The real Trevor McDoughnut

Friday, December 16, 2005 by

Although for the past few years he’s been fronting an increasingly rotten news programme on autopilot, it’s still something of an end of an era to see Trevor McDonald reading the ITV News for the last time, as he did last night.

It’s fair to say that Trev was the last of the big ITN giants, following in the tradition of Alastair Burnet, Reginald Bosanquet and Sandy Gall – charismatic, indeed often barking mad, figures with real authority that everyone knew and respected.

Nowadays ITN have a whole host of distinctly transient and uninteresting figures, with Trevor’s replacement by Mark Austin summing it up – he’s a perfectly adequate reporter but simply doesn’t have the authority or the character that ITN used to be so great at. They seem to have totally lost the knack of picking the right kind of newsreader – only Nick Owen seems to have any sort of personality amidst the solid-but-unspectacular James Mateses and Bill Neelys.

I’m not saying the newsreader is more important than the news, but the Beeb have got figures like Huw Edwards who have personality and charm, while not sacrificing their respectability. Even if the Beeb had always been the more authoritative and serious, ITN’s great characters used to make it much more of a level playing field.

With Trevor’s departure and the closure of the News Channel, this must be the worst week in ITN’s history. And that’s a real shame.


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