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Brian Bass

Posted: August 14th, 2019

“One of the great Mirrormen”

BRIAN BASS, former sub-editor, associate night editor, production editor and features editor on the Daily Mirror, died on August 13 [2019], aged 86. He had been suffering from pneumonia.

Brian’s funeral is at 12.30pm on Monday, September 2 at Salomons Estate, Broomhill Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0TG. All are welcome, but please contact Caro in advance as she will need numbers so as to cater for the celebrations of Brian’s life – also at Salomans, directly after the ceremony. You can use the Contact Us page in the dropdown menu or:

No flowers, thank you, but donations in Brian’s memory to The Journalists’ Charity are welcomed:
or to: Journalists’ Charity, Dickens House, 35 Wathen Road, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1JY

Brian spent his entire working life in journalism. He joined the Peterborough Advertiser on leaving school, and moved to the Boston Guardian and Ilkeston Pioneer before joining the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham. Three years in Manchester on the Express and Mail preceded his move to the Daily Mail in London.

For 28 years until his retirement in 1993 he was a Mirror man, where he was inevitably and endearingly known as Basso.

He enjoyed a successful parallel freelance career designing and editing dozens of corporate newspapers and magazines, including the Journalists’ Charity newsletter.

He helped launch Moscow News for Maxwell with a group of mostly like-minded journos, and Brian and his second wife Caro were closely involved with the launch of the Bahrain Tribune in the early 90s.

For ten years or so from 2002 he was managing editor of British Journalism Review, and served on the journal’s management board.

Latterly, he offered invaluable assistance and advice to Caro, who edits the AMP’s newsletters.

From former Mirror man John Garton, in Florida: “Sadly, the nearest person I had to a brother, Brian Bass, always known as Basso, has died in hospital near his and his wife’s home in Sevenoaks in Kent, England. A beautiful, sweet man whom we all called Peter Pan – he never aged. He and I met on the Daily Mail in Manchester, England, in 1961. He had played his favourite racketball just three weeks before he went into hospital. A great guy, friend and true newspaperman. He’ll be missed by his lovely Caro, family and many friends, including, of course, my wife and me. Loving memories.”

Former Daily Mirror reporter Alastair McQueen sent this tribute: “Basso was a one-off, a man who lit the newsroom and it wasn’t just with his superb bow ties! He was a multi-talented, heavy-duty can-do pro as well as a very good squash player and quaffer of vino collapso tinto.

“On top of all that he was a thoroughly decent, compassionate and loyal human being – a man among men – who is fully deserving of all the praise being heaped posthumously upon him and his memory. Your loss is our loss. Your pain is our pain. But… Basso will have had the buggers rocking in The Big Newsroom In The Sky where he undoubtedly has made his mark since his arrival.

“Chin up, girl. If he finds out you’ve been moping he’ll kick your arse. Remember the good times.”

Former Mirror sub Pat Welland said: “I was truly shocked to learn of Brian’s death. Irrationally, I had always seen him as indestructible. What a terrible loss. Brian was one of the great Mirrormen.

“Like so many others, I remember not only a production journalist of immense and varied talents but a genuinely warm-hearted man who was irrepressibly good-natured. Ever helpful, approachable and cheerful, he exuded boundless energy, never losing his cool whatever the crisis… and rarely losing his smile.

“He was invaluable to the paper in whatever role he took. It is hard to believe he is gone.”

Mirror staffer Robin Porter remembered Bass as one of the “happiest, liveliest and most decisive” people in the features department at the Mirror’s former headquarters in Holborn, central London.

He said: “Always immaculately turned out, with an alarming selection of lurid bow ties, Basso loved the Mirror, loved the work and loved to encourage staff in one of the loudest and most unmistakable voices ever heard on the editorial floor.”

Former Mirror editor-in-chief Mike Molloy said: “Brian was a fine man and a gifted journalist, but perhaps his greatest gift was his positive and cheerful attitude to life.

“When the door opened one was always glad to see the great Basso. Many, many people will miss him.”

Roy Greenslade said Bass was “so very good” to him during his time in the Mirror editor’s chair, with a “wonderful, winning, can-do attitude”. “The world is a worse place without Brian,” Greenslade said. “He was the most positive, most optimistic, most happy of people. His smile seemed to be permanent. I never worked with anyone who was more helpful than him.”

British Journalism Review chairman and former Mirror man Bill Hagerty said: “Brian was a consummate journalist – editing, sub-editing, page design, headlines, captions – he could do them all and do them superbly.

“More importantly he was a pleasure to work with, a permanently cheerful companion very much valued by all who worked with or for him. I shall miss him dreadfully.”

Ex-Mirror staffer Pauline McLeod added: “Brian was the loveliest features editor I ever worked for – always a glass-half-full kind of a guy, even when said glass was empty. Kind, funny, thoughtful and the best company, I always thought of him as a chum as well as being my boss. I’m going to miss him enormously.”

FRANK BALDWIN said in a tribute: “When I went back to be a director of the Kent & Sussex Courier and as editor of the Sevenoaks Chronicle at the end of the 90s, I was lucky enough to work with Brian who had, by that time, retired from the Mirror. He lived locally and used to come in to help sub and design pages when we needed holiday cover.

“He was always so calm, helpful and always had time for the youngsters coming through the ranks.

“An absolute pleasure to have known and worked with Brian.”

Funeral details to follow. Pic: Russell Bass.


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