Watchdog host Lynn Faulds Wood died from ‘massive stroke’ moments after clapping NHS workers


Watchdog host Lynn Faulds Wood died from a ‘massive stroke’ moments after clapping NHS workers, it has been revealed – as her devastated husband today pays tribute to his ‘loving and hugely supportive wife’.

The star, who lived in St Margarets, south west London, passed away at midday on Friday with her husband John Stapleton and son, Nick, by her bedside. 

Last night her representative said: ‘She was outside clapping for the NHS and then went in and had a stroke and was taken to hospital.

‘John and their son Nick were called in the middle of the night to say she had then had a bleed on the brain and she died at midday with them at her bedside.’

Lynn pictured with her husband Stapleton during a book launch in June 2011. Her family said she passed away after suffering a ‘massive stroke’ and subsequent bleed on the brain

John Stapleton today paid tribute to his 'loving and hugely supportive wife'. He thanked those that had shared their best wishes

John Stapleton today paid tribute to his ‘loving and hugely supportive wife’. He thanked those that had shared their best wishes

The presenter, 72, was best known for fronting the BBC consumer show Watchdog alongside Stapleton from 1985 to 1993. 

Her husband today said: ‘Huge thank you to the hundreds and hundreds of people who have paid tribute to Lynn. 

‘A wonderful mother to Nick, a loving and hugely supportive wife to me and a campaigning journalist on so many fronts who really made a difference to the world we live in. We’ll miss her always.’

In 1991, at the age of 40, she found out she had stage three bowel cancer while working on the show. She eventually recovered and went on to call for better awareness of the illness.  

Faulds Wood was also notable for rejecting an MBE in 2016 saying the honours system needs to be dragged ‘into the 21st Century’.

The consumer champion, who was born in Glasgow and grew up near Loch Lomondside, began her career working for newspapers including the Daily Mail and The Sun. 

Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital applaud to show their appreciation for National Health Service on Thursday. Faulds Wood suffered a stroke after the clap for carers

Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital applaud to show their appreciation for National Health Service on Thursday. Faulds Wood suffered a stroke after the clap for carers

Afterwards she moved into breakfast television, and after her stint at Watchdog presented programmes about cancer including Doctor Knows Best and Bobby Moore & Me.

She also presented the investigative programme World In Action during the 1990s, before going on to become a consumer champion on GMTV between 2003 and 2009.

In 2006 she worked with Dame Esther Rantzen to present BBC consumer rights programme Old Dogs, New Tricks.

Fellow broadcasters and journalists paid tribute to their former colleague yesterday saying she was ‘impressive and courageous in her campaigning’. 

Dame Esther said she had ‘known Lynn for many years’, adding: ‘We made a series together which was huge fun but also very hard-hitting because she was such an impressive and courageous consumer journalist.

‘She fought for the rights of vulnerable people doggedly and determinedly and she is a huge loss to journalism and to her friends and family.

‘We are all devastated at this news.’ 

Lynn with her husband John Stapleton and their son Nicholas. The former TV host presented Watchdog alongside her husband from 1985 to 1993

Lynn with her husband John Stapleton and their son Nicholas. The former TV host presented Watchdog alongside her husband from 1985 to 1993

Fellow journalists and broadcasters have paid tribute to Faulds Wood, who was born in Glasgow and grew up near Loch Lomondside

Fellow journalists and broadcasters have paid tribute to Faulds Wood, who was born in Glasgow and grew up near Loch Lomondside

George Alagiah, who is undergoing treatment for bowel cancer and recently recovered from coronavirus, also paid tribute.

He said: ‘So sad to hear that Lynn Faulds Wood has died. After I was diagnosed with bowel cancer she spent many a phone call giving me advice about treatment and moral support. She was kind, generous, purposeful and strong. RIP Lynn.’

Watchdog: 40 years of fighting consumers’ corner

The consumer first aired in 1985, was hosted by 23 presenters and began as a feature on Nationwide before becoming a standalone series. 

