Sir Alastair Burnet, the highly respected newscaster known best for presenting ITV’s News At Ten, has died at the age of 84.
He passed away at a nursing home in London having suffered several strokes.
In the 1960s Burnet was pivotal in the rise of ITN as a competitor to BBC News, serving as political editor before switching to newsreading in 1967 and launching News at Ten.
On both ITV and the BBC, Burnet was an accomplished anchor of major live events, fronting both general election programmes for the BBC in 1974.
Burnet was also an extremely successful print journalist, editing The Economist and, having left ITN in the 1970s, the Daily Express. He later rejoined ITN, presenting his last News at Ten in 1991.
This Week presenter and former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, who worked with Burnet at The Economist and was a close friend, said: “Alastair was one of the greatest journalists of his generation… a legendary figure as Britain’s premier newscaster and anchorman.
“He will also always be recalled by family, friends and colleagues for his unparalleled professionalism, humour and gentlemanly kindness, especially to journalists starting out on their careers. Joy it was to be in his company and he was an inspiration to many who followed in his footsteps – the broadcasters’ broadcaster.”
ITN chief executive John Hardie said: “ITN stands on the shoulders of giants, none greater than Sir Alastair Burnet. He defined newscasting for a generation and his influence is still clearly evident today. He set the bar to a standard that has never been surpassed and perhaps not even equalled.
“Sir Alastair will be sorely missed by many here at ITN, but his legacy lives on.”