Warman has been a regular on screens since 1973.
Midland ITV broadcaster Bob Warman has today announced his intention to say goodbye to regional news after more than half a century on our screens. Bob is one of ITV’s longest-serving regional news hosts having worked for local television since 1973. There have also been a few bursts of national fame over the years too, but its his nightly hosting of news programmes in the midlands that viewers in the region have become to see him as a friend, invited into their homes to bring the latest happenings from across the region.
Bob was first seen on regional news magazine ATV Today in 1973, a reporter and later main presenter of the show until its last episode in December 1981. Bob was there to launch Central News on January 1st 1982 and has seen the programme through its many incarnations over a number of owners from Central Television to Carlton Broadcasting and most recently ITV Studios.
In the 1970s Bob had a short spell away from the Midlands, between 1976 and 1978, hosting regional news programmes for Yorkshire Television in Leeds, including the launch of Breakfast news locally on ITV when he hosted Good Morning Calendar.
Bob is the brother of Mike Warman, who was a reporter for ATV Today in the sixties and became editor of the Midland news offering in the 1970s and 80s. He died from cancer in 2004 aged 65. Bob Warman, nine years his junior, has decided he wants to spend his retirement enjoying life.
“By any measure it’s been a long stint in front of the camera and I will miss my colleagues and the hundreds of thousands of viewers who’ve remained loyal to ITV News over the years. It’s difficult to know when to call it a day, especially when I do a job I love with colleagues who are special to me. But time is running [out] and I have many interests which I want to pursue.”
Bob filed his first report for ATV Today in the same year which saw the end of the American War in Vietnam and when Britain joined the Common Market. Over those decades he has covered every single type of story from the Birmingham pub bombings to the closure of the world-famous Longbridge car works and lighter stories too such as motorised surfboard and the launch of Jaguar’s XJ-S sports car and the reported ghost of Coseley Swimming Baths – to name just a few.
In 1981, as the show came to a close, Bob Warman and Wendy Nelson picked up the RTS Award for ‘Best regional news programme’ for ATV Today, just one of many the Midlands output would win over the years with Bob at the helm. Bob’s own achievements include being a recipient of the Baird Medal, The Royal Television Society’s highest honour in recognition of ‘his outstanding contribution to the Midlands television community’.
Bob, was also named as one of the 100 ‘Great Brummies’ during Birmingham’s Centenary as a city.
As well as news Bob also hosted Miss ATV, the annual beauty contest, episodes of Format V, including the groundbreaking feature on the rights of transsexuals in 1980, and fundraising with the three ITV Telethon nights in 1988, 1990 and 1992. Speaking to ITV Central he recalls,
“I still remember one Telethon where after 24 hours of adrenaline filled broadcasting I ended up singing ‘he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’, with Allan Clarke from The Hollies. Whether it was viewers ringing in to ask me to stop, or some other reason, I’ll never know, but it raised a huge amount of money for local charities and I am proud of that.”
Across the ITV network, Bob was seen in an episode of Birmingham based soap opera Crossroads where he featured as himself, reporting for Central News on a strike at the fictional Kings Oak Crossroads Motel. For Sky One he hosted a revamped version of the game show The Price Is Right, made at Central’s Nottingham studios, and was heard as the narrator of an ITV tribute to Noele Gordon – of Lunch Box and Crossroads fame – when she died in April 1985.
Now its Bob who is being paid tribute to for his years of broadcasting to the Midlands. Warman will present his final edition of ITV News Central on Monday, July 4th, at 6 pm after more than 50 years in television.
ITV Central’s Head of News Liz Hannam:
“It’s been an honour to work with Bob, a man whose iconic status terrified me when I first joined as a trainee in 1989, but I soon learnt what a caring, principled and courteous man he really is.
“He has been a constant in the lives of Midlanders for generations. He understands and champions our region, always with warmth and good humour. He’s proud of his roots and we’re proud of him – he’ll be much missed.”