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Peter Sissons: Former BBC and ITN newsreader dies at 77

Peter Sissons, the former BBC and ITN newsreader who presented Question Time from 1989 to 1993, has died at the age of 77.

A statement from his management company said he “died peacefully last night” in Maidstone Hospital in Kent.

“His wife and three children were with him and wish to pass on their thanks to the hospital staff,” it continued.

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Sissons joined ITN in 1964 as a writer and became a reporter three years later.

He earned his foreign correspondent’s spurs when he was wounded by gunfire in Biafra in 1968. He was promoted to ITN’s news editor and then industrial editor before becoming a presenter of ITN’s News at One in 1978.

He later moved to Channel 4 to present the channel’s early evening news before joining the BBC in 1989.

In 2002, he faced criticism for wearing a burgundy-coloured tie when breaking the news of the Queen Mother’s death, rather than the customary black.

Sissons retired from broadcasting in 2009. Two years later, he published an autobiography in which he criticised the BBC for what he saw as its left-wing bias.

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Peter Sissons was one of the great television figures of his time – as an interviewer, presenter and world-class journalist. During his distinguished career he was one of the most recognisable and well-respected faces of television news.

“He was always a great person to be with and to work with. He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues and our thoughts are with his family.”

BBC presenter Simon McCoy was among those to pay tribute to a man he called “a great journalist and a fine presenter”.

Former tabloid editor turned TV celebrity Piers Morgan also paid homage, remembering Sissons as a “splendidly combative & amusing man”.

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