Sky News's Friend retires after 50 years

Veteran Sky News presenter Bob Friend has announced his retirement after a 50-year career in journalism.

Friend, who joined the Kent and Sussex Courier aged 15, will present his final show with co-host Vivien Creegor this week.

The 65-year-old presenter, who will be collecting an MBE for his services to broadcasting next Wednesday, freelanced for the nationals before going to the BBC in 1969, where he worked as a correspondent in Northern Ireland, Vietnam, Australia, Japan and New York.

He joined Sky News at its launch in 1989, where his classic presenting style won him cameo roles in a number of feature films, including Independence Day and Mission: Impossible.

Commenting on his retirement, Friend said he would not be giving up journalism altogether: "Journalists never actually retire and after visiting some of the places I've worked in over the years, I'll settle down to some writing and, hopefully, more broadcasting.

Movie moguls have been strangely quiet.

"It's been a great half-century - local newspapers, BBC radio, foreign correspondent and then 14 years with Sky News. I'll miss the people and the buzz of seat-of-the-pants live broadcasting. But a half-century in regular employment is probably enough."

Head of Sky News Nick Pollard said that Friend would be sorely missed, describing him as "a true gent - one of the old school of journalists".

Stephen Claypole, Friend's former boss at the BBC and former managing director of APTN, said: "He was certainly in my view one the best reporters of his generation: utterly tenacious. Then he became a presenter who had an unusual understanding of the audience - they always identified with him. He really engaged with the viewer and had a great presence.

He was an excellent broadcaster, with a tremendous voice and great on-screen charisma."

Also paying tribute was Mark Thompson, chief executive of Channel 4, who worked with Friend as the BBC Breakfast Time producer in New York.

"Bob is an exceptional journalist whose many years as an outstanding correspondent in the field gave him a natural authority as a Sky anchor."

By Sarah Boden

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