Alastair Stewart

Alastair James Stewart OBE (born 22 June 1952) is an English journalist and newscaster, formerly presenting for ITV News.

Alastair Stewart

Alastair Stewart 31.08.07.jpg
Stewart in 2007
Born
Alastair James Stewart

(1952-06-22) 22 June 1952 (age 68)
Gosport, Hampshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
OccupationJournalist, presenter
Years active1976–present
Notable credit(s)
ITN (1980—2020)
TitleAlastair Stewart OBE
Spouse(s)Sally Ann Jung (m. 1978)
Children4

Stewart joined Southern Television in 1976 then joined ITN in 1980 where he served 3 years with Channel 4 News and then went on to become a main newsreader with ITV News. He remained in this role for more than 35 years, making him the longest-serving male newsreader on British television, having worked in both local and national news for 44 years. He has been a relief presenter for TalkRadio since the summer of 2020.

He is a patron of a number of charities, including Kids for Kids – helping children in Darfur,[1] disability charity Scope[2] and Brooke – action for working horses and donkeys.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Stewart was born in Gosport, Hampshire[4] to a Scottish father from Invergarry and an English mother. His father served in the Royal Air Force his mother was a WREN. "Profile: Alastair Stewart, chairman of the leaders TV debate". The Scotsman. 15 April 2010. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011.</ref>[5]

Stewart was educated in Scotland, at the state school Madras College, St. Andrews, Fife, then in England at the independent school Salesian College, Farnborough, Hampshire and at St. Augustine's Abbey School in Ramsgate, Kent,[citation needed] followed by the University of Bristol, where he studied economics and politics[6] and worked for the National Union of Students from 1974–76.[6]

CareerEdit

1970sEdit

Stewart's career in television started in 1976 with ITV's south of England company Southern Television in Southampton.[7] He was a reporter, industrial correspondent, presenter and documentary maker. He recorded one of the last interviews with Lord Mountbatten before he was assassinated by the IRA in 1979,[8] and spent six weeks in Ford Open Prison to make a half-hour documentary.[6]

1980sEdit

He joined ITN in 1980 as industrial correspondent,[6] soon joining its roster of additional newsreaders. From 1983[7] to 1986, he was a presenter and reporter with ITN's Channel 4 News, and also presented ITN's News at 5.45.

Stewart provided live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as the details of the tragedy unfolded.[7] A two-minute newsflash became an unscripted, one-hour special programme. He also anchored, with Sandy Gall, the award-winning coverage on ITN on the night of the bombing of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie[7] and presented the ITV network coverage of the memorial service for the victims.

He moved again in May 1989, to ITN's flagship News at Ten bulletin,[7] which he anchored live from the fall of the Berlin Wall, before spending a year in the United States as ITN's Washington correspondent. Four days after returning from his assignment in Washington he was sent to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to anchor ITN's coverage of the Gulf War. He presented News at Ten, live from Saudi Arabia for two months. At the end of February, Stewart became the first British television reporter to broadcast live from the liberated Kuwait City. He presented News at Ten from Kuwait for a week before returning to the UK.

1990sEdit

ITN's network coverage of the 1992 Budget saw the ninth year of Stewart's involvement in the presentation of the annual event for ITV.[8] It was his fifth year anchoring the programme having replaced Sir Alastair Burnet, who retired from ITN in 1991.

During his time with ITN, he has also provided the commentary for many of its other special programmes on the ITV network including the State Openings of Parliament, numerous by-elections, state visits and for the Royal Weddings of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer and The Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson.

From 1993 to September 2009, he was the co-presenter of ITV London's regional news programme London Tonight.

He has also presented Alastair Stewart's Sunday for BBC Radio 5 in 1994. Then in 1995, he joined GMTV, where he anchored Alastair Stewart's Sunday Programme until 2001.

