Forecasters pay tribute to ex-BBC weatherman Ian McCaskill

Popular former BBC weather forecaster Ian McCaskill has been remembered for kindness, sharp wit and exuberance following his death at the age of 78.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 7:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:51 pm
Ian McCaskill shelters from the rain at the launch of the Water Month 2000 in the West India Docks, London.

McCaskill, famed for his enthusiastic presenting style, died on Saturday after living with dementia for the past five years.

BBC chiefs described him as one of the corporation's most popular weather presenters and said he had "served the British public with distinction" for two decades.

Current weather presenters were among those paying tribute to the household name as news of his death emerged.

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Ian McCaskill shelters from the rain at the launch of the Water Month 2000 in the West India Docks, London.

BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who worked with McCaskill when she was a rookie presenter, described him as a "larger than life" character who was "always full of life".

"He was a lovely man. He was a kind, very gentle man. He was a funny man as well and exuberant, enthusiastic in his delivery and passion and love for the weather," she told the BBC News channel.

"He was very funny, but as well as that he really, truly was a master of his craft.

"He knew exactly what he was talking about, he knew certainly what he was doing and he was such a lovely kind man."

Ian McCaskill shelters from the rain at the launch of the Water Month 2000 in the West India Docks, London.

Weatherman Liam Dutton paid tribute to McCaskill on Twitter.

He wrote: "Sad news about Ian McCaskill - a BBC weatherman I grew up watching. He was a lovely guy with a good sense of humour."

Weather presenter Paul Hudson, who co-wrote a book with McCaskill, said: "Really sorry to hear Ian McCaskill has passed away.

"We had great fun writing our book Frozen In Time, a warm, funny, generous & kind man."

STV weatherman Sean Batty said: "So sad to hear about the death of Ian McCaskill. Loved his style of presenting & he was my weather idol in the 80s & 90s."

McCaskill became a meteorologist in the RAF and later moved to the Met Office.

He began working at the BBC at a time when it was not common for presenters to have regional accents, but went on to become popular with TV audiences.

He was once voted Britain's sexiest weather presenter and even had his own Spitting Image puppet, which he said in an interview was "the greatest compliment".

He presented the weather on the BBC from 1978 to 1998.

McCaskill once said he had some bad moments presenting the weather.

In an interview with The Scotsman in 2006, he said: "On one occasion I was asked - or told, really - by one of our senior forecasters to forecast four inches of snow for the south-east of England.

"So I promised every child in the south-east they would wake up to snow. And of course, there wasn't a flake."

Following his retirement, the Glasgow-born star went on to appear on several television shows, including Celebrity Fit Club in 2002.

His daughter Kirsty confirmed his death in a statement to the BBC.

The statement said: "Ian McCaskill's family is sad to announce that Ian, 78, died on Saturday 10 December 2016 after living with dementia for the past five years.

"Ian was a truly lovely man who loved his family unconditionally and brought lots of sunshine to people's lives with his friendly smile, kindness and sharp wit.

"He is survived by his wife Pat, whom he adored, two daughters, Vicky and Kirsty, two step-sons, Tim and Matthew, and nine grandchildren. He will be deeply missed."

Liz Howell, head of BBC Weather, said: "Ian McCaskill was one of the most popular BBC weather presenters.

"He served the British public and the corporation with distinction for 20 years. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family at this time."

A Met Office spokesman said: "He was a popular former broadcaster and meteorologist and worked at the Met Office for many years. He was a much-loved colleague and will be sadly missed by many."