Mike Neville says goodnight ( for now.
Tv presenter Mike Neville has announced the end of his 40-year daily television career after admitting defeat in his battle against illness.
The region's best known broadcaster is to step down from the Tyne Tees news programme North East Tonight, though he still hopes to work in TV occasionally.
His announcement marks the end of a career stretching back to the 1960s, which included a long spell at the BBC and occasional forays into national television.
Figures in the regional and national broadcasting world last night paid tribute to Mr Neville, who has been off work since lifesaving emergency surgery to remove a blood clot last July.
He had originally hoped to return to his job as the daily news presenter but has now admitted that that won't happen.
Tyne Tees bosses have begun the search for his successor, though in the short term they will continue with a rolling team of presenters on their nightly news programme.
Mr Neville said yesterday: "I've been thrilled at the number of letters and cards I've received from viewers over the past months whilst I've been recuperating.
"I am going to miss being invited into their homes every evening at six o'clock.
"But as one chapter ends, another begins. I'm keeping the door open with ITV and I'm working on other projects. I'm not quite ready for retirement."
The first British TV presenter to rack up 40 years in daily broadcasting, Mr Neville is best known as the long-serving host of BBC Look North. He was a regular presenter of the national show Nationwide in the 1970s, but resisted offers to move to London full-time to remain in his native North-East.
His career saw him pick up a number of broadcasting awards, as well as an MBE in 1990 for services to television and an honorary degree from Northumbria University.
Friend and ITN newsreader Nicholas Owen ( who had Mr Neville as his best man ( yesterday led the tributes to him.
He said: "We're not going to see his like again.
"When Mike Neville walked into Gateshead Register office to be my best man, the registrar was so lost for words that I sometimes wonder if I'm actually married.
"I learned almost every aspect of this job that I do from Mike Neville. He was simply very good at what he does."
Former BBC colleague Chris Jackson ( who was one of the presenters who took over from Mr Neville when he went to Tyne Tees in 1996 ( said: "He sent us a good luck card when we took over. He didn't have to do that because he was joining the opposition, but he wished us well and that was a sign of the man."
One NorthEast chairman Margaret Fay, who was Tyne Tees managing director when Mr Neville returned to the channel, said: "I worked with Mike for many years, and have fond memories of that time."
Mr Neville, 69, lives in Whickham, Gateshead, with his wife Pam. They have a daughter and four grandchildren.
An advert for Mr Neville's replacement will be put out soon, although it is likely that North East Tonight will switch to have two regular presenters.
1936 ( Mike Neville is born in Willington Quay, Wallsend. Attends the Addison Potter Infant and Junior School, then Stephenson Memorial Secondary Modern in Howdon.
1951 ( first job at the Northern Guild of Commerce and Chamber of Trade, then editorial assistant in Newcastle offices of the Daily Mail.
1955 ( National Service in Cyprus and demobbed as a corporal two years later.
1957 ( quits as insurance agent to go on stage at Newcastle Playhouse. He joins the repertory company full time.
1962 ( gets job as an announcer and newsreader for Tyne Tees TV and marries Pam, whom he met while in rep in Blyth.
1964 ( Joins BBC in Newcastle.
1969 ( begins Larn Yersel Geordie skits with fellow BBC presenter George House.
1975 ( The Mike Neville Show, a series of three programmes based on his life in National Service, rep and TV.
1976 ( BBC Nationwide guest presenter.
1984 ( is off air for 10 weeks with broken leg ( 1,000 letters and cards flood in.
1987 ( Royal Television Society marks his 25 years in North-East TV.
1989 ( walks out of BBC after row over changes to format of Look North, The row is settled and he returns to front Look North.
1989 ( caught by TV prankster Noel Edmunds with a "Gotcha". He is tricked into thinking he is filling seven minutes of airtime because there is a technical fault.
1990 ( MBE for services to broadcasting.
1993 ( musician Jez Lowe brings out Mike Neville Said It (So It Must Be True).
1993 ( presents BBC2 documentary on Wallsend and the Swan Hunter closure.
1996 ( return to Tyne Tees ( goes on to front the local news for almost 10 years, and The Mike Neville Show.
1998 ( World Service Medal in New York for best news magazine programme.
2001 ( "unique achievement" award from the Royal Television Society after 40 years as daily a TV presenter.
2003 ( Tom Cordner North-East Press Awards ( outstanding contribution award.
2005 ( honorary degree from Northumbria University.
2006 ( retires from North-East Tonight.