England

Family pay tribute to 'superb' broadcaster Mike Neville

Mike Neville
Image caption Mike Neville presented Look North for decades before switching to Tyne Tees for the last 10 years of his career

The family of former broadcaster Mike Neville have been "overwhelmed" by messages of condolence following his death after a battle with cancer.

The 80-year-old, who was the face of television news for decades in the North East, passed away in hospital on Wednesday.

A short statement from his family said it was "a great comfort" to know he had been so popular with the public.

Former colleagues described him as "hilarious" and "a dear friend".

'Meant so much'

Mr Neville was married to wife Pam and had a daughter Carolyn and grandchildren.

The family statement said: "Mike died peacefully in hospital surrounded by his family.

"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and messages of condolence at this difficult time.

"It has been a great comfort to know that Mike meant so much to so many."

North East-born comedian Bob Mortimer described him as a "superb" broadcaster and was one of many tweeting the hashtag "DadToTheNorthEast".

His comedy partner Vic Reeves also posted a tribute, saying: "Our Look North hero".

Pam Royle, who worked with Mr Neville at Tyne Tees after he moved to ITV in 1996 following 32 years at the BBC, said: "Mike was exactly the same off-camera as on.

"He was great fun to be with, hilarious and always on good form. We have lost a dear friend."

She added: "They were very happy days belonging to a different era of TV.

"He was always happy and jolly. And the same on air. A privilege and a pleasure to work with."

Recalling her time working with him as a young reporter in Newcastle, BBC News presenter Kate Silverton tweeted: "RIP Mike - my first TV inspiration and mentor as a cub reporter in the NE he was kind, generous, funny & fun - he will be sorely missed".

Graeme Thompson, former head of news at Tyne Tees, told BBC Newcastle he believed the presenter had "that great mix of being very self-deprecating but authoritative".

He said: "I don't think we'll see the likes of Mike Neville ever again - someone who has grown up and practised his art and his skills to such a massive audience for so many years.

"I do think in these multi-channel days it's going to be very hard for someone to have that kind of staying power in British television."

Image caption Mr Neville started his broadcast career in 1962, presenting Look North, Nationwide and North East Tonight before his retirement in 2006
Image caption Mike Neville celebrated being awarded an MBE in 1990 with his wife Pam

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