scott, with whom she was photographed. Ford briefly became the subject of, rather than the reader of, news stories in August 2001, when she lost a high profile court case. She claimed unsuccessfully that photographs of her in a bikini with David Scott, by a press photographer in Majorca, with a powerful zoom lens and published in the British media constituted an invasion of her privacy.
The Real Beauty of Anna Ford Is That She's a Female Firebrand She Remains an Object of Female Fantasy Because She Says What Many Women Never Have the Nerve to Do
Jul 22, 1998; SOME PEOPLE would obviously prefer it if Anna Ford really were what she always accused of being: just a pretty face. They would...