Stewart has also presented Police Camera Action!, which originally started in 1994, on ITV, showing video footage of examples of road crime from police cars. In 2003, he was dropped from this role after his second conviction for drink driving. He was more than three times the legal limit (i.e. more than two times over the limit) when his car crashed in Hampshire.[9] Episodes that had already been recorded for broadcast in 2002 were finally shown in January 2006. Later, in September 2007, a new series of Police Camera Action! had returned to screens, primarily with new presenter Adrian Simpson, but with Stewart being reinstated to introduce and conclude each episode.[citation needed]

Stewart made a brief appearance on Bad Girls, as a news reporter who reported character Monica Lindsay's successful appeal. He also appeared as himself in a scene cut from the 1999 film Notting Hill, interviewing William Thacker's (Hugh Grant) flatmate Spike (Rhys Ifans). The scene appears as a DVD extra.

2000sEdit

Stewart was a presenter on the now defunct ITV News Channel for the 2003 Iraq War presenting a weekday programme called Live with Alastair Stewart.

He has also been a regular presence in ITV's national election coverage, co-anchoring their network coverage of the general elections of 2005 (with Jonathan Dimbleby), 1997 (with Dimbleby and Michael Brunson), 1992 (with Jon Snow) and 1987 with Alastair Burnet. He was the main anchor of Election Night Live: America Decides, ITV's through-the-night programme covering the 2008 US Presidential Elections.

In February 2007, he became co-presenter of the ITV Lunchtime News, replacing Nicholas Owen. The bulletin was revamped in July 2009, from which point Stewart became one of two main alternate newscasters for the programme. Also in 2007, he hosted a political programme for ITV, Moral of the Story, which aired at various late times on Sunday nights, but was decommissioned after failing to attract substantial viewing figures.

In August 2009, it was announced that he would become main co-presenter of the ITV Evening News, relinquishing his role as presenter of London Tonight. This came into effect from 7 September 2009. It was also announced simultaneously that he would be the main presenter of ITV's general election results programme in 2010.[10]

Stewart is a fan of the band The Rolling Stones, winning Celebrity Mastermind on 29 December 2009 with them as his specialist subject.[11]

2010sEdit

On 15 April 2010, Stewart moderated the first ever United Kingdom political leaders debates between the Prime Ministerial candidates in the 2010 general election, featuring the incumbent Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, debating on live television. Three debates were to take place, produced by ITV, the BBC and Sky. By random lots, ITV drew the first debate, and chose Stewart to act as moderator.

Stewart received honorary doctorates from the University of Plymouth in September 2010, from the University of Winchester in 2011,[12] and from the University of Sunderland in 2012.[13]

On 28 December 2014, Stewart presented a one-off ITV documentary called Unbelievable Moments: Caught on Camera. The programme returned for further episodes in January 2016 and 2017.[14]

In 2015, Stewart made his West End theatrical debut in An Evening with Lucian Freud by Laura-Jane Foley.[15] He played a hapless interviewer appearing on video alongside Cressida Bonas, Russell Grant and Maureen Lipman.[16]

In June 2015, it was announced that, as part of a wider restructure at ITV News, Mark Austin would return to the ITV Evening News full-time, alongside Mary Nightingale from October 2015. Alastair Stewart continues to appear on the programme as a relief newscaster, alongside his duties on the ITV Lunchtime News.[17] Coinciding with the main presenter line-up, the programme is once again being referred to as the ITV Evening News.[18]

He presented ITV News coverage of the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.[19] He also appeared on Celebrity Mastermind for the second time in December 2019, answering questions on Lewis Hamilton.[11]

2020sEdit

On 29 January 2020, Stewart voluntarily stepped down as an ITV News presenter after admitting to multiple "errors of judgement" in his use of social media which breached ITN editorial guidelines.[20] Stewart deleted his Twitter account (@alstewitn) before the announcement of his departure was made.[21]

In one widely reported tweet, he had quoted from Measure for Measure using the line "Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd - His glassy elegance - like an angry ape" while addressing a Black man with whom he had disagreed on Twitter. Martin Shapland, the person referred to in the tweet, said "I understand that Mr Stewart has acknowledged the words he used were misjudged and has expressed regret at what happened. I thank him for that... It is regrettable that he has decided to stand down and I take no pleasure in that."[22]

Since the summer of 2020, he has acted as a releif presenter for TalkRadio, standing in for presenters like Julia Hartley-Brewer, Ian Collins, and Dan Wooton at various times.

