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