|Born||17 July 1942|
|Died||1 October 2019 77) (aged|
|Education||Liverpool Institute for Boys|
|Alma mater||University College, Oxford|
|Known for||Broadcast journalism|
Sylvia Bennett(m. 1965)
Peter George Sissons (17 July 1942 – 1 October 2019) was an English journalist and broadcaster. He was a newscaster for ITN, providing bulletins on ITV and Channel 4, before becoming the presenter of the BBC's Question Time between 1989 and 1993, and a presenter of the BBC Nine O'Clock News and Ten O'Clock News between 1993 and 2003. He retired from the BBC in 2009.
Born at Smithdown Road Hospital in Liverpool, 8–10he was the third of four brothers, sons of Merchant Navy officer George Robert Percival Sissons and his wife Elsie Emma (Evans). :
Sissons attended the Dovedale Junior School with John Lennon and Jimmy Tarbuck. He passed the eleven-plus and attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys from 1953 to 1961 with the theatre producer Bill Kenwright, the politician Steven Norris, and George Harrison and Paul McCartney from the Beatles. He later studied at University College, Oxford, §3where he was treasurer of the University College Players and with them also acted, produced, directed and organised. :
Sissons joined ITN in 1964, working his way up to the role of journalist. He was wounded by gunfire whilst covering the Biafran War in 1968, sustaining severe nerve damage in his left leg. §7After recovering from his injuries, he became ITN's Industrial Editor, covering many high-profile disputes during the 1970s. On 6 September 1976, Sissons joined the list of presenters of ITN's lunchtime ITN News at One bulletin, alternating with Leonard Parkin. He also co-presented ITN's 1983 General Election Night programmes (with Sir Alastair Burnet and Martyn Lewis) and in 1987 (with Burnet and Alastair Stewart). :
In 1982, Sissons, along with Trevor McDonald and Sarah Hogg, presented the first edition of Channel 4 News. He remained on the programme for seven years, anchoring the only debate between National Union of Mineworkers leader Arthur Scargill and National Coal Board leader Ian MacGregor during the 1984–85 miners' strike. He was also the presenter on the night of the Lockerbie bombing in December 1988. In early 1989, Sissons received a death threat following his interview of an Iranian representative as part of the reaction surrounding the publication of The Satanic Verses , with the fatwa covering Salman Rushdie extended to cover him as well.
Sissons left ITN in 1989 to join the BBC.
In June 1989, Sissons took over from Sir Robin Day as the presenter of Question Time .He continued until December 1993, when he was followed by David Dimbleby. He co-presented BBC's 1992 General Election Night coverage with Dimbleby and Peter Snow.
He worked for ITN, Channel 4 News and BBC News, where he hosted the BBC Nine O'Clock News and the Ten O'Clock News .He was dropped from this position in January 2003. Sissons reportedly accused the BBC of ageism in response to its decision to remove him from the bulletin.
In 2002, Sissons announced the death of the Queen Mother on the BBC. This broadcast created controversy and criticism from some newspapers as he wore a burgundy tie and not a black one, deemed more appropriate for such news.He later defended his choice and a senior BBC source said: "We thought if the newsreader suddenly rushed off screen to change into a black tie for the announcement it would be a distraction for viewers."
Sissons subsequently presented weekend afternoons on BBC News, the corporation's 24-hour rolling news channel, although until 2004 he still occasionally appeared on the Ten O'Clock News when Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce and Darren Jordon were unavailable. Sissons also presented News 24 Sunday, the replacement for Andrew Marr's BBC One programme The Andrew Marr Show when it was off air during the summer. He also occasionally presented weekend bulletins on BBC One.
He retired from the BBC in 2009,announcing on 12 June his intention to retire in the summer in order to write his memoirs.
Sissons cited a 2009 interview he conducted with Harriet Harman as the final catalyst for his decision to leave the BBC. He noted how producers seemed "twitchy" about leaving him to interview the Labour politician unsupervised, and that those producers contacting him with advice "seemed to be fully paid-up members of her fan club." Sissons noted his shock at being urged not to raise the issue of a breaking controversy surrounding Gordon Brown failing to invite the Queen to a D-Day commemoration event, because it was "only a campaign being run by the Daily Mail". He asked the question anyhow, and upon arriving home afterwards decided he no longer wished to work for the organisation.
Following his retirement, Sissons published his 2011 autobiography When One Door Closes in which he was highly critical of his former employer, the BBC. He argued that the organisation had a left-wing mindset "in its very DNA" and that the BBC News had a bias towards, New Labour, the United Nations, the European Union, environmental groups, Islam, ethnic minorities, and women. He claimed that "I am in no doubt that the majority of BBC staff vote for political parties of the Left". Sissons also highlighted the BBC's corresponding bias towards the Independent and Guardian newspapers, stating "producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover."
