Stewart departed, without telling any of his colleagues, by announcing his departure from Look East live on last evenings programme.
Stewart, 74, presented his final show on Thursday, September 30. He said goodbye at the end of the 6.30pm programme, thanking viewers who have let him into their homes for four decades. In total, he has presented more than 10,000 programmes, covered the biggest stories in the East, and interviewed thousands of people in the region.
Stewart leaves both his role presenting the 6.30pm evening news on BBC One and the weekly regional political programme on Sundays. He only told the highest execs at the local Beeb station about his impending farewell.
“Stewart is a broadcasting giant. He’s had an incredible career at the BBC and achieved many, many things but most importantly earned the trust, respect and affection of our viewers.” – Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England
Prior to his role at BBC East, Stewart joined ITV in the late 70s as a ‘continuity announcer’ introducing programmes first for Southern Television in the south, then with ATV for the Midlands, this also at the time included hosting news bulletins in the morning, birthday greetings for young viewers and community output such as job listings and local events. Stewart remained with the ITV offering when it relaunched as Central in 1982, again in the presentation department.
While with ATV and Central he also popped up on programmes including ATV’s regional football programme Star Soccer and was the only human to feature in an episode of satirical puppet show Spitting Image. (All be it before the opening titles).
“This is a sad day for me. I have spent 37 very happy years at BBC Look East. I have interviewed prime ministers, archbishops, Hollywood superstars and top musicians. I have challenged and celebrated, but the most important thing for me is that at 6.30pm every evening hundreds of thousands of people have invited me into their homes to take them through the news of the day.
“I have never taken that for granted and am honoured to have been a part of so many lives for so long. I will miss it with all of my heart, but the time is right.” – Stewart White
Before moving to ITV and into television Stewart’s first job at the Beeb was as a studio manager before he switched to the other side of the microphone. He had short stints at several local BBC radio stations including Radio Derby.
Other voice work includes on ATV soap opera Crossroads where Stewart was heard as the tannoy voice on the QE2 episode that saw the departure from the saga of Noele Gordon as Meg Mortimer. He also voiced a radio report for the serial which covered in a scene the infamous 1981 motel fire as Adam Chance (Tony Adams) and Diane Hunter (Susan Hanson) listened to the bad news.
In this evening’s edition of Look East, the show visited Stewart at home and paid tribute to the host with an on-screen farewell package.
“It’s typical of Stewart that he has asked to keep his final programme a quiet affair but I do want to pay tribute to a talented broadcaster, a brilliant journalist, and a kind colleague. We all wish him well for the future and thank him for his immense contribution over four decades.” – Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England