Moira Stuart was born in London as the second daughter of her Dominican mother and Barbadian father. Stuart’s father was a lawyer. Her mother was a nurse who, with her three sisters, had been schooled at Sargasse Convent School in Hampshire since their arrival in England in 1935. Stuart was born in 1949 and the family lived in both Edinburgh and London.
Moira Stuart was the first Black woman newsreader in Britain. Stuart began her career in broadcasting in the 1970s when she was a radio newsreader and continuity announcer for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2. Moving to the media of television in 1981 Stuart has been a presenter on several news programmes. She was a familiar part of the Six O’clock News, the Nine O’clock News, News Afternoon, the 5.40 News and presented every BBC news bulletin apart from the 10 O’clock news.
Stuart has won several awards including Best Newscaster of the Year in 1988 (voted by the TV and Radio Industries Club Awards), Best TV Personality of the Year in 1989 (Women of Achievement Awards), Best Female TV Personality in 1994 (Black Journalists’ Association), and Best Media Personality in 1997 (Voice Newspaper).
When the BBC Breakfast team launched its show in 2000 Stuart was an important part of the presenting team. She presented the news bulletins from Monday to Wednesdays as well as being the main newsreader on Sunday mornings in the Breakfast with Frost programme.
After over 20 years with the BBC as a newsreader Moira Stuart was sidelined in 2007 because of a policy that was deemed ‘ageist and sexist’. This led to nationwide campaigns for her to be reinstated to her regular position. The national uproar at the loss of her regular presence continued for a long time with fellow stalwart broadcasters and the general public campaigning with petitions and articles continuing the call for her reinstatement.
Ever professional, Stuart refused to be drawn into the discussion about the loss of her position at the helm of BBC news reading.
As a consummate presenter Moira Stuart has also been at the front of other TV and radio programmes like the Holiday Programme, The Best of Jazz, the Quincy Jones Story and Open Forum. Stuart has also presented documentaries such as ‘In Search of Wilberforce’ a BBC programme aired in 2007 about the British anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.
Moira Stuart returned to the BBC as newsreader on the Chris Evans Radio 2 show in January 2010.
Moira Stuart has several interests outside of presenting the news and she has fulfilled roles on many judging panels and served on diverse boards including the Human Genetics Advisory Commission, Amnesty International, United Nations Association, the London Fair Play Consortium, the Orange Prize for Literature, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the Grierson Trust and The Royal Television Society.
In 2001 Moira Stuart was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She was also awarded an honorary degree from Edinburgh University in 2006. Also in 2006, Stuart was made a fellow of the International Visual Communications Association (IVCA).