It is with much sadness and regret that I have been asked by family and friends to announce the death of Sir Alastair Burnet. He passed away peacefully in the middle of the night at the Beatrice Place Nursing Home in Kensington, where he was being cared for after suffering several strokes. He was 84.
Alastair was one of the greatest journalists of his generation, as much at home in print (he edited The Economist and the Daily Express) as TV news and current affairs, where he was a legendary figure as Britain’s premier newscaster and anchorman.
He played a pivotal role in the rise of ITN as Political Editor, interviewer and newscaster; he launched ITN’s News at Ten, Britain’s first dual-anchored, half-hour newscast — the most successful newscast in British broadcast history; and he will always be remembered for presenting historic live events, from numerous election nights (on BBC and ITV) to US space launches to major royal events.
He will also always be recalled by family, friends and colleagues for his unparalleled professionalism, humour and gentlemanly kindness, especially to journalists starting out on their careers. Joy it was to be in his company and he was an inspiration to many who followed in his footsteps — the broadcasters’ broadcaster. There will be many who wish to pay tribute to him in the days ahead.
The funeral will be a private matter but a memorial service will be organised by his many colleagues in due course.
Alastair’s family has asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time and that all press and other inquiries be directed to me.
(Image: 6th July 1964 – Alastair Burnet and Harold Wilson before a broadcast in the ITV studios.)Tags: Media