A ‘brilliant and witty’ senior BBC director who was the voice of Robot Wars and worked on shows including Strictly Come Dancing and Top Of The Pops has died.  

Stuart McDonald, described by friends as ‘one of the greats’, passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a car crash. 

Many of the BBC stars and crew who worked with McDonald throughout his prolific career with the broadcaster took to Twitter to pay tribute to the ‘lovely human being’ and his ‘calm’ style of directing.

Broadcasting director Richard Woolfe, who also worked for the BBC, broke the news writing: ‘I’m absolutely heartbroken that my wonderful Stuey – Stuart McDonald died today in a car crash.

‘He was a great friend and an exceptional kind loyal talented telly loving director.

Stuart McDonald, described by friends as 'one of the greats', passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a car crash

Stuart McDonald, described by friends as 'one of the greats', passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a car crash

Stuart McDonald, described by friends as ‘one of the greats’, passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a car crash

‘My Stuey, sort out the Gallery in Heaven now. Your Ricky.’

Children’s TV stars Dick and Dom, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood,  tweeted: ‘A one off. You didn’t work in showbiz until you were directed by Stuart. X’

Television producer Richard Marson wrote: ‘Very sad to hear of the death of prolific TV director Stuart McDonald.

‘He was brilliant at the often taken for granted art of multi camera direction & his talkback was always enjoyably witty. I can hear him now on That’s Life! saying, “cue the Esther person!”’

Marson added: ‘One of the things I loved about him was how lightly he wore his technical knowledge and experience. If you were on his team, no one was overlooked.’

TV producer Liz Foley wrote: ‘I’m so sorry to hear this. Awful news. He was a lovely man to work with; gentle, funny, kind and creative. There are few like him. My thoughts will be of him, and with you and his loved ones today.’ 

Broadcasting director Richard Woolfe (left), who also worked for the BBC, broke the news writing: 'I'm absolutely heartbroken that my wonderful Stuey - Stuart McDonald (right) died today in a car crash'

Broadcasting director Richard Woolfe (left), who also worked for the BBC, broke the news writing: 'I'm absolutely heartbroken that my wonderful Stuey - Stuart McDonald (right) died today in a car crash'

Broadcasting director Richard Woolfe (left), who also worked for the BBC, broke the news writing: ‘I’m absolutely heartbroken that my wonderful Stuey – Stuart McDonald (right) died today in a car crash’

Presenter Justin Lee Collins wrote: ‘That’s heartbreaking news. He really was one of the good guys. An exceptionally lovely human being. I’m so sorry.’ 

Former TV floor manager Joanna MacDonnell wrote: ‘I’m devastated, I owe Stuart so much, he had faith in me. So many treasured and happy memories of studios and OBs and the jaunts up to BBC Manchester. Rest in Peace my friend.’

McDonald’s death was also announced on BBC Radio Oxford when presenter David Prever shared the news that his ‘mentor’ had passed away.

Prever told listeners: ‘I woke to some really upsetting news this morning that he man who gave me my break doing this 40 years ago – I was 12 years old – died yesterday.

‘I doubt you would have known him but I guarantee you will have seen his work over the years. His name is Stuart MacDonald. He worked for many years as Senior Director of the BBC and he was responsible for pretty much most of the light Entertainment Television while I was growing up; Parkinson, Top of the Pops, all of the audience with shows, all of the Royal Variety shows and the National Lottery for years.

Many of the BBC stars and crew who worked with McDonald (pictured) throughout his prolific career with the broadcaster took to Twitter to pay tribute to the 'lovely human being'

Many of the BBC stars and crew who worked with McDonald (pictured) throughout his prolific career with the broadcaster took to Twitter to pay tribute to the 'lovely human being'

Many of the BBC stars and crew who worked with McDonald (pictured) throughout his prolific career with the broadcaster took to Twitter to pay tribute to the ‘lovely human being’

‘It was his name there saying cue Terry, cue Gabby, cue Lenny, and all of those things. And right up to date with The Chase, Pointless and so many other shows.

Prever said he first met MacDonald after writing in to a local Essex hospital Radio station aged 12 and asking if he could come along – MacDonald then gave Prever his first break, a show called Sunday joint.

Prever said: ‘He gave me a chance and he opened my eyes to a world that was infinitely more exciting than anything I was learning about in the classroom. It was stories of famous folk and people he worked with this magical world of broadcast.’

Children's TV stars Dick and Dom, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, tweeted: 'A one off. You didn’t work in showbiz until you were directed by Stuart. X'

Children's TV stars Dick and Dom, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, tweeted: 'A one off. You didn’t work in showbiz until you were directed by Stuart. X'

Children’s TV stars Dick and Dom, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, tweeted: ‘A one off. You didn’t work in showbiz until you were directed by Stuart. X’

Executive Producer Stuart Pender wrote to Twitter: ‘So sorry to hear this news Richard. I was a Researcher and AP on Crimewatch and would always go into the Gallery when Stuart was directing. His calm reassuring voice over the comms put everyone at ease. You just always knew it was going to go well with Stuart at the helm. RIP.’

Broadcaster William Grist wrote to Twitter: ‘Terrible news. Haven’t worked with him for 25 years but remember it as if it was yesterday. A huge character who made everything he touched better.’

Actor Anthony Hobson fondly recalled McDonald’s role as the voice of Robot Wars – which was directed by McDonald for the first seven series – writing: ‘Also the voice on Robot Wars calling out “Roboteers, stand by”, “3… 2… 1… Activate!” and “Cease!”‘ 

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