Paul Vaughan

Paul William Vaughan FRSA (24 October 1925 – 14 November 2014)[1] was a British journalist, radio presenter (of art and science programmes) throughout the 1970s and 1980s, semi-professional jazz and classical musician and a narrator of many BBC Television science documentaries, among them Horizon.[1]

Early life

He was born in Brixton, South London, but after ten years moved to New Malden in Surrey.[1] His father worked at the Linoleum (& Floorcloth) Manufacturers' Association (LMA), which became the British Floorcovering Manufacturers' Association.[1] He was the younger brother of dance archivist and historian David Vaughan.

He attended Raynes Park County School (a boys' grammar school, which became Raynes Park High School in 1969), which he attended with other well-known voices on Radio 4, who also followed him to Oxford.[1] He studied French and English at Wadham College, Oxford.[2] He did military service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – REME.[2]

Early career

He began work for the pharmaceutical company Menley and James, now part of GlaxoSmithKline, in Camberwell.[1]

From 1955 to 1965 he was the Chief Press Officer of the British Medical Association (BMA) at Tavistock Square.[2]

Broadcasting career

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and even much of the 1990s, Vaughan was the main voice of BBC TV's arts and science programmes. As well as working on television, he was also heard on similar radio programmes.[1][2]


From 1968 until 1995 Vaughan was the main narrator of the BBC's heavyweight science documentary series Horizon. Science and technology were rapidly developing in that period, notably in biology and electronics, and consequently there was much to report for the Horizon series. The 1970s and 1980s were the show's heyday.

On the BBC World Service Vaughan presented Science in Action, and Discovery, and on Radio 4 New Worlds (1969–1973).[1]


Vaughan presented the Radio 4 magazine arts programme Kaleidoscope from its beginning in 1973 through to its closure in April 1998.[1] Kaleidoscope initially had science also in its remit, and later in October 1995 Vaughan's input into the programme was limited to reviewing books and music, to introduce some structure to the programme's topics.

On Radio 3 he presented Record Review from 1981, taking over from John Lade, who had presented it from its beginning in 1957.[3]

He also presented a programme similar to Kaleidoscope called World of Concorde for British Airways in-flight entertainment

Other work

Vaughan narrated the 1984 television drama Threads.[4]

When the phone network Orange was launched in Britain, for many years his voice, using the tagline "The future's bright, the future's Orange", was used exclusively for the television adverts.[1] He was also one of the most widely heard voices for Tesco's "Every Little Helps" promotion and for Colgate toothpaste commercials.[5]

He provided narration for the British-English edition of the Japanese Nintendo Wii video game Kirby's Epic Yarn.[6]

Musical career

Paul Vaughan was a self-taught Clarinetist in both jazz and classical music and played in the Worcester Park and Wimbledon Philharmonic orchestras.[1]

Personal life

He married in north-east Surrey in 1951 to Barbara Prys-Jones, daughter of Welsh poet Arthur Prys-Jones; Vaughan and Prys-Jones had four children, sons Timothy and Matthew, and daughters Katherine and Lucy. After his divorce from Prys-Jones, Vaughan married BBC producer Philippa (Pippa) Burston in 1988, with whom he had two sons Benedict and Thomas.


  • Exciting Times in the Accounts Department, 1995, Sinclair-Stevenson Ltd, 256 pages, ISBN 1856195279
  • Something in Linoleum: A Thirties Education, 14 February 1994, 224 pages, ISBN 1856194442[7]
  • The Pill on Trial 1972, Penguin Books, 272 pages, ISBN 0140214410
  • Family Planning: The Family Planning Associations Guide to Birth Control 1969, Queen Anne Publishers, 96 pages, ISBN 0362000441
  • 'Work to be Done: Careers in Mental Health 1966 London: National Association for Mental Health.
  • Doctors' Commons: a short history of the British Medical Association, (Hardback – 1959, Heinemann), (Paperback – 18 August 2011, Faber and Faber), 254 pages, ISBN 0571281613


  1. "Paul Vaughan – obituary". Telegraph Obituaries. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  2. "Paul Vaughan obituary". Guardian Obituaries. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  3. "Been and Gone: An eccentric duchess and a clown fanatic". 6 December 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2015.>
  4. "Threads". BBFC. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  5. "Obituary: Paul Vaughan, Radio 3 and 4 broadcaster". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 February 2015.>
  6. "Britains No Country For Old Men". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. "Voice of sanity from the suburbs: 'Something in Linoleum'". 13 February 1994. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
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