RICHARD KAY: Outpouring of admiration for Huw Edwards' wife Vicky

RICHARD KAY: There was an outpouring of admiration for Huw Edwards’ wife Vicky Flind for the way she took such decisive action after days of rumour and speculation

To measure the catastrophe that engulfed Huw Edwards today, the place to look was not at the BBC but at the South London home where he and his wife have raised their five children.

With all the clutter of a happy and loving family life, this was their refuge from the fame that came with Edwards being one of the most recognisable faces on British television.

No one has done more to secure this domestic sanctuary than the broadcaster’s wife, Vicky Flind. And it was why among her friends and close colleagues there was nothing but admiration tonight for the way she took such decisive action after days of rumour and speculation surrounding her husband.

‘I can’t say it was characteristic, but it was certainly typical of Vicky,’ said one figure who has worked with her closely over the years. ‘

She’s smart and she’s thoughtful, and although I cannot begin to imagine the nightmare they have been going through, I’m sure she would have taken the action she did to protect the family and Huw.’

Ms Flind is a very experienced news and current affairs executive who joined ITV in 2016 after a long period at the BBC

No one has done more to secure this domestic sanctuary than the broadcaster’s wife, Vicky Flind

Through the years of Edwards’s rise to the top of the BBC presenting tree, Vicky has remained resolutely, some might say stubbornly, in the background. When he has featured in interviews and magazine spreads, she has pointedly not shared the limelight. And, according to friends, that is exactly how she likes it.

‘Huw can’t walk down the street without being recognised: Vicky most certainly can,’ says one TV collaborator. But if everything about her appears unassuming and understated, then that, too, is misleading.

In the decades the couple have been together, she has continued her own career as a successful TV professional — as a producer and editor. It is why she has always used her maiden name.

‘I think it has helped to give her a degree of anonymity that might be lost if she had been known professionally as Mrs Huw Edwards,’ says the colleague. She’s one of the few people in television who is universally liked. There’s no side to her — she’s good news.’

READ MORE: Huw Edwards’ wife’s statement in full as she names BBC star at centre of ‘£35k sex pics scandal’ out of ‘concern for his mental wellbeing’ 

On the rare occasions Vicky has found herself in the public eye, it has been because of her own career — not as a support for her husband. She was the original choice to edit ITV political editor Robert Peston’s show. It came after a long and highly impressive stint working with presenter Andrew Neil on the BBC’s This Week and Daily Politics shows.

Figures who were also associated with those programmes credit her with making them the successes they became.

‘She’s very creative, but she’s also impish with a well-crafted and quirky sense of humour,’ recalls one who worked with her at the Corporation. ‘When Andrew Neil started bringing his dog, Molly, into the studio, it was Vicky who came up with the idea of the basket and bones, so that she became an essential prop of the show. On another occasion, the song Is This The Way To Amarillo? was in the pop charts and Vicky came up with a version for us called Show Me The Way To Election Day. It was both funny and timely.’

Ms Flind pictured with Robert Peston for the first #Pestononsunday in May 2016

With Neil at the helm and Flind behind the scenes, This Week achieved a cult status almost unheard of for a political programme. While rival shows were po-faced and serious, she made This Week entertaining as well as informative.

Now events this week have attracted the kind of attention she has never sought. Even so, the same integrity and clarity she brought to her programmes was threaded through her deeply moving statement tonight, in which she revealed that her husband of 30 years was ‘suffering from serious mental health issues’.

Their marriage may now be facing its gravest challenge, but her determination to fight for him was as striking as the statement she issued.

Vicky was 28 when she and Edwards — two years her senior — met. Inevitably, perhaps, it was through work. She had produced a TV review of the year 1991 on which Huw reported. Both later agreed that it was the worst piece of reporting he had ever done.

This perhaps wasn’t a guaranteed path to romance, and indeed they didn’t get together until later, when a friend of Huw’s dropped out of a skiing trip and he asked Vicky along. ‘We turned up at Gatwick to find our flight was delayed for 14 hours,’ Edwards later recalled. ‘We started talking then and haven’t ever really stopped.’

By 1993, they were engaged. Marriage and five children soon followed. Although they avoided showbusiness parties, the presenter and the producer were an influential BBC power couple. When Huw began piling on the pounds, it was Vicky who suggested he take up boxing to lose weight and get fit. She found him a gym and trainer.

Over the years, he has rarely talked about his family life, but speaking about his absences from home when their children were small because of work, he did acknowledge how much he owed his wife.

Her extraordinary intervention and the personal nature of her statement may prove his debt to his wife is deeper than he will ever know.

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