Barry Lankester, one of the pioneers of regional broadcasting in the West Midlands, has died after a long illness. He was 76.

Mr Lankester presented the first edition of Midlands Today from a tiny studio in Broad Street on September 28, 1964, when the headlines included a football bribery trial and an item called ‘the body beautiful’.

Six years later, he was the first voice heard on the new local radio station, Radio Birmingham (now BBC WM).

Mr Lankester first joined the BBC as a studio manager in 1955 when he began doing spot sound effects for The Archers, like closing doors.

One of his early programmes was the 1957 centenary celebration of Elgar’s birth, which featured Birmingham Repertory Theatre founder Sir Barry Jackson talking about his collaboration with Elgar on the unfinished opera, The Spanish Lady.

For ten years from 1960, Mr Lankester was also the narrator who introduced The Archers telling ‘the story so far’.

Having survived the Coventry Blitz, one of his proudest achievements was introducing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at the 1962 Coventry Festival.