Sue Barker, noted broadcaster and the face of BBC on the Wimbledon coverage, has stunned her fans by announcing that she was ending her 30 years of relationship with the BBC after this year’s Wimbledon Grand Slam. Her decision to call it a day came amidst reports that the BBC had offered her a three-year extension, which she has decided to politely turn down.
Announcing her decision, Barker told Daily Mail, “Basically I just feel the time is right. It has been my dream job and I have loved every minute of it working so many great colleagues who I am going to miss so much.”
She added, “When I started I never thought I would manage 30 years. I had actually made up my mind to leave in 2017 because the hours were becoming very long and quite challenging. That would have been 25 years and seemed a good time, but I am so glad I made the decision to stay on.”
Even after her retirement, Barker plans to return to SW19 every year but she will watch the game as a spectator and a high-profile broadcaster.
Who Is Sue Barker?
Sue Barker has been a prominent face of the BBC for its annual coverage of the high-profile Wimbledon Grand Slam. She is credited with kickstarting a craze among women to become TV broadcasters.
Not many people know that Barker was a globally renowned female tennis player before she caused a revolution of sorts in TV broadcasting. She was a top tennis player, who reached world number three and won the French Open Grand Slam in 1976. She reached the semi-final of Wimbledon in 1977 but lost to Holland’s Betty Stove.
Barker, who hails from Devon in England, started her BBC journey in 1993 when she shared the screen space with Harry Carpenter and Des Lynam. Soon she was promoted to become the BBC’s main face for the Wimbledon coverage.
She was honoured with the CBE for services to sport, broadcasting and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last year.
Why Is Sue Barker Ending Relationship With BBC?
Barker said that the time was right for her quit the job. “I’m very happy to be leaving with no regrets and on my own terms, while I am still on top of the job, it just feels like the right time to go and leave it to others,” Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
However, Barker revealed that it was her mother’s death that played a key role in her deciding the future with the BBC. “My mum was always so interested in my career and we would speak every evening. When something like that happens it does make you reassess life, which is another reason I think this is the right time,” she said.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie said that Barker’s efforts in ‘blazing a trail for women in broadcasting cannot be overstated.’ Davie said in a statement, “Sue Barker has been the face and voice of Wimbledon for three decades. Many of our viewers will not know of a summer in SW19 without her. She is a consummate professional, an outstanding presenter and a wonderful colleague, loved by current and former players, all of us at the BBC and audiences across the UK and beyond.”
Husband, Net Worth
Barker is married to Lance Tankard, who is an English landscaper. They got married in 1988. They have no children.
Sue Barker has been earning an annual salary in excess of £200,000.