Dame Joan Bakewell has had a long career in the media, focusing on the arts and on attitudes towards sexuality and censorship – subjects that have sometimes cast her as a controversialist.
Bakewell started work in radio before moving to television presenting and newspaper journalism. At the time of the 1981 prize, she was best known as an arts journalist but some of her most notable work has come later. A long stint as presenter of Heart of the Matter, an ethical debate television programme, prepared her for writing and presenting Taboo, a BBC series in which she used startlingly frank language and explicit imagery. The resulting furore led to her being referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. In 2009, she published her first novel, All the Nice Girls.