Cliff Michelmore, who was one of BBC television and radio’s leading figures for decades, has died aged 96 at Petersfield Hospital
The Isle of Wight-born presenter, who anchored coverage of the Apollo moon landings and several general elections, was best known as the long-running presenter of BBC magazine programme Tonight.
BBC director-general Tony Hall led tributes to the “outstanding broadcaster”, who was likeable to audiences yet possessed the skill to carry out hard-hitting interviews and hold his nerve while covering events of great historical importance.
Michelmore, whose broadcasting career began in the Second World War, was made a CBE in 1969. For many years, he was the anchorman on the Day by Day evening news show on Southern TV.
He died at Petersfield Hospital after being admitted last week, his son told the BBC.
Lord Hall said the former RAF squadron leader was “a national figure at a time when there were just two channels”.
He added: “I still remember as a boy watching Cliff Michelmore presenting Tonight live five times a week in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
“He was natural, warm, engaging - he was utterly himself and showed he was one of us. His personal approach recast the role of the TV presenter at the BBC and he was loved by audiences for it.”
In a 2013 interview, Sir Michael Parkinson ranked Michelmore with broadcasting greats Sir David Frost and Alan Whicker and hailed the standards their generation set in broadcasting.
ITV news anchor Alastair Stewart described Michelmore as a “truly great presenter and a delightful man”.
He tweeted: “ So sad to learn of the death of #CliffMichelmore - #TwoWayFamilyFavourites in my childhood & a co-worker in the late 70s at SouthernITV.#RIP”