A distinguished elder statesman of British television news, having fronted programmes on all the major terrestrial channels, Peter Sissons has been a familiar face on British television for nearly 45 years.
Born in Liverpool, at various times he counted John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison among his schoolmates. He read Philosophy Politics and Economics at Oxford before joining ITN as a graduate trainee in 1964. He became a reporter when News at Ten was launched in 1967, and was badly wounded by gunfire the following year when covering the Biafran War. While continuing to appear on camera, he was appointed ITN News Editor in 1969, its Industrial Correspondent in 1970 and Industrial Editor in 1972.
Having been a regular stand-in newscaster for ten years, he made his full-time debut on ITN’s News at One in 1978. Four years later he became the first presenter of the ITN-produced Channel Four News. During his tenure, the programme won three consecutive BAFTAS, and Sissons himself won the highest award of the Royal Television Society, the Judges’ Award, in 1988.
In 1989, the BBC asked Sissons to present the Six o’Clock News and chair its political discussion programme Question Time, following the retirement of its founder Robin Day. Sissons held both positions for nearly five years, becoming presenter of the flagship Nine o’Clock News from January 1994 (the Ten o’Clock News from October 2000). He was also a key presenter of live general election coverage, in every general election since 1974 at ITN, and continuing at the BBC in the 1990s.