Peter Sissons: Former BBC, ITN and Channel 4 newsreader dies at 77

Peter Sissons: Former BBC, ITN and Channel 4 newsreader dies at 77

Postby dutchman » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:08 pm

Peter Sissons, the former BBC and ITN newsreader and Question Time host, has died at the age of 77


Sissons joined ITN in the 1960s before moving to the BBC in 1989 to present Question Time and the Six O'Clock News.

BBC director general Tony Hall described him as "one of the great television figures of his time".

Tributes also came from such figures as Piers Morgan and Tony Blair, who said he was "a journalist of exceptional talent, commitment and integrity".

Good Morning Britain host Morgan hailed him as "an excellent journalist and TV newsreader, and splendidly combative and amusing man", while BBC presenter Simon McCoy said Sissons was "a great journalist and a fine presenter".

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Sissons went to school with John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. He studied at Oxford University, but returned to Liverpool to work as a bus conductor in the summer holidays - and later said the experience of dealing with difficult customers prepared him for handling difficult interviewees.

His journalistic career began when he joined ITN in 1964 as a writer, and he became a reporter three years later.

As a foreign correspondent, he was wounded by gunfire in Biafra in 1968. He was later promoted to ITN's news editor and then industrial editor before becoming a presenter of ITN's News at One in 1978.

When Channel 4 was launched in 1982, he was chosen to present their nightly news programme, and during his time as anchor, Channel 4 News won three consecutive Bafta Awards.

In 1989, he interviewed the Iranian ambassador about the fatwa issued to author Salman Rushsdie, and admitted in his autobiography that he found it "very hard" to keep his anger from showing. That interview resulted in the fatwa being extended to him, meaning he and his family needed 24-hour protection.

After joining the BBC later that year, he took over from Sir Robin Day as host of Question Time, which he hosted for four years, and also went on to present the Nine O'Clock News and 10 O'Clock News.

"He was a gold standard broadcaster," said BBC News presenter Huw Edwards. "For a decade or more, he was the face of Channel 4 News, and he really was an outstanding interviewer and presenter.

"He was very supportive when I started off as a presenter, he couldn't have been more generous, and I think that was a reflection of him as a man as well."

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