A SEMI-RETIRED journalist from Ellesmere who worked with Oswestry-educated Frank Bough believes he was 'one of the great talents of television'.

Mr Bough, who died last week, was a pupil at Oswestry Boys School before he went on to Oxford, and he worked with John Shone on the BBC’s nightly Nationwide programme for two years at the start of his own broadcasting career in 1973.

Mr Shone, who remains active in helping community groups get their stories out, says he has nothing but fond memories of a man who would be supportive to younger journalist on the show.

"Frank was a thoroughly nice guy and a consummate professional," he said. "I had the privilege and pleasure of with him.

"He was extremely kind and helpful to junior members of the production team like me and, having previously worked as a newspaper reporter, I learnt such lot from him.

"Frank was totally unflappable, he never showed any sign of being under pressure, even when things were going badly wrong, as they sometimes do on live TV.

"Working as a junior producer at Nationwide’s Lime Grove studios in London, there were times when I would be struggling with a complicated script as deadline approached at the old Lime Grove studios: minutes before we went on air, he'd walk across to the main production desk, lean over my steaming typewriter, and say quietly: ' leave it to me, I can busk that easily.' And he just ad-libbed.

"Once, I was producing a technically complex round-up for Nationwide on the best British hopefuls training for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, which involved live contributions from 11 regional studios across the country.

"Frank introduced the piece and it was all going well until we switched to Leeds. The presenter there clearly wasn’t ready. He was sitting with his feet on the desk, smoking a cigar and and joking with a technician.

"The programme director quickly switched back to London and, quick as a flash, Frank simply responded: 'Well he’s not going to win any medals in the Commonwealth Games, is he?'

"I was absolutely mortified, but when I went to the BBC club for a drink with Frank and other members of the team, he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to worry. He said 'that’s what they’ll all be talking about in the pubs tonight...It was a great television moment'.

"A friend told me recently that he’d since seen a clip of that ‘blooper’ on a programme recalling some of the funniest moments on TV.

Mr Shone was also able to develop more on what Mr Bough called a happy life in Oswestry, moving there with his family in 1939

He added: "Although not particularly academic, Frank was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford where he read history and won a soccer ‘blue’, playing centre half for the University football team in the annual match against against Cambridge University.

"Frank met his future wife, Nest Howells, at a dance at Park Hall camp while he was training for National Service and she was a trainee physiotherapist at the nearby orthopaedic hospital.

"In his autobiography, Frank wrote fondly of his days as a schoolboy in Oswestry, playing cricket at Knockin and football at Penylan Lane.

“He added: 'What pleasure such a place had for a growing boy...it was a natural playground. Nobody has ever devised a ‘leisure centre’ that can come anywhere near it'."