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REST IN PEACE bob


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Bob Friend, the former Sky News presenter, has died at the age of 70 after suffering from cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

It is rare you meet someone who encapsulates all that is good in serious journalism with an extraordinary sense of humour.

 

The combination made Bob Friend a distinctive TV personality who was both authoritative and a delight to watch.

 

An instinctive journalist, he would grasp a story instantly. His colleagues would watch in awe as he asked correspondents - in just three words - questions which completely captured the essence of a news item.

 

He joined Sky News on day one in February 1989 and delighted in regaling how he had to crawl over a muddy building site to get to the newsroom.

 

This was his break as a TV anchor, a main presenter on the fledgling satellite broadcaster, and he made the job look easy.

 

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, said Bob was "a distinguished journalist and an admired broadcaster.

 

 

 

Rupert Murdoch Pays Tribute To Bob Friend

 

 

"He was quick to understand the power of non-stop programming. He was there at the beginning of that long, hard road we all had to travel to make Sky News what it is today".

 

His old boss, former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, said Bob had a huge depth of knowledge and "crucially could convey that in an easy and familiar way to people, making him a remarkable person to watch on-screen".

 

His on-screen persona was indeed natural, warm and friendly but he could challenge with the best of them.

 

He already had years of experience - he started in the news business as a teenager. From the age of 15 he worked on his local paper in Kent.

 

His years of journalism were only interrupted by National Service with the Ghurkhas in Hong Kong before he returned to freelance on national newspapers for nearly a decade.

 

His broadcasting career started on BBC Radio 4 in 1969. He was dispatched to Northern Ireland and spent four years witnessing the sectarian violence at the start of the troubles.

 

After a short stint in Vietnam he got his first official overseas TV posting as the BBC's first Australia correspondent in 1973.

 

Tokyo and New York followed, where the current Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, was his producer.

 

Bob liked to watch the rise of those around him. At Sky he was always generous in his help and would immediately introduce himself to any new employee in the newsroom.

 

 

 

He was charming to everyone he met. The cleaner always got a wave. The security guards on the main gate got a crate of beer every Christmas.

 

"Bob was Bob - what you saw off-screen was what you got on-screen," said the Head of Sky News, John Ryley.

 

He added: "It made absolutely no difference - whoever you were he would treat you in exactly the same way. He was a very humble guy and he had no airs and graces."

 

And always there - his brilliant sense of humour, ever present and utterly infectious to all those who worked with him.

 

His talents led to requests for help from Hollywood.

 

Tom Cruise watched Bob on Sky from a hotel room in London and immediately wanted him for Mission Impossible, an on-screen part in Independence Day followed.

 

His travels continued for Sky News, as he presented live at the hand-over of Hong Kong and reported from Moscow, but it was as presenter of Live at Five and then Sky News at Ten that he'll be best remembered.

 

After receiving an MBE for services to journalism at Buckingham Palace in 2003, then Prime Minister Tony Blair praised his work and "his reassuring voice".

 

Bob leaves a wife and two daughters and an enormous number of friends and colleagues. He will be hugely missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, how I long for the girl at the fruit and veg shop to say that.

Am I the only one expecting a suicide note after reading the title?

 

PMSL! I did, sort of, wonder what to expect... And then I tried to think of an old ex-Latics player named Bob...

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