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END FINALLY..; Bye bye with Burnet and Bosanquet.

THE final say on the final News at Ten last night went to two of its all-time favourites - Sir Alastair Burnet and Reginald Bosanquet.

Footage of the famous pair was used in Trevor McDonald's "and finally" slot to sign off the 32-year run of TV's best-loved news bulletin.

Sir Alastair and roguish Reggie presented the first News at Ten in 1967.

A TV source said: "We felt it was a fitting tribute. For millions of viewers, they really were News at Ten."

A galaxy of news stars joined in the swansong, including Julia Somerville, Dermot Murnaghan and John Suchet.

Just before the final finale, a six-minute special report presented by veteran reporter Norman Rees covered 17 of the most important chapters in ITN history.

It showed footage of Neil Armstrong's historic walk on the Moon in 1969 and harrowing film of a naked girl running away from a napalm attack in Vietnam in 1972.

Other top stories caught on camera included the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela and the horrific massacres in Goma in 1994.

Today's ice-cool favourite Trevor said: "It's been a privilege to be part of the history of News at Ten."

After the final credits, Trevor and hundreds of staff held a champagne wake in the basement of ITN's headquarters in north London. Trevor will now front a new 6.30pm bulletin from Monday, with a late-night round-up at 11.

One ITN journalist said: "It is the end of an era, but we have to look ahead now.

"The pressure is really on now to make the new news work."

Earlier in the day, lunchtime news presenter Somerville joked about the new schedule.

Her bulletin is moving to an earlier slot and co-presenter Murnaghan is being switched to the new Nightly News at 11.

Turning to Dermot for the last time in the studio, Julia said: "And of course it's the end of the line for our beautiful partnership.

"I'm going to miss him, but I'll be tuning in at 11pm on Monday evening to make sure he behaves himself."

John Suchet, who fronts the current teatime news at 5.40pm, is making way for Trevor McDonald at 6.30pm.

From next Monday, he joins Julia on the lunchtime bulletin.

Programme boss David Liddiment said: "The important thing to remember is that the quality of news will not change, it is just the timing."

He said up to 33 per cent of ITV's audiences switched off when News at Ten came on, adding: "We had to do something about it."

He accepted there would be glitches in the coming weeks and months, but hoped the new schedule would last another 30 years.

For one man, News at Ten has been an extraordinary money- spinner.

The composer behind the famous theme tune has been collecting pounds 7 a night in royalties for the last 32 years - amounting to about pounds 63,000.

Former Top of the Pops producer Johnny Pearson, 74, said: "Every time I hear it, I still get a kick out of it. It's been the introduction to so many historic events I feel nine foot tall."

The ten-second tune that accompanies the famous bongs is just a tiny fraction of the 17-minute Arabesque Suite which Johnny composed in 1966.

The decision to use it was taken at the last-minute and after five days it was nearly dropped. ITN even called in a composer from Disney to produce an alternative.

But a sound mixer persuaded his bosses to stick with it after it was re-mixed - soothing out the more strident tone of the original. It is being re-arranged for the 6.30 news.


News at Ten


Here is the news... from July 3, 1967

Railways strike called off

More Fighting on the Suez Canal

The Queen at Expo '67

Taylor in the Wimbledon semi-finals
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 6, 1999
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