Trevor McDonald

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Sir Trevor McDonald
Born George McDonald
(1939-08-16) 16 August 1939 (age 75)
San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
Ethnicity African Caribbean
Grenadian Trinbagonian
Occupation Journalist, news presenter
Notable credit(s) ITV News at Ten
Title Knight Bachelor, OBE
Spouse(s) Josephine
Children 2

Sir Trevor McDonald OBE (born George McDonald; 16 August 1939) is a Trinidadian-British newsreader and journalist. He had a long career as a news presenter with ITN. He is notable for having been ITN's first black journalist,[1] and for having won more awards than any other British broadcaster.[2] McDonald was knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism.[3]


Early career[edit]

After working as a print and broadcast journalist in Trinidad during the 1960s, in 1969 McDonald was employed by BBC Radio as a producer, based in London but still broadcasting to the Caribbean.[3] In 1973 he began his long association with Independent Television News, first as a general reporter, later as a sports correspondent, but ultimately concentrating on international politics. In the 1980s he spent some time with Channel 4 News,[3] but returned to ITN in 1989, presenting the early-evening news.[4]

News at Ten[edit]

McDonald was promoted in 1992 as the sole presenter of News at Ten and became a well-known face on British television screens. McDonald stayed with ITN when News at Ten was axed in 1999, moving to present the new ITV Evening News. News at Ten was briefly relaunched in 22 January 2001, to which McDonald returned as a presenter. He presented the ITV News at 10.30 following News at Ten's second axing.


From 1999 to 2009, McDonald hosted ITV's flagship current affairs programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

First retirement[edit]

On 29 November 2005, speculation that McDonald was about to leave ITV to work elsewhere ended when he signed a further two-year contract involving producing both a documentary show and a new series of interviews which will be of a wider general interest.[citation needed]

McDonald presented his last ITV News bulletin on 15 December 2005. The veteran newsreader stepped down from his role as anchor after more than 30 years at ITN, but said he had no plans to retire completely from television. At the end of the final programme, he signed off with the words: That brings to an end my association with the news at 10.30. Thank you for watching. Over the opening and closing titles of the bulletin that McDonald presented, the November 1992 to March 1999 ITV News at Ten theme was played as a tribute to McDonald.[5]

Return to News at Ten[edit]

On 31 October 2007, ITV announced that, early in 2008, McDonald would come out of retirement to present the relaunched News at Ten together with Julie Etchingham.[6] He told a newspaper: "I couldn’t turn down the move back to that iconic time slot."[7] News at Ten began broadcasting once again on 14 January 2008.[8]

Second retirement[edit]

It was announced on 30 October 2008 that McDonald would step down from News at Ten once the US 2008 Presidential elections were over, to be replaced by Mark Austin.[9] His last bulletin was on 20 November 2008. It was reported at the time[10] that he would continue to present links for The Tonight Programme.[citation needed]

ITV travel documentaries[edit]

  • In 2009, McDonald travelled to the Caribbean and hosted the series The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald.[11][12]
  • In 2011, McDonald travelled around the Mediterranean and hosted the series The Secret Mediterranean with Trevor McDonald.
  • In 2012, McDonald travelled along the route of the Mississippi River and hosted the series The Mighty Mississippi with Trevor McDonald.

Other work and media appearances[edit]

