Video: An emotional Harry Gration says farewell to BBC Look North

21 Oct 2020 @ 7.23 pm
| Entertainment

Legendary Look North presenter Harry Gration, who lives in York, has left the BBC after 42 years.

The broadcaster has just finished his last edition of the show, not this time on the iconic red sofa but live from Barnsley, reporting on Covid restrictions in South Yorkshire.

At the end of the show, as you can see, he was a little emotional and weather presenter Paul Hudson handed him a toilet roll in case he got tearful.

Here’s the moment Harry Gration signed off BBC Look North for the final time. Thank you for everything, Harry.

Posted by BBC Yorkshire on Wednesday, 21 October 2020

His departure follows cutbacks to regional programming brought in by Helen Thomas, the director of BBC England, which meant Look North could only have one presenter.

Under plans to make £25 million in savings, the BBC is to cut 450 jobs in its English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news operation.

So Harry has decided it’s time for him to move on.

Biggest buzz

Harry Gration on the Look North sofa – Photo by BBC Yorkshire

He said the biggest buzz he ever had from the job was meeting the people of Yorkshire.

Harry joined the BBC in 1978 and has presented Look North since 1982. Following his decision to leave, his co-presenter, Amy Garcia, will continue as lead presenter.

Harry said: “For the past four decades, it’s been a privilege to meet the people of the county I love. Make no mistake, these good folk are the heartbeat of the programme.

“I’ve worked with the best of the best and leave Look North in the good hands of Amy and the team, although I don’t know how Paul Hudson is going to cope without me checking his forecasts!

“Seriously though, I’ll miss my good old mate.

“I’m looking forward to some new broadcasting adventures and some special time with my family and a certain one-year-old!”

They continued to joke right up til the end as Harry handed over to Paul tonight by saying “For the very last time here’s Paul with an accurate forecast for the very first time”

Harry was born in Bradford, and brought up in Leeds and York, attending St Peter’s School in the city.

He began filing match reports for the BBC while working as a history teacher in the mid 1970s. He joined BBC Radio Leeds as sports editor in 1978, before going on to commentate on the Olympics and Paralympics and present ionic shows such as Grandstand, Sportsnight and even Match of the Day.

Harry also had a spell presenting South Today in Southampton in the mid 1990s and was just as successful with an audience of Southerners.

He has covered nine Olympic Games for the BBC and won two Royal Television Society awards for his sports documentaries: White Rose in Africa in 1992 and Dickie Bird: A Rare Species in 1997.

He won the prestigious RTS Best Presenter award twice. 

Harry has completed several exhausting challenges for BBC Children in Need and BBC Sport Relief, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes.

These included pushing a sofa around Yorkshire and walking 120 miles with one leg strapped to weather presenter Paul Hudson.

Harry continued: “I’ve interviewed every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher, covered every major Look North story even at the expense of my holidays, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“I’ve always lived the story. Horrendous events such as the devastating news of Jo Cox’s death, the disastrous floods of recent times, the Bradford Riots, Hillsborough, have always affected me. They were always an assault on my county.

“Stand-out moments include raising over £800,000 on a tandem, pushing a sofa and being tied to Paul: three challenges my body will never forget!

“And then to be awarded an MBE for Services to Broadcasting. I know I served each and every one of you.”