A legendary broadcaster who became the face and voice of the South has died at home in Steep, aged 89.

Martin Muncaster’s voice was familiar to millions throughout the UK and beyond through half a century in the media.

The broadcaster, actor, writer, radio and TV presenter from Mill Lane was the first BBC South Today newsreader and fronted the show from January 1961 to 1964.

The “face of a thousand shows” was previously an announcer, newsreader and reporter for Southern TV who also reported the death of Churchill during an incredible career in radio and television.

Mr Muncaster was born near Petworth and was educated at Stowe School. He trained as a signalman with the Royal Navy during national service and later became an officer on a minesweeper.

The English language was his first love with his dulcet delivery coming to the fore in a Radio Luxembourg series about famous American composers in 1956.

After an acting stint with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – he later had roles in Yes, Prime Minister, Dr Who, The Bill and French & Saunders – he was offered a fortnight’s work as a BBC TV announcer which turned into several months.

Most will remember Mr Muncaster from South at Six with the presenter describing the tenure as “one of the happiest times” of his whole career.

He was a compere on Come Dancing, read the shipping forecast and was twice a presenter on Songs of Praise, appearing in its 50th anniversary celebration broadcast in 2011.