  • McDonald presented the TV series Undercover Customs which created reconstructions of major HM Customs and Excise investigations in the UK.[13]
  • From 1996 until 2008, McDonald presented the National Television Awards. He was replaced as presenter for the 2010 event by X Factor host Dermot O'Leary[citation needed]
  • On 21 April 2006, McDonald presented an episode of Have I Got News for You; he delivered a number of autocue jokes, some of which were extremely risqué, in his usual sober newscaster manner, the juxtaposition of which prompted team captain Paul Merton, who usually maintains a straight face on the show, to laugh heartily in disbelief on numerous occasions. It was McDonald's first appearance in any capacity on the show since 1992.[14]
  • McDonald is Chancellor of London South Bank University. He also has intimate ties with King's College School in Wimbledon, a London day school, where he is now a governor.[15]
  • McDonald is the author of biographies of the cricketers Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd[3]
  • McDonald has worked as an editor of poetry anthologies,[3] and his autobiography Fortunate Circumstances was published in 1993.[3]
  • Lenny Henry's comic character Trevor McDoughnut is a spoof of McDonald.[3] McDonald once surprised Henry during a performance of "McDoughnut" on Tiswas by walking into the studio to sit with Henry. McDonald returned to Tiswas on two further occasions. First, a number of weeks after his original surprise appearance, he cropped up during a spoof edition of This Is Your Life to "reminisce" with Lenny Henry about the earlier event. The other appearance occurred during the Tiswas Reunited show (a reunion programme transmitted in June 2007) where McDonald joined Lenny on the sofa once again to look back at the old clips and comment on Henry's impersonation.[16]
  • McDonald performed live in Hyde Park in Summer 1996 with The Who, as the newsreader in the group's staging of their Quadrophenia.[17]
  • In June 2007, McDonald hosted the new ITV version of This Is Your Life, Simon Cowell being the programme's "victim".[18]
  • In June 2007, McDonald began hosting the new ITV television series News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald
  • In August 2010 McDonald conducted a live on-stage interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Fairfield Halls in Croydon at an event entitled An Audience with Desmond Tutu[19][20]
  • A picture of McDonald was seen at the end of the video I Know Him So Well by Peter Kay and Susan Boyle for Comic Relief 2011.
  • A clip from one of McDonald's news broadcasts was shown in the 2011 film The Iron Lady.


McDonald holds honorary degrees from the University of Plymouth[22] and Liverpool John Moores University.[23] In 1993, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's honours list.[citation needed] He received a knighthood in 1999 for his services to journalism.[3] He was awarded with a BAFTA fellowship at the 2011 British Academy Television Awards.


  1. ^ "Sir Trevor McDonald – Media Top 100 2003". The Guardian. 7 July 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "Sir Trevor reads final bulletin". BBC News. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Newsworthy career of Sir Trevor". BBC News. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Who's Who, London, A. & C. Black (2009).
  5. ^ ITV News at 10:30, Trevor McDonald's last bulletin (15 December 2005) on YouTube.
  6. ^ "News at Ten returns to ITV". 31 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007. 
  7. ^ "Diamonds are for Trevor", The Sun, 2 November 2007.
  8. ^ "Martha Kearney's week", BBC News, 13 January 2008.
  9. ^ "Sir Trevor McDonald to leave News at Ten next month", The Guardian, 30 October 2008.
  10. ^ "Sir Trevor McDonald quits News at Ten", The Telegraph, 30 October 2008.
  11. ^ The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald, ITV.
  12. ^ The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald, ITV Press Centre, 19 June 2009.
  13. ^ Carlos Korotana, "UnderCover Customs (1997– )", IMDb.
  14. ^ "Americans, tsk tsk" on YouTube
  15. ^ "Wimbledon boys' school considers admitting girls", Your Local Guardian, 7 September 2008.
  16. ^ "Sir Trevor McDonald on TISWAS" on YouTube.
  17. ^ "Saturday, June 29th, 1996 London, Hyde Park".
  18. ^ "Simon Cowell is first celebrity 'victim' for revived This Is Your Life", London Evening Standard, 24 May 2007.
  19. ^ "An audience with Desmond Tutu", The South African, 2 August 2010.
  20. ^ "Archbishop Desmond Tutu sends Croydon a message", Croydon Guardian, 26 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Deal With the Media with Sir Trevor McDonald". Deal With The Media. 
  22. ^ "Alastair Stewart to receive Honorary Doctorate from University of Plymouth", Plymouth University, 7 September 2010.
  23. ^ Honorary Fellows of Liverpool John Moores University, LJMU.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Hon. Christopher McLaren
Chancellor of London South Bank University