Can it really be possible, as Arnie Wilson recalled recently, that thirsty News at Ten legend Reggie Bosanquet once admitted that two drinks were too many before going on air at ITN?
Guy Pannell, a news producer at ITV Westcountry, finds it hard to believe. He tells me: ‘As an impressionable youngster – well, relative youngster anyway – from the regions, I have fond memories of a visit to ITN’s old Wells Street studios in the Seventies.
‘It was a long and tiring day. Lunch was a leisurely affair taken at an Italian restaurant around the corner and seemed to go on for hours, accompanied by gallons of white wine.
‘But the enduring highlight for me was spending time in the green room chatting to Reggie before he went into the studio to rehearse News at Ten. In less than an hour we got through the best part of three bottles of his favourite red wine – and I only consumed three glasses. I took my hat off that evening to a man who could go on air after that and present a half-hour bulletin almost impeccably.
