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Cerys Griffiths | 11:45 UK time, Thursday, 7 September 2006

I can’t take credit for first hiring a tabloid newspaper editor to present BBC output.

nwt.gifMy colleague John Clayton at Radio Lancashire did that; Tony Livesey, the former editor of the Daily Sport, has been presenting the Breakfast show there (very successfully) for the last 15 months.

So to hire him to present North West Tonight’s sports desk twice a week was not the courageous move it might appear. He had form. (Watch his debut performance here.)

Tony LiveseyHowever, it naturally raised a few eyebrows – you can’t gloss over the fact that Tony did edit a newspaper primarily interested in sex and alien stories. However he doesn’t edit it anymore and he is a very experienced journalist, who began his career as a sports reporter.

What really sells him as a sports presenter though is his love of sport, a genuine fan who congratulates himself on being Burnley FCs fourth most famous supporter.

It’s that and his very un-presenter-like manner. Tony doesn’t interview people, he chats to them. It’s a simple difference which has proved very disarming.

Freddie Flintoff got on famously with him, one football manager was happy to natter away at a bus stop while he waited for the team coach. And he’s currently in Latvia having a chinwag with the Russian billionaire who’s bought Blackpool FC – watch on Friday to discover some truly startling revelations from that interview.

So what’s he like? Not some scary amalgam of Kelvin McKenzie and Piers Morgan that’s for sure. Tony is quietly spoken, self-deprecating, desperate to learn and terminally scruffy.
In fact we’ve had no complaints yet about his association with boobs and bad headlines, just e-mails decrying his beard and bad haircut.

It’s early days yet but I believe Tony will charm the North West Tonight viewers in the same way he’s charmed the Radio Lancashire listeners. And that he’ll bring a refreshing fans-eye view to our sports journalism. I may have to introduce him to a razor though.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 12:11 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

I caught a bit of Tony's sports magic a week or so back.

It was good to see a slightly more unconventional presenter on the telly for a change, and somebody who doesn't look like they 'just stepped out a salon'.

Tony is a breath of fresh air, and long may his reign in Manchester continue!

Cerys: I think BBC NW Tonight did the right thing in hiring Tony Livesay. I hear his programmes [at times] on the Internet in Miami Florida [although pre recorded]. He is one of the few who is an expert in sports.

  • 3.
  • At 02:45 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

I think Tony's a great presenter and it's really good to have another character on NWT. Who's bothered that Tony used to edit a downmarket newspaper if he can now present the sport competently and with a genuine passion for the subject! NWT continues to be the best regional news programme by far, with down-to-earth, friendly presenters and reporters, and you are to be congratulated on this.

He did come across as being intelligent and funny on the Have I Got News For You appearance he made a few years ago (when he was still editor of The Sport).

And I don't see why people should be hung up on whether he's got bad hair or a poor attempt at a beard. Mind you, I would say that, as I also have bad hair and an unshaven chin.

Any chance of getting him on Match of the Day instead of the dreary, unfunny Lineker/Wright?

  • 5.
  • At 05:54 PM on 17 Jul 2007,
  • Jan Hodgkinson wrote:

When Tony first started on NWT didn't like him at all but like Roses he has grown on me and now I look forward to seeing him. I think his scruffinous is part of his charm.

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