Mike Neville (newsreader)
17 October 1936
Willington Quay, Northumberland, England
Mike Neville, MBE (born 17 October 1936, Willington Quay, North Tyneside) is a retired British television presenter who worked mainly on regional news programmes in North East England. Over 40 years with the BBC and ITV franchisee Tyne Tees Television, he became an iconic figure in the region and is remembered for his solid presentational style and witty banter. In 1990, Neville was awarded the MBE for services to broadcasting.
Neville attended the Addison Potter Infant and Junior School in Willington Quay and then Stephenson Memorial Secondary School in Howdon.
His first job at the age of 15 was at the Northern Guild of Commerce and Chamber of Trade. He was subsequently an editorial assistant at the Daily Mail's Newcastle offices. In 1955, he began two years of National Service in Cyprus where he rose to the rank of Corporal. After a short time as an insurance agent, he joined the repertory company of Newcastle Playhouse full-time.
In 1964, he switched to the rival BBC news programme Look North and fronted the programme for 32 years becoming the longest serving main anchor of any BBC regional news programme. He also regularly presented the BBC's Nationwide programme during the early 1980s, but turned down offers to move to London, preferring to stay in the North East of England.
Both Neville and George House, as co-presenters of Look North, in the 1960s and 1970s incorporated Geordie into the programme, usually in comedy pieces pointing out the gulf between ordinary Geordies and officials speaking Standard English. They were also responsible for a series of recordings, beginning with Larn Yersel' Geordie, which attempted, not always seriously, to bring the Geordie dialect to the rest of England.
A series of three programmes, The Mike Neville Show, was broadcast in 1975 based on his experiences whilst completing National Service, in repertory theatre and on television.
In 1989, Neville was caught by TV prankster Noel Edmonds with a "Gotcha" on his BBC1 programme Noel's Saturday Roadshow. He was tricked into thinking he was filling seven minutes of airtime because there was a technical fault. He was easily able to adapt to the situation and stay professional, and was the only local anchorman in the UK to ever receive one.
In 1993, the musician Jez Lowe wrote and recorded the song "Mike Neville Said It (So It Must Be True)". It was released on his album Bede Weeps.
Nicholas Owen, the ITN newscaster, described Neville as his mentor in a 2004 newspaper article, remarking that, "He is a Geordie legend and has a towering reputation, in a way that no-one in national television does."
Return to Tyne Tees
In 1996, Neville was approached by Tyne Tees Television and offered a chance to return to the commercial station. Tyne Tees offered him his own hour long news programme, North East Tonight with Mike Neville. Neville made the switch back to Tyne Tees, which coincided with a short-lived rebrand from Tyne Tees to Channel 3 North East.
The programme was awarded a World Service Medal in New York for "Best News Magazine Programme" in 1998. Five years later, Neville received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the Tom Cordner North East Press Awards ceremony and in 2005, Northumbria University conferred an honorary degree upon him.
Neville remained with the programme until late 2005 when he underwent an operation to remove a blood clot from his leg. On 5 June 2006, he announced his retirement from Tyne Tees after 40 years presenting regional news in the North East. By this time, he was Britain's longest serving television presenter, having received a "Unique Achievement" award from the Royal Television Society in 2001 in recognition of 40 years as a daily television presenter.
- "Remember When: Happy Birthday to Look North legend Mike Neville". Chronicle Live. NCJ Media. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "Mike Neville says goodnight (for now)". The Free Online Library. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "Broadcaster Mike Neville is back on air for special day". Journal Live. NCJ Media. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- Owen, Nicholas (25 October 2004). "My Mentor: Nicholas Owen on Mike Neville". The Independent. London, England.
- "Popular news anchor stepping down". BBC. 2006-06-05. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "And finally". The Times. London, England. 6 June 2006.
- Deans, Jason (2006-06-05). "Mike Neville's retirement: end of an era for regional TV?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-01-17.