Personal lifeEdit

In 2003, Stewart was banned from driving for 23 months and fined £3,000; he had been arrested, charged and convicted of drink driving after crashing his car into a hedge and telegraph pole whilst three times over the drink drive limit.[23]

Stewart has been married to Sally Ann Jung since 1978 and has four children. Stewart lives in Hampshire.[24]

CharityEdit

Stewart is an active supporter of a number of charities, including Kids for Kids which helps villages in Darfur.[1] and Patron of Naomi House & Jacksplace, hospices for children and young adults, near Winchester. He is also an ambassador for Action for Children and a Patron for Brooke - Action for working horses and donkeys.[25]

Stewart has appeared twice on the celebrity editions of game show The Chase. His first appearance was on 19 October 2013. His second appearance was a Text Santa special on 20 December 2013 and featured his fellow ITV News presenters Romilly Weeks, Matt Barbet, and Charlene White.

Awards and honoursEdit

FilmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Kids for Kids patrons list
  2. ^ "Patrons - Disability charity Scope UK". www.scope.org.uk.
  3. ^ "Brooke - Action for Working Horses and Donkeys". www.thebrooke.org.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b Sykes, Kathy (20 February 2008). "Alastair James Stewart OBE, Doctor of Laws". University of Bristol. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d "Archive: Birthdays from Birmingham Post, HighBeam Research".[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d e "Alastair Stewart: My Life in Media". The Independent. 31 July 2006.
  8. ^ a b Alastair Stewart, Now You're Talking speaker agency Archived 21 April 2013 at Archive.today
  9. ^ "Drink-driving TV host dropped". BBC News. 1 July 2003.
  10. ^ Plunkett, John (19 August 2009). "More Mark Austin on News at Ten". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  11. ^ a b "When Celebrity Mastermind is on TV – plus who is taking part". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Nicola Weatherall, "Sunderland University to honour Eddie Izzard, Charlie Spedding and Alastair Stewart", The Journal, 5 July 2012
  14. ^ "Unbelievable Moments - Caught on Camera Episode 1".
  15. ^ "Londoner's Diary". standard.co.uk.
  16. ^ Shilling, Jane (19 May 2015). "An Evening with Lucian Freud". The Daily Telegraph.
  17. ^ "Tom Bradby set to become main presenter of ITV News at Ten". ITV News. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  18. ^ "ITV Evening News". DigiGuide. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  19. ^ "How can I follow the EU referendum result with ITV?". ITV News. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Alastair Stewart's exit due to multiple 'errors of judgment'". The Guardian. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  21. ^ Blackall, Molly (29 January 2020). "Alastair Stewart quits as ITV presenter over 'errors of judgment'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  22. ^ "TV hosts speak up for Stewart after ITV News exit". BBC News. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Stewart banned over drink-drive crash". The Guardian. 1 July 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  24. ^ Swann, Yvonne (7 May 2009). "My Perfect Weekend: Alastair Stewart". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Alastair Stewart - Brooke". www.thebrooke.org.

External linksEdit

Media offices
Preceded by
John Stapleton
Royal Television Society
2005
Succeeded by
Jeremy Thompson
Preceded by
Nicholas Owen
Male host, ITV Lunchtime News
2007 – 2020
Succeeded by
TBC
Preceded by
Mark Austin

1st time

Male co-host, ITV Evening News
2009 – 2015
Succeeded by
Mark Austin

2nd time

Preceded by
N/A
Deputy Newscaster, ITV News at Ten
2009 – 2020
Succeeded by
Nina Hossain