Obituary: Chris Tye

Chris Tye Chris Tye: 'calm, wise, judicious.'

Chris Tye was a stalwart of the World Service Newsroom for nearly 40 years.

His BBC career began in 1971 and ended in 2009, stretching from the Vietnam War to the global financial crisis.

Chris trained in the north-west of England, beginning his career on local newspapers. In 1967 he emigrated to Australia where he worked in the press and with the ABC. He returned home to the World Service.

He did spells in the domestic newsroom, in the parliamentary unit and World Service Television. But Bush House newsroom was where his heart was.

Start Quote

In a newsroom which could be harsh and unforgiving, he was unfailingly generous and helpful”

End Quote Sally-Anne Thomas Former Newsroom Editor, World Service News

He rose to duty editor, frequently acting up to SDE, and gained a reputation for being fair, balanced and having first class news judgment. But mostly, people remember Chris for being kind. In a newsroom which could be harsh and unforgiving, he was unfailingly generous and helpful: many new journalists benefitted from his advice.

'Strong personality'

That's not to say he was a soft touch. Chris had firm views, about management, the union and the news of the day, and was not afraid to express them. But he managed to combine a strong personality with a gentle and courteous manner.

In appearance he was tall - one might almost say gangling - and slender. He'd approach the desk, his head slightly on one side. A self-deprecating smile.

'Um… I just wonder if we really ought to be saying this…'

No sane editor ignored one of Chris's interventions.

One senior journalist said: 'Chris was a model writer - calm, wise, judicious.'

Another wrote: 'Chris was a dream to work with: top writer, great judgment, totally reliable, utterly unflappable.'

And another: 'A true gentleman and a first class journalist: thoughtful, conscientious, self-effacing - a thoroughly decent bloke.'

'Wonderful anecdotes'

That word 'decent' crops up again and again, along with 'lovely' and 'gentle'. These are not normally adjectives associated with journalists. But Chris was no cynical, hard-bitten hack.

Someone said: 'I never heard him say a mean word about anyone. And I never heard anyone say a mean word about Chris.'

That's not a bad accolade.

He was also a very funny man - a good drinking companion and a source of wonderful anecdotes.

Chris leaves his wife, Vivien, son Nick, daughters Rachel and Hannah and his grandson Joseph.

Sally-Anne Thomas, former newsroom editor, World Service News


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