He was one of the founding stars of ATV in 1955, becoming one of ITV’s best known faces over a six decade presenting career. Shaw Taylor, who was still appearing on television in 2014, has died aged 90.
Born to a working class family in the east end of London in 1924 Shaw joined RADA following a stint with the RAF. Work followed as an actor and radio presenter, but it was television presenting that made him a popular personality across the UK. Joining Associated Television from its inception, Shaw hosted a number of regional and networked programmes for ITV, ranging from documentary to game show. In the early days of Independent Television he was also often seen between the programmes on ATV as a continuity announcer.
Shaw Taylor presents game show ‘Password’ for ATV. With guests Dawn Addams and Roger Moore.
Working for both ATV London and ATV Midlands, Taylor became a regular face in viewers homes hosting shows such as game show Password, quiz Dotto, factual series Around London, education series Pencil and paper and in 1962 his most famous creation, Police Five. The show began as a five-minute filler programme, which Shaw was asked to come up with by ATV boss Lew Grade. The series initially airing with separate versions in London and the Midlands, would eventually be taken up by several other ITV regions, all producing their own version. Shaw went on to present some of these regional variations including for the ITV Southern region for TVS. By the 1980s the success of Police Five had seen the format picked up by broadcasters in a number of other countries and a spin-off strand for ITV with CrimeStoppers.
Shaw Taylor presents an early edition of Police Five for ATV London in 1962.
Shaw, a trusted face, became a viewer favourite, and one of ATV’s best loved stars. Thanks to Police Five his catchphrase “Keep ’em Peeled”, became part of popular culture repeated in school playgrounds and workplaces across the UK. His increasing fame saw him guest spot in numerous high-rating TV series including entertainment series Sunday Night at the London Palladium, soap opera Crossroads, magazine series Lunch Box as well as hosting an edition of The Royal Variety Performance. He turned to reporter for Midlands news programme ATV Today and also kept children entertained with spots on ATV’s TISWAS and TVS’ Number 73. Crime was also shown not to pay for the younger audience when he launched the Junior Police 5 series for ITV.
Around London takes a trip to London Zoo with ATV presenters Lisa Findlayson and Shaw Taylor.
The resounding success of Police Five, with its high-success rate in the regions it aired in securing crimes being solved, lead to the BBC devising their own series with Crimewatch UK, the advantage over its ITV originator being a networked slot. 1981 saw ATV Network replaced by a new company, Central Television. Shaw along with continuity announcer Mike Prince were the final faces seen on ATV. In 1992 with ITV changing – notably the loss of TVS and Thames Television – Shaw Taylor decided to take semi retirement, and while Police Five came to a close CrimeStoppers would run for a further decade on the channel. There after he occasionally popped up on television in guest spots including being bestowed a ‘gotcha’ when Noel Edmonds and his House Party team set up Shaw in one of the shows popular celebrity pranks. Other appearances included on ITV’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2005 and DVD special From ATVLand in Colour where he shared his memories of working for Lew Grade’s television company which was released in 2011.
Shaw Taylor presents Around London for ATV.
Aged 89 he made a regular return to television screens when Channel 5 re-launched Police Five as ‘Police 5’ last year. The new Police 5 was presented by Joe Crowley, with Kate McIntyre as roving reporter, Shaw was seen in a weekly slot within the half-hour show where he reunited theft victims with their stolen goods. After stepping back from the lime light in the 1990s Shaw moved to Totland, on the Isle of Wight, where he took a keen interest in the local theatre productions as well as a supporter of local radio station IOW Radio, which he guested on numerous times. The TV presenter was awarded an MBE in 1985.
Behind the scenes at The Daily Mirror with Shaw Taylor for ATV
Eric ‘Shaw’ Taylor, born 26th October 1924 – died March 17th 2015. He is survived by his son Richard and partner Shirley Ferrari. His wife Ianette predeceased him.
1983: Presenting Police Five for Central Television.