Personal Information
Born:11th September 1927
Died:23rd September 2002
Nationality:Sri Lankan / British
Education:Royal College, Colombo
Occupation:Public Service Broadcaster
Title:
Spouse:Monica
Parents:Reverend Canon Ivan and Ouida Corea
 
Vernon Corea at work in the BBC Studios, London
 

Vernon and Monica Corea with their children outside No. 5A, Mahanuge Gardens, Kollupitiya where they lived in Sri Lanka

 
 
VERNON COREA (SNR)

VERNON COREA (SNR) was a legendary broadcaster who was born in Kurana, Katunayake in 1927. He was the eldest son of the Reverend Canon Ivan and Ouida Corea and brother to Ernest Corea.

Vernon was educated at Royal College in Colombo and went to India to study at Bishop’s Theological College in Calcutta. He returned to Sri Lanka on the death of his mother and decided not to pursue ordination. He went on to teach at Uva College in Badulla, where he met his wife Monica, who was also a teacher. After working at Car Mart as a salesman, Vernon joined Radio Ceylon in Colombo in 1956, as a Relief Announcer. He was a protégé of Clifford Dodd, Director of the Commercial Service. He was a pioneering broadcaster, known at one time as the ‘Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon.’ Vernon promoted many young Sri Lankan musicians, including Cliff Foenander, Bill Forbes, Nimal Mendis, Desmond Kelly, The Jetliners, Clarence Wijewardene and Annesley Malewana who went on to stardom. He also mentored several young broadcasters.

Vernon Corea presented some of the popular radio programmes of the day such as ‘Old Folks at Home,’ ‘The Maliban Show,’ ‘Holiday Choice,’ ‘Radio Journal’, ‘Kiddies Corner,’, ‘Ponds Hit Parade,’ 'Two For the Money, 'Housewives Choice' and 'Dial-A-Disc’. He was appointed Business Manager and Director News of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Vernon created television history, when he was invited by the Radio Society of Ceylon to present the first ever experimental television broadcast, on 15th June 1972. Vernon and his family moved to the UK in 1975. After a brief spell at Radio Worldwide, the radio arm of WEC, Vernon joined the BBC and presented the popular ‘London Sounds Eastern’, on BBC Radio London. He was appointed Asian Programmes Officer and went on to take up the position as the BBC’s Ethnic Minorities Advisor. This was the first ever appointment of an Asian to Senior Management at the BBC.  He had a career spanning 45 years in public service broadcasting, in Sri Lanka and in the UK.  Vernon and Monica had three children: Ivan, Vernon Jnr and Ouida Corea. He passed away in 2002, at New Malden, Surrey in the United Kingdom.

Quotes on Vernon Corea:

'Vernon was a pioneering influence in the BBC and helped to lay the foundation for the work we are continuing to do to make sure our staff and our programmes are truly representative of our nation's diverse population.' (Greg Dyke - Director-General BBC)

‘His sense of loyalty to his management and to his profession and his compassion and concern for those who worked under him were exemplary.' (Neville Jayaweera - former Director-General, SLBC)

‘The BBC at this time was striving to be more inclusive, and Corea found himself at the forefront of an increasing thrust for diversity. His importance both as a figurehead and a consultant was recognised by his appointment as the first ethnic minorities’ adviser in 1978.' (The London Times)



 
 
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