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Carol Barnes
Born Carol Lesley Barnes
13 September 1944(1944-09-13)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Died 8 March 2008 (aged 63)
Brighton, East Sussex, England
Occupation Journalist, newsreader, television presenter
Spouse(s) Nigel Thomson (1981–99) (divorced)
Domestic partner Denis MacShane (1998–2004)

Carol Lesley Barnes (13 September 1944 – 8 March 2008) was a British television newsreader and broadcaster. She worked for ITN from 1975 to 2004.


Early life

Barnes was born in Norwich, and attended St Martin-In-The-Fields High School for Girls, Tulse Hill, London. She did not like school, and left at the age of 16, doing a number of jobs for a year, before leaving to study for A levels at a local polytechnic. She then gained a BA in English, French, and Spanish at the University of Sheffield,[1][2] followed by a postgraduate teaching diploma (PGCE) at Birmingham University.


Carol Barnes started her working life as a supply teacher, but decided to switch to a career in media, and held various posts including public relations officer for the Royal Court Theatre in London and sub-editor on the magazine Time Out, before moving into broadcasting, working for Independent Radio News. She was one of the original news team members at the launch of radio station LBC in 1973, and then worked as a reporter for BBC Radio 4 for a year, before joining ITN in 1975.[3] During her time as an ITN reporter, she covered the troubles in Northern Ireland, the return of the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, and the Brixton riots in 1981. She made her name as a reporter with ITN on Robert Kee's First Report programme in the late 1970s, but her first stint as a newscaster came in 1983 when she began alternating with Michael Nicholson as presenter on the News at 5:45. She was a regular presenter on the ITN Lunchtime News and ITN's weekend news bulletins from July 1985 until March 1989, and again between January 1991 and 1998. During the intervening period, she was the launch presenter of the 'Channel 4 Daily' breakfast programme. She regularly fronted the ITN flagship News At Ten programme, as well as other current affairs programmes, and in 1994 was voted Newscaster of the Year at the TV and Radio Industries Club Awards. Barnes left ITN in 1999, and then returned in 2003 to work on their short-lived 24-hour ITV News Channel, until she left in 2004.[4]

Personal life

Barnes had two children; Clare Barnes, from her 6-year relationship with former Labour Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, who was born in 1979 and died in March 2004 in a skydiving accident near Melbourne, Australia,[5] and James Barnes, who was born a year after she married ITN cameraman Nigel Thomson in 1981. She remained married to Thomson until 1999, when they divorced after 18 years of marriage.[4] A keen golfer and one-time qualified private pilot, Barnes resided in Brighton, and was a local magistrate, until forced to stand down after being convicted of a drink-driving offence in 2004, shortly after her daughter's death.[6]

Later life and death

On 18 January 2008, Barnes presented Saving Ed Mitchell on ITV1, a programme about her former colleague's descent into alcoholism.

On 4 March 2008, The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that she had suffered a life-threatening stroke that had left her in a coma. Her doctors did not expect her to recover, and several of her closest friends also voiced these fears.[7][8][9] Barnes never regained consciousness and died, aged 63, on 8 March 2008 in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. Her son James gave doctors permission to switch off her life support system after they had warned him that there was no reasonable hope that she would recover.

While Barnes was dying in hospital, her London flat was burgled.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Carol Barnes". BBC. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  2. ^ Sheffield University Alumni page
  3. ^ The TV Room TV presenters. Retrieved on 22 July 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Carol Barnes splits from her husband after 17 years", Sunday Mirror, 10 January 1999, as reproduced on the Find Articles website. Retrieved on 21 July 2007.
  5. ^ PA News "UK minister's daughter killed in sky-dive tragedy" The Independent, 15 March 2004. Retrieved on 21 July 2007.
  6. ^ Ex-newsreader Barnes dies at 63 BBC, 8 March 2008. Retrieved on 8 March 2008.
  7. ^ TV Carol Fighting for Her Life TV Newsroom' ', 3 March 2008. Retrieved on 3 March 2008.
  8. ^ Newsreader Carol Barnes Suffers A Stroke Sky News, 4 March 2008. Retrieved on 4 March 2008.
  9. ^ Carol 'serious' after stroke MSN Entertainment, 5 March 2008. Retrieved on 5 March 2008.
  10. ^ Ex-newsreader Barnes dies at 63
  11. ^ The truth about mum and me: Carol Barnes' son James talks about the newscaster's last days

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