Obituary : Sue Baker 1947-2022

Sue Baker

Former Top Gear presenter and motoring journalist for The Observer, Sue Baker has died following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), aged 75.

A statement released by Baker’s family said: ‘It is with great sadness, that we share the news of Sue’s passing. A doting mother to Ian and Hannah, a loving grandmother to Tom and George, and a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy. She passed at home this morning with family around her.’

It added: ‘She was a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover. She had a life and career that many would envy but did it all with such grace that she was admired and respected by all who knew her. We know she meant so much to so many.’

Sue was a presenter of Top Gear joining the show’s original format in 1980 alongside Chris Goffey, Frank Page and William Woollard. She appeared in more than 100 episodes before leaving the show in 1991 to continue her career as a motoring journalist, going on to become The Observers Motoring Editor for 13 years.

Others have also paid tribute to the writer and presenter on social media, praising her for helping them navigate the industry. Co-Top Gear presenter, Chris Goffey, said: ‘So many memories – of Top Gear, the live shows we presented for various companies, and of her co-operation in projects for the production company. Lovely lady – a star!’

Ford of Europe Director of Product Communications Jay Ward added: ‘Such an awful loss but Sue led an amazing life as a great driver, writer and mentor to so many. All of us at Ford will miss her wonderful presence on launches and our love and best wishes go to her family and friends at this time.’

Keith Adams added: ‘This is really sad news. I shared a car with Sue on a couple of occasions on the launch circuit and she was great company – full of anecdotes, wisdom and a real heartfelt love for the industry she worked in. Sue was a force of nature for female journalism in a male-dominated industry, blazing a trail for those who followed her. She will be missed, that’s for sure.’

Enjoy watching Sue give the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 the full test treatment on Top Gear.

Keith Adams
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6 Comments

  1. I wasnt overly shocked to hear this recently. I was chatting to her at an SMMT event a couple of years back and she told me on the ‘QT’ she’d recently been diagnosed with the illness – which could be seen in the form of a mild limp.

    She had time for everyone, be them a novice or experienced journo / writer but took absolutely no prisoners – many a seasoned hack could be quite scared of her. She was fondly called by some as “Old Ma Baker” owing to her expereince and longevity in the industry and I was certainly a little in awe of her – having first seen her on TG on the telly when I was non but a pup.

    Chatted with her a few times at gigs and on launches, I found her funny, informed and respectful of your point of view even she did not agree (we once had a near row over car dealer sales practices that drew a small crowd on a car launch)

    She will be much missed by journo’s, hacks and P.R staff alike

    RIP Sue x

  2. My over-riding memory of Sue Baker occurred when I worked for the Lancia car importer (Lancar). Early on the final day of the 1984 Delta HF Turbo press-launch, I was outside checking the press cars from the previous day. Into this area walked Sue Baker who I recognised but didn’t know. If only it had been the Telegraph’s more gentile Courtney Edwards.

    I made small-talk about the fabulous roads and scenery but when I was running out of things to say and with foot firmly in my mouth, I said, “And how did you find the car…as a woman?”

    This was around 40 years ago and feminism was barely catching on. But by god, she let rip in my direction. “If you want to know where I hung my handbag, why didn’t you ask me?” being the first of her set-piece, put-down responses. “And no, the visor mirror isn’t nearly big enough to use for make-up,” she went on. Fortunately, Sue Baker was the apple in the eye of Lancar’s MD who rescued me by leading Ms Baker away for a Gleneagles breakfast.

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