Continuing our theme of ‘famous scousers’ todays’ article is about one of our most well-known newscasters. Peter George Sissons was born in Liverpool on 17th July 1942 he later attended Dovedale Road Junior School, along with John Lennon and Jimmy Tarbuck and after taking the 11+ examination he went on to the Liverpool Institute for Boys. He attended the institute from 1953 to 1961, amongst his fellow pupils were, Bill Kenwright, Stephen Norris, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. Peter went on to study at University College, Oxford where he was Treasurer of the University College Players.
|Dovedale County Junior School|
Peter Sissons was a household name in TV, news and current affairs were his passion and he started work at ITN as a writer in 1964, becoming a reporter some three years later and retiring in the summer of 2009 after nearly 45 years with ITN and the BBC. During that time he was wounded by gunfire while covering the Biafran War. His first period as a newsreader came in 1976 when he began anchoring ITN's 'News at One' bulletins alternately with Leonard Parkin, until the first incarnation of the series was dropped by ITV in 1987 after Leonard Parkin decided to retire from ITN; Sissons subsequently left for the BBC. He joined the BBC in 1989 as presenter of ‘Question Time’ and was also the joint presenter of the ‘Six O’clock News’.
In 2002, Peter Sissons announced the death of The Queen Mother on the BBC. His broadcast created a minor controversy, as he wore a burgundy tie as opposed to a black one, deemed more appropriate by some for such news. His response when questioned about this was simply “The reporter should not become part of the story”.
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Peter portrayed a spoof version of himself in ‘The Life of Python’, a light hearted documentary about the Monty Python's Flying Circus television show, in which he led an interview of the five surviving Pythons together, which consisted entirely of them all saying "Hello"
In 2011, Peter published,’ When One Door Closes’, in which he claimed that BBC News had a bias towards the political Left and complained that The Guardian was the first newspaper that was turned to for a lead on stories.
Peter was appointed as a member of the ‘Hillsborough Independent Panel’ whose main tasks have been to ensure the maximum possible disclosure of documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster and to make recommendations to the government concerning the creation of, and access to, a permanent archive of the documents.
He is quoted as saying,
“Our overwhelming duty is to the families – not just those who lost relatives but also the people who survived and remain traumatised, and will probably never recover. These people are in our sights all the time. This is why we are doing it – we are doing it for them”.
Peter was turned down for a trainee reporter’s job on the ECHO in 1964, but he still credits his Liverpool background with making him the successful man he became.
After a 45-year career spanning the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, Peter Sissons is more qualified to comment than most on the state of British media, current affairs and the world at large. When One Door Closes is a hugely entertaining account of the distinguished and popular career of one of television s best-known anchors. Funny, hard hitting, and savage where his feelings are strongest, Sissons has seen both the BBC and commercial television at their best and their worst, and has original and highly readable views on what he has encountered.