The Newsroom

ITN Nostalgia

ITN and ITV News Memories

JW
JamesWorldNews STV Central World News
The lockdown is bringing out a lot of nostalgia on these boards.

To keep it all in the right place, he’s a starter for the ITN Nostalgia thread: a brilliant reflection on the history and making of ITN’s News at Ten, featuring news legends past and present.

And finally.......

Last edited by JamesWorldNews on 15 May 2020 6:10pm
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JW
JamesWorldNews STV Central World News
From Rob in the ITV News thread:

Prompted by a couple of posts relating to ITN in one of the BBC News threads, I wonder if anyone can remember who ITN sent over to Hong Kong to anchor coverage of the handover ceremony in 1997? I'm drawing a complete blank on it - did they send over multiple newscasters for ITV, C4 etc - or was it a one-off special on ITV?

The other one I vaguely remember is that the Lunchtime News sent a newscaster out to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to present coverage of the devolution referendums in 1997. Or have I made that up?


I can’t recall Hong Kong handover specifically. But I’d imagine it would have been Trevor.

I know Alastair Burnet accompanied the Queen on an earlier trip to China, but can’t recall who would have covered Hong Kong.

Was it Carol Barnes, perhaps?
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JW
JamesWorldNews STV Central World News
It was Mark Austin



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IT
itsrobert Founding member Granada North West Today
Thanks James.

I'm not sure about Mark Austin - wasn't he still a reporter at that point? I thought he only started newscasting in 1998. He may have been there in a reporter capacity, but if they anchored on location I doubt it would have been him. Would you mind asking him if he recalls if they anchored newscasts from there and who the newscaster was?
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
I'm not convinced they'd have anchored on location back then.
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JW
JamesWorldNews STV Central World News
Sir Trevor was the on-location presenter it seems:



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JW
JamesWorldNews STV Central World News
Mark in action in Honkers:



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SW
Steve Williams
Well, it's at this point we turn to my Radio Times archive, which reveals that on 30th June 1997, News at Ten was presented by Trevor McDonald in Hong Kong and Julia Somerville in London. They did quite a lot of on-location presenting in those days, in 1995 Trevor had presented from the Rugby World Cup, and indeed co-presented ITV's coverage of the opening ceremony and the final as it was a major news event as well as a sporting occasion.

ITV didn't do any other programmes on the day to mark the handover, while BBC1 did live coverage. This was pretty much the last flowering for the Beeb's events department, run by Philip S Gilbert, and I remember reading in Private Eye at the time that this led to all kinds of ructions in the Beeb because Gilbert was very protective of his department and didn't want news encroaching on his patch, so events like that, and the D-Day and VE Day anniversaries a few years before, were very much events productions with Gilbert refusing to use any of the news people (apart from Jill Dando) and choosing his own presenters and commentators. As Private Eye pointed out, this meant they were anchored by John Tusa, who seemed a weird choice given it was just after he'd left BBC News with harsh words for John Birt.

But of course they had to cover it for the news as well, so they had to send over people there as well. After that it became much more relaxed and now news people happily do the big events. Of course, ITN never had that problem.
JL
JamesLaverty1925 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I remember being in the audience for Countdown when Mark Austin was the Dictionary Corner Guest. He told a story about when presenting on location, can't remember where but it may well have been Hong Kong, when Trevor was presenting on location, on a very wet night, and just before they went live, Austin actually caused the gazebo to move, and all the rainwater on top fell right on top of Trevor, meaning he had to present News of Ten soaking wet!
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IT
itsrobert Founding member Granada North West Today
Thanks all, that's great!

It's actually surprising how much on location newscasting ITN managed to achieve - even back into the 1980s, I've seen footage of Sir Alastair Burnet anchoring News at Ten from Washington and I think I'm right in saying that Leonard Parkin used to anchor live from the political conferences in Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth. Moving into the 1990s and I recall Sir Trevor and Alastair Stewart anchoring from the Gulf in 1991, Trevor from Washington for his big interview with President Clinton in July 1993 and again from South Africa for the election there in 1994. Plus Moscow for the Russian election and Washington again for their election, both in 1996.

It was the BBC that didn't really anchor on location much, if at all. The first memory I've got is from, I think, 1999. Didn't the last day of the virtual era have some bulletins anchored from Edinburgh? I really don't recall as much on location presenting from the BBC as ITN - they seemed to pioneer it, really.
SW
Steve Williams
It was the BBC that didn't really anchor on location much, if at all. The first memory I've got is from, I think, 1999. Didn't the last day of the virtual era have some bulletins anchored from Edinburgh? I really don't recall as much on location presenting from the BBC as ITN - they seemed to pioneer it, really.


Yes, Martyn Lewis presented the Six from Edinburgh for his last bulletin, the day after the first elections to the Scottish Parliament.

As I say, the Beeb didn't really do much because there were separate departments within the Beeb who all had their own fiefdoms. As well as events there was also current affairs, responsible for programmes like Nationwide, Panorama and indeed the party conference coverage, while news were responsible for news bulletins (they were physically separate too, with news at TV Centre and current affairs at Lime Grove). So if the news was being anchored from the party conferences that would presumably tread on the toes of current affairs, so they didn't do it.
VM
VMPhil Granada North West Today
It was the BBC that didn't really anchor on location much, if at all. The first memory I've got is from, I think, 1999. Didn't the last day of the virtual era have some bulletins anchored from Edinburgh?

Yes, which meant Martyn Lewis’ last bulletin for the BBC wasn’t in the studio but on location.

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