It went on to air more than 1,000 episodes across 41 series. 

The series investigated complaints made by viewers over issues with Britain’s retailers, traders and other businesses. 

The team looked at the quality, safety and value of products and carried out interviews with consumers about their experience with a specific company.

Hugh Scully, also known as the longest-serving presenter of Antiques Roadshow, was the show’s first host. 

Other presenters include Martin Lewis, Julia Bradbury, Alice Beer, Anita Rani, Sophie Raworth and Helen Fospero, alongside many more. 

The BBC revealed plans to restructure Watchdog’s structure in 2009, lengthening episodes from 30 minutes to one hour.   

But it was slimmed down to a segment on the One Show in February this year.

The shortened version is now presented by Matt Allwright and Nikki Fox.

Krishnan Guru-Murphy added: ‘Very sorry to hear of the death of Lynn Faulds Wood.

A superb campaigning journalist, brilliant presenter and communicator – and a lovely person too.’

While Good Morning Britain star Ben Shepherd said: ‘Am devastated to hear that Lynn Faulds Wood has sadly died. 

‘She was a wonderfully generous, incisive, energetic broadcaster, journalist and campaigner. More than that though she was great fun and a truly lovely person. Sending love to and family.’

And former BBC Watchdog colleague Helen O’Rahilly said: ‘ So sorry to hear of the death of Lynn Faulds Wood.

‘Worked with her on BBC ‘WAtchdog’ in the early 1990s. A kind, warm-hearted woman, a completely professional broadcaster and a passionate campaigner. RIP Lynn. Sincere condolences to John.’

BBC 5 Live presenter and former Watchdog host Nicky Campbell also paid tribute to Faulds Wood.

He said: ‘I’m so sad to hear about the death of the brilliant campaigning journalist and fearless consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood.

‘She was the real thing. She cared genuinely and passionately about people and their rights.

‘When I joined Watchdog hers was the legacy we all aspired to.’ 

TV series Watchdog, which was renowned for holding businesses to account, first began as a strand of current affairs show Nationwide in the 1980s.

The show has since gone on to complete more than 1,000 episodes across 41 series, which were hosted by 23 different presenters. 

The series investigates complaints made by viewers over issues with Britain’s retailers, traders and other businesses. 

Tributes have poured in for the former Watchdog presenter who tragically passed away following a stroke last night (above and below)

Tributes have poured in for the former Watchdog presenter who tragically passed away following a stroke last night (above and below)

The team looked at the quality, safety and value of products and carried out interviews with consumers about their experience with a specific company.

Hugh Scully, also known as the longest-serving presenter of Antiques Roadshow, was the show’s first host. 

Other presenters include Martin Lewis, Julia Bradbury, Alice Beer, Anita Rani, Sophie Raworth and Helen Fospero, alongside many more. 

Lynn  pictured on the set of the TV show 'Watchdog' in 1985. She survived bowel cancer while working for the programme and went on to call for better awareness of the illness

Lynn  pictured on the set of the TV show ‘Watchdog’ in 1985. She survived bowel cancer while working for the programme and went on to call for better awareness of the illness

The BBC revealed plans to restructure Watchdog’s structure in 2009, lengthening episodes from 30 minutes to one hour.   

In February, it was axed by the BBC as a stand-alone show after 40 years and continued as a segment on The One Show.

Lynn once revealed she asked BBC bosses not to axe it, back in 1986.

She said: ‘I persuaded BBC1 controller Michael Grade to keep it. Perhaps somebody will persuade the BBC now.’ 

Other tributes for Faulds Wood include from journalist Sophie Raworth who said: ‘I have known Lynn since I was 14. She inspired me to become a journalist. She has lived next door to my parents for decades. 

‘She has been the most wonderful, generous, kind friend to me and my family for such a long time. Can’t believe she has gone.’

BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker said: ‘Oh no. Lynn Faulds Wood has died. Loved watching her on TV. Met her twice and she was lovely on both occasions. Much love to her family.’

While broadcaster James O’Brien said: ‘Lynn Faulds Wood really was one of the kindest, cleverest & most thoughtful people. She was also the most gracious & generous hostess, as Lucy & I discovered as star struck young journalists. Love & condolences to @JohnStapletonTV & Nick.’

Lynn pictured meeting and speaking with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, during a reception for Women in Journalism at The Ned Women in London back in February 2018

Lynn pictured meeting and speaking with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, during a reception for Women in Journalism at The Ned Women in London back in February 2018

Lynn and Dame Esther Rantzen presenting the BBC consumer advice show Old Dogs, New Tricks. Dame Rantzen paid tribute to her colleague, saying: 'We are all devastated by this new

Lynn and Dame Esther Rantzen presenting the BBC consumer advice show Old Dogs, New Tricks. Dame Rantzen paid tribute to her colleague, saying: ‘We are all devastated by this new

From growing up in a quaint Scottish village to becoming a consumer champion, how presenter and campaigning journalist Lynn Faulds Wood rose to fame

Born in Glasgow and brought up in a quaint Scottish village near Loch Lomond, Lynn Faulds Wood started out in her early career in magazines and newspapers.

Her first job in the media was at English weekly magazine Woman before she later moved in to a role at the Daily Mail from 1979 to 1980. 

Afterwards she took up a role at The Sun where 100,000 readers joined her campaign to close the live animal market Club Row.

Thousands of readers marched on Downing Street following her work and the market was eventually closed. 

John Stapleton, one of the presenters of the BBC's "Nationwide" programme with his bride, 29 year old journalist Lynn Faulds Wood, after their wedding at Richmond Register Office

John Stapleton, one of the presenters of the BBC’s ‘Nationwide’ programme with his bride, 29 year old journalist Lynn Faulds Wood, after their wedding at Richmond Register Office

Presenters John Stapleton and Lynn Faulds Wood in the gym 'The Time The Place' TV Programme in 1992

Presenters John Stapleton and Lynn Faulds Wood in the gym ‘The Time The Place’ TV Programme in 1992

Following on from her success at the two national papers she joined Breakfast television, presenting the BBC’s Breakfast Time from 1984 to 1986. 

The presenter hosted Watchdog alongside John Stapleton – to whom she was married – from 1985 to 1993.

She survived bowel cancer while working for the programme and went on to call for better awareness of the illness. 

Faulds Wood presented programmes about cancer including Doctor Knows Best and Bobby Moore & Me.

Her investigation into bowel cancer, ‘Bobby Moore & Me’, got 6.5 million viewers and 28,000 letters 

She also helped to create the world’s first evidence-based guide to symptoms of her cancer, officially adopted by the Department of Health in 2000 

As part of her campaigning, Faulds Wood co-founded the European Cancer Patient Coalition in 2002 which she chaired 2003-2010. She helped to set up MEPs Against Cancer and is credited with helping to get cancer on the official European Agenda 

Portrait of television presenters Lynn Faulds Wood and John Stapleton, photographed for Radio Times in connection with the BBC show 'Watchdog', November 1986

Portrait of television presenters Lynn Faulds Wood and John Stapleton, photographed for Radio Times in connection with the BBC show ‘Watchdog’, November 1986

Faulds Wood also presented the investigative programme World In Action during the 1990s, before going on to become a consumer champion on GMTV between 2003 and 2009.

In 2006 she worked with Dame Esther Rantzen to present BBC consumer rights programme Old Dogs, New Tricks.

In 2010, she said that she was considering entering politics by standing for the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the general election. 

Instead she remained as a health campaigner, still regularly appearing on television talking about cancer and consumer matters 

In 2016 Faulds Wood rejected an MBE, saying the honours system needs to be dragged ‘into the 21st Century’.  

 

 

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