Gordon Burns

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For the British writer, see Gordon Burn. For the footballer, see Gordon Burns (footballer).
Gordon Burns
Born Gordon Henry Burns
10 June 1942 (1942-06-10) (age 74)
Belfast, County Antrim,
Northern Ireland, UK
Nationality British
Education Dulwich College
Campbell College
Occupation Broadcaster, journalist
Years active 1973–2013
Notable credit(s) Presenting:
The Krypton Factor (1977–1995)
North West Tonight (1997–2011)
Children 2
Relatives Ed Sheeran (second cousin)

Gordon Henry Burns (born 10 June 1942) is a Northern Irish journalist and broadcaster, best known as the host of Granada Television's popular game show The Krypton Factor for its original 18-year run (1977–1995). From 1997 to 2011, he was the chief anchorman for the BBC regional news programme North West Tonight.

Due to his work commitments with Granada Television on programmes such as World in Action and Granada Reports and later BBC Manchester for North West Tonight, he has resided in Manchester for over thirty years. Burns most recently hosted a Sunday morning radio show for BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Lancashire. He is known for a bona fide style of presenting which has made him popular with his audience.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Burns is the second cousin of British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.[3] Burns is married and has two grown-up children.


He began his journalism career working on the Belfast Telegraph and worked on BBC radio's long-running Sports Report before joining Ulster Television as a sports editor and programme producer in 1967. Two years later, Burns began presenting the nightly news programme UTV Reports, first as a stand-in for regular frontman David Mahlowe and later as a chief anchor, during the early stages of The Troubles. In 1973, Burns joined Granada Television to anchor their nightly news programme Granada Reports and to work on the station's current affairs output, including the flagship World in Action.

Burns' status as a national celebrity began with his association of ITV's popular game show The Krypton Factor which he presented for eighteen years from 1977 to 1995. He was the presenter of Password for Ulster, one of their few programmes shown throughout the ITV network, and also hosted a segment in several series of LWT's Surprise, Surprise. During the 1980s, Burns also continued reporting from the political party conferences for the ITV network and presenting the Channel 4 current affairs series Irish Angle.

From 1997 to 2011, Burns presented North West Tonight, alongside its shorter lunchtime version, North West Today. In 2007, Ranvir Singh joined as co-anchor of the previously single-headed main evening programme. Burns announced in April 2011 that he would be retiring from the role but would move onto present a Sunday morning show on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Lancashire in September 2011 with his last TV bulletin broadcast on 30 September.

He was also the voice of "The Chain" feature and other features on the Radcliffe & Maconie show on BBC 6 Music.[4] He appears as a guest on the show when The Chain[5] reaches a significant milestone, for example, for the 5,000th (musically based) item on 3 March 2015 which was Dancing Queen by Abba.

In 2013 Burns retired properly after stepping down from his radio show.[6]


  1. ^ "Gordon Burns to step down from BBC North West Tonight". bbc.co.uk. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Gordon Burns on life in the hot seat". how-do.co.uk. 10 July 2007. 
  3. ^ Dianne Bourne (23 February 2012). "Gordon Burns "so proud" over cousin Ed Sheeran's Brit Awards success". men. 
  4. ^ "BBC - North West Tonight - Presenters - Gordon Burns". bbc.co.uk. 
  5. ^ "The Chain". The Chain. 
  6. ^ Dianne Bourne (16 July 2013). "Gordon Burns bids beloved airwaves goodbye". men. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Host of The Krypton Factor
Succeeded by
Penny Smith