Veteran BBC journalist Donald MacCormick dies

Tributes have been paid to veteran BBC journalist Donald MacCormick who has died of a heart attack aged 70.

MacCormick anchored current affairs show Newsnight with John Tusa and Peter Snow throughout the 1980s. He was hailed as “consummate professional” and a “prince among broadcasters”.

He also worked on several other BBC flagship programmes including Question Time, Tonight, Newsweek, BBC World and the Money Programme.

Tim Gardam, former BBC Newsnight editor, said: “Donald was always entirely focused on ensuring the programme aired with calm authority. His political interviews were as insistent as they were courteous.

“He had a sharp eye for the pressure points in politics and the tussles for power in the Palace of Westminster.

“Whenever he was anchoring Newsnight one knew that whatever the pressure of events behind the screen, none would be evident on screen. Once the programme was over he was tremendous company, with a dry and engaging wit.”

MacCormick, a Scotsman, taught at the High School of Glasgow for five years before beginning his media career in 1967.

He then went on to specialise in political news.

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, said: “Many people at the BBC will be saddened by this news. He was a consummate professional and a great colleague.”

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell has known MacCormick since the pair met at Glasgow University in 1959.

He said: “Donald MacCormick was a prince among broadcasters.

“His style was always civil but insistent. He was always thoroughly prepared and his kind of journalism characterised all that is best in the BBC.”

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