Scotland

Former BBC presenter John Milne dies

  • 15 July 2014
  • From the section Scotland

Former BBC Scotland broadcaster John Milne has died at the age of 72.

Mr Milne, born and brought up in Dundee, retired in 2007 after a BBC career spanning almost 40 years.

He became known nationwide as the first presenter of Good Morning Scotland (GMS) on BBC Radio Scotland before presenting Reporting Scotland for 10 years during the 1980s and 1990s.

For much of the 2000s, he was a presenter on television's Newsnight Scotland.

He went on to present radio's Newsweek Scotland on Saturday mornings before retiring on his 65th birthday.

Former colleague and current Reporting Scotland presenter Jackie Bird said: "He was Reporting Scotland.

"I was in awe at working with someone with such a reputation, but he turned out to be warm and welcoming with a fantastically dry sense of humour.

"He was a true Scottish broadcasting great."

Mr Milne, who anchored GMS for more than 20 years from its launch on Hogmanay 1973, also reported on the UK-wide Nationwide television news magazine and on the Seven Days and Current Account documentary series.

John Milne presenting Good Morning Scotland in 1978
John Milne presenting Good Morning Scotland in 1978
Milne was one of the main presenters of the BBC's coverage of the 1979 referendum
Milne was one of the main presenters of the BBC's coverage of the 1979 referendum
John Milne presenting Reporting Scotland in 1988
John Milne presenting Reporting Scotland in 1988

He helped shape the character of Scottish current affairs journalism, recoiling at a slide towards "skateboarding ducks" witnessed in some English regions despite welcoming a more relaxed style of TV presentation.

'Grittier and analytical'

Good Morning Scotland presenters, 10th anniversary, 1983.
Good Morning Scotland presenters, 10th anniversary, 1983. Back row: Mike Russell, Bill Jack, Magnus Magnusson, John Milne, Joanna Hickson, Haig Gordon, George Reid. Front: Neville Garden, Mary Marquis.

"That sort of showbiz approach is not natural to me, nor to a great many Scots," he admitted. "And I don't think I'd be very good at a song-and-dance routine.

"Although you're one-to-one in someone's living-room, I think we're grittier here in Scotland, more willing to accept an analytical element, the bringing together of news and current affairs in a way that's much more satisfying journalistically."

Having attended Harris Academy, Dundee, Mr Milne began his journalism career in print journalism with DC Thomson before moving to The Scotsman.

Seeking a move into broadcasting, he joined the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, who were setting up an English-language news service, in Berne.

He joined the BBC in 1971, initially in the Aberdeen office as a reporter, replacing Donnie B MacLeod, who had just been hired by the BBC's daily Pebble Mill at One TV programme, and moved to Glasgow in 1973.

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