Journalist, television presenter, Labour Party peer, and patron of Humanists UK
Joan Bakewell was born in Stockport in 1933. She attended Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, where she studied Economics, then History.
Beginning her career in the 1960s, Bakewell has a history of programme-making for the BBC, including a number of eye-opening documentaries that challenged, informed, and stimulated the British public, including on subjects like sex, race relations, religion, and the death penalty. She currently presents Portrait Artist of the Year for Sky Television.
She’s written for The Independent, The Times, and The Guardian predominantly on issues relating to society, culture, and politics.
In 2008, she was appointed a voice for older people by the UK Government, an issue she’s passionately led on since being awarded a life peerage in 2010, joining the Labour Party benches.
In 2017, Bakewell was elected co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, the cross-party group which represents humanists in Parliament. Later that year, she was named Humanist UK’s Humanist of the Year in recognition of her achievements in broadcasting and services to humanism.
She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1999 Birthday Honours and promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.
She appeared on the Humanists UK podcast What I Believe in 2020.