Former Ham&High contributor, lecturer and journalist Tony Padman died on January 11, a week before his 65th birthday, following a long illness.

Known for his outgoing personality and encyclopaedic knowledge of popular culture, Tony spent his formative years growing up in East Finchley, where he attended Our Lady of Lourdes RC primary and Bishop Douglas RC secondary schools.

While in East Finchley he was also the head altar server at St Mary’s Church, which is where where he met his lifelong friend, John Gibbons.

“He was always a very cheerful and jovial character”, John remembers, describing Tony as a modest, humble and ebullient individual.

Tony worked for many years as a sales rep for Tetley, as well as stints at HMRC and as a hospital radio DJ at Barnet General Hospital.

However, it was in 2000 when he decided to turn towards journalism. Leaning into his strengths as a personable and amiable character, he developed a niche interviewing celebrities in a series of “Where are they now?” style articles.

As well as the Ham&High, Tony was published in nationals including The Guardian, The Times, Daily Express and the Daily Mail, interviewing a star-studded list of names such as Peter Shilton, Frank Bruno and Anthony Bourdain.

Tony did more than chase celebrities however. John recalls the time when he invited him to one of his more serious pieces.

He said: “He took me along as the photographer on one job to meet a World War II Polish war hero, who had been badly burned returning to his crashed and burning Lancaster bomber to rescue crew mates, and who became one of the ‘guinea pigs’ to benefit from pioneering plastic surgery.”

Latterly, Tony began lecturing on journalism, teaching classes at Birkbeck College, University of London and the London School of Journalism, among others.

Ham & High: Tony Padman and his long-term partner Veronica O'Farrell with John Gibbons' days-old daughterTony Padman and his long-term partner Veronica O'Farrell with John Gibbons' days-old daughter (Image: John Gibbons)

Tony never married or had kids, and lost his long-term partner, Veronica O'Farrell, in 2020. He died at home, in Maida Vale, where he had been living for several decades.

He is survived by his brother, Alex.

On his friend’s skill as a journalist, John said: “He was kind of a one-off. I don’t know how you get into journalism, but he didn’t seem to do it by the normal route. He created his own niche if you like.”

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