Sissons was a Liverpool John Moores University Honorary Fellow and delivered a lecture on 19 June 2008 speaking about the city of Liverpool.He was a lifelong supporter of Liverpool Football Club.
Sissons had three children, one of whom, Kate Sissons, is an actress. Sissons lived in Sevenoaks, Kent, with his wife Sylvia,and had a second home on the island of Barbados.
Peter Sissons died at the age of 77 on 1 October 2019 at the Maidstone Hospital in Kent after a battle with leukemia.The Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, hailed him as "one of the great television figures of his time". Other tributes to Sissons were paid by Huw Edwards, Tony Blair, Piers Morgan, Simon McCoy and Jon Snow. Sissons' former classmate Paul McCartney posted a tribute on his website.
Independent Television News (ITN) is a UK-based television production company. It is made up of two divisions: Broadcast News and ITN Productions. ITN is based in London, with bureaux and offices in Beijing, Brussels, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, New York, Paris, Sydney and Washington DC.
Sir Trevor McDonald, is a Trinidadian-British newsreader and journalist, best known for his career as a news presenter with ITN.
Jonathan George Snow HonFRIBA is an English journalist and television presenter. He is best known as the longest-running presenter of Channel 4 News, which he has presented since 1989. Although Channel 4's news programming is produced by ITN, Snow is employed directly by the broadcaster.
The BBC Nine O'Clock News was the flagship BBC News programme. It was launched on 14 September 1970 and ran until 13 October 2000, when it was controversially replaced by the BBC Ten O'Clock News.
BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online news coverage. The service maintains 50 foreign news bureaux with more than 250 correspondents around the world. Fran Unsworth has been Director of News and Current Affairs since January 2018.
Sophie Jane Raworth is an English journalist, newsreader and broadcaster working for the BBC. She is a senior newsreader mainly presenting BBC News at Six and BBC News at Ten. She can often be found presenting state occasions.
ITV News is the branding of news programmes on the British television network ITV. ITV has a long tradition of television news. Independent Television News (ITN) was founded to provide news bulletins for the network in 1955, and has since continued to produce all news programmes on ITV. The channel's news coverage has won awards from the Royal Television Society, Emmy Awards and BAFTAs. Between 2004 and 2008, the ITV Evening News held the title of "RTS News Programme of the Year". The flagship ITV News at Ten has won numerous BAFTA awards, and also being named "RTS News Programme of the Year" in 2011 and 2015.
Sir James William Alexander Burnet, known as Alastair Burnet, was a British journalist and broadcaster, best known for his work in news and current affairs programmes, including a long career with ITN as chief presenter of the flagship News at Ten; Sir Robin Day described Burnet as "the booster rocket that put ITN into orbit".
News at Ten is the flagship evening news programme on British television network ITV, produced by ITN and founded by news editor Geoffrey Cox in July 1967. The bulletin was the first permanent 30-minute news broadcast in the United Kingdom, and although initially scheduled for only thirteen weeks due to fears that its length would turn viewers off, the bulletin proved to be highly popular with audiences and became a fixture of the ITV schedule.
Alastair James Stewart OBE is an English journalist and newscaster, formerly presenting for ITV News.
The ITV Lunchtime News is the afternoon news programme produced by ITN on the British television network ITV. It broadcasts for twenty-five minutes each Monday to Friday from 13:30, covering British national and international news stories and is presented by Nina Hossain.
Stephen Cole is a British-born international broadcast journalist and current Chairman of the Institute of Diplomacy and Business.
BBC News at Ten — formerly known as the BBC Ten O'Clock News or the Ten O'Clock News — is the flagship evening news programme for British television channel BBC One and the BBC News channel. It is presented by Huw Edwards Monday to Wednesday, and deputised by Sophie Raworth and Clive Myrie. The programme was controversially moved from 9:00pm on 16 October 2000. The main presenter simultaneously holds the lead presenter role for major events, election night and breaking news for BBC News.
The BBC News at Six is the evening news programme bulletin from the BBC. Produced by BBC News, the programme is broadcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel on weekdays at 6:00pm. For a long period the News at Six was the most watched news programme in the UK but since 2006 it has been overtaken by the BBC News at Ten. On average it is watched by four million viewers.
The BBC News at One is the afternoon/lunchtime news bulletin from the BBC. Produced by BBC News, the programme is broadcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel Monday to Sunday at 1:00pm. The programme is currently presented by Simon McCoy or Jane Hill.
Sir Martyn John Dudley Lewis is a Welsh television news presenter and journalist. He was a presenter for various BBC News programmes between 1986 and 1999 and was known for his involvement in the coverage of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. He is also active in the charity sector and is the Founder & Executive Chairman of YourBigDay Ltd.
Leonard Parkin was a British television journalist and newscaster who worked for both the BBC and ITN.
Sir Robin Day
| Regular Host of Question Time |