BBC news legend Peter Sissons’ lighter side is revealed in this hilarious dance routine for Children In Need.
The much-loved news anchor, who has died aged 77, was one of the best known faces on British TV.
The newsreader – who Fiona Bruce described as “funny, a bit naughty and so kind” – enjoyed his fair share of laughs over his 40 year career.
In 2001 Sissons danced around the BBC studio to Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice track along with fellow presenters – before finishing the segment saying “and now back to the Children In Need studio”.
In another surprise turn, he cameoed as a newsreader in the Spice Girls’ 1997 film Spice World.
His career was also not without its gaffes.
During his time on News 24, not realising the camera was on him, Sissons watched footage featuring Weakest Link presenter and fellow Liverpudlian Anne Robinson and exclaimed: “That’s not Anne Robinson is it? Jesus Christ. She’s even got new tits.”
Sissons had first begun his career in 1964, working as a writer with ITN before becoming a news reporter.
The journalist then went on to become a foreign correspondent in Biafra, where he was wounded by gunfire in 1968.
After his recovery, he became ITN’s Industrial Editor.
By 1978, he was presenting ITN’s News At One. before going on to become a presenter of BBC’s Question Time from 1989 to 1993.
He moved to the Nine O’Clock News in 1994 and stayed with the programme until it moved to its new time of 10pm.
He was most well-known for breaking the news of the Queen Mother’s death in 2002.
But while he was praised for leading the BBC’s coverage, he also faced criticism for wearing a burgundy tie instead of a black one when making the announcement.
He retired from broadcasting in 2009 and was considered at the time to be one of the UK’s longest-serving news presenters.
The newsreader was named by the Broadcasting Press Guild as the Best Front of Camera Performer in 1984, also winning three consecutive BAFTA awards.
Sissons was also awarded the Royal Television Society’s Judges Award in 1988.
‘AN EXCELLENT JOURNALIST’
Tributes immediately flowed in for the presenter after news of his death, with BBC newsreader Simon McCoy saying: “Very sorry to hear of the death of former colleague Peter Sissons. A great journalist and a fine presenter at ITN and the BBC.”
GMB host Piers Morgan said: “RIP Peter Sissons, 77. An excellent journalist & TV newsreader, and splendidly combative & amusing man.”
Lord Tim Bowes-Lyon added: “Such sad news. I’ve known of Peter all my life. A great #broadcaster. My thoughts are with his family. He’s at peace now.”
Sissons and the Beatles
Sissons attended Dovedale Junior School, which boasts John Lennon and Jimmy Tarbuck among its alumni.
He later attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys, where he met another Beatle, George Harrison, whom he would go on to become friends with.
Many years later, in a 2001 interview with the BBC the Liverpool-born journalist shared anecdotes from his friendship with Harrison.
Recounting an incident from his time at ITN, he told the BBC: “I got a phone call on the news desk and the receptionist said ‘George Harrison is here to see you’.
“I went down to reception and there was George in reception with most of the Hare Krishna people from Oxford Street.
“The place was full of these men in saffron robes and in the middle was George in a rather way-out sort of hippie suit.
“He said to me: ‘Peter, I’ve got a terrific story for the news, it’ll be the lead story, you’ve got to put it on the news tonight’.
“I said: ‘Terrific, what is it?’
“He said: ‘Peace’.
“I said: ‘Hang on, where?’
“He said: ‘Just peace, it’s a great thing, you’ve got to put it on the news’.
“I explained there had to be a bit more to it than that to make the lead on News at Ten. We promptly parted on very good terms.”
Following Harrison’s death he said the Beatle was “a gentleman and a great musician”.
BBC Director General Tony Hall also 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.”
ITN consumer editor Chris Choi also wrote: “Great sadness here at ITN at the death of Peter Sissons who worked here from 1964, he was Industrial Editor in the 1970s and then presenter of News at One”.
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The married dad-of-three had lived in Sevenoaks, Kent.
He was born in Liverpool in 1942, studying at the Liverpool Institute High School before reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford.
He had gone to school with the Beatles – Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison.