Northern Life 

29 March 2006

Launched in 1976, Northern Life would prove to be Tyne Tees’s longest running news programme, lasting a whopping sixteen years.

Initially presented by Today at Six anchor Bill Steel, the programme used the iconic North East folk song, The Blaydon Races, performed by Larry Addler.

With Bill’s decision to move to the continuity team in 1980, former Tyne Tees presenter Tom Coyne returned to the station to take over. The former North East Roundabout anchor man had left Tyne Tees in 1964, moving to BBC Midlands Today where he spent the next sixteen years. His return to his native North East was hearlded by the press and public alike, although his return was short lived as he retired a few years later.

Off camera shot of the Middlesborough studio in 1982

From one iconic presenter to another as Tom Coyne’s retirement lead to the promotion of the man most associated with Northern Life’s history – that of Paul Frost.

Paul Frost in the Northern Life studio

Much loved by the North East, Paul had worked at the old Middlesbrough news room, presenting opt out bulletins, but in his new guise as anchorman, quickly became known for his long conversations with his fellow presenters on Northern Life, and his rambling anecdotes – a more relaxed atmosphere from the more serious tone of the rival Look North hosted by another North East legend, Mike Neville.

Northern Life presenter Eileen McCabe

Paul presented the programme from the early 1980s until its demise in 1992, alongside a number of co-hosts. Joining Frosty in the studio in 1986 was co-host Eileen McCable.

Stuart McNeil in 1986

Principle stand in was Stuart McNeil – who would deputise for the bearded one when he was away.

Jane Wyatt in 1988

Somewhere between 1986 and 1988 Eileen McCabe disappearing from our screens, and the co-host’s chair was filled, briefly by Jane Wyatt.

Northern Life's Studio circa 1989 looking like a star ship bridge

Industrial Correspondent Shelia Matherson was also a regular on the set, seem above with Jane Wyatt.

Jane’s occupancy of the right chair however was short-lived, as she moved off to TVS less than a year after joining Northern Life. She was briefly replaced by Stuart McNeil, before the return to the North East of former Tyne Tees weather presenter, Pam Royle, as co-host.

Pam Royle in 1989

It was the winning combination, and a partnership that last beyond Northern Life and into the original incarnation of Tyne Tees Today.

Paul Frost in 1988

No matter who was sat with Frosty, he could still ramble on for Britain at the end of a show, as this exchange with Sheila shows (you can almost hear the frantic calls of “we’ve two minutes to fill!” blaring out of their ear-pieces).

You Say

1 response to this article

mike B 5 January 2015 at 8:08 pm

Hi – I am trying to find out which country was involved in a programme exchange with Tyne Tees Television in 1986.
Grateful if you can help
Many thanks

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