Ian McCaskill Biography
John Robertson McCaskill, better known as Ian was born on 28 July 1938 in Glasgow, Scotland where he went to secondary school at Queen’s Park. After school, Ian attended the University of Glasgow and studied chemistry and geology. He was cox of the rowing club and also joined the dramatic society during his time there. He wanted his studies to lead to him becoming a doctor but as his parents couldn’t afford to keep him at university for the required six years, so he opted to pursue teaching instead.
In 1959 Ian McCaskill joined the RAF in order to fulfill his obligations for national service. When he joined the RAF, he could have gone into catering but as he couldn’t cook, he opted for meteorology, even though he wasn’t exactly sure what it was, serving first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. It was his time in the RAF therefore, that led to him ultimately becoming a weatherman. A career in teaching was consequently ditched.
During his time in the RAF he had a brief spell serving in Malta which is where he met his first wife, Lesley Charlesworth. They were married in 1959 and would go on to have two daughters, Vicky and Kirsty. Lesley died in 1992 from breast cancer after 33 years of marriage to Ian.
Ian left the RAF in 1961 and continued a career in meteorology by joining the Met Office and during his time there he worked at Glasgow Prestwick Airport as well as on Malta and in Manchester.
A certain amount of fame would come Ian McCaskill’s way when in 1978 he joined the BBC and presented the television weather forecast for the BBC Weather Centre. He occassionally pointed out though, that although he had become somewhat famous, he wasn’t a high paid celebrity as he was still an employee of the Met Office and so received a civil servant’s salary.
He retired on 31 July 1998 but not before becoming the most imitated weather presenter in the UK with the likes of Rory Bremner and the TV show Spitting Image featuring impersonations of him. In the same year as his retirement he married Pat Cromack, and in the process became stepfather to Tim and Matthew, Pat’s two sons. He was married to Pat until his death.
Although he had retired from presenting the weather, Ian was not retired from life, and became a motivational speaker. He also made guest appearances on television shows such as Have I Got News for You and Masterchef. He also co-wrote a book about Britain’s worst ever Winters entitled Frozen in Time which was published in 2006.
Unfortunately, Ian McCaskill was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 and his death, at the age of 78, on 10 December 2016 was announced by his daughter. He is survived by his second wife, Pat, his two daughters, two stepsons and nine grandchildren.
Ian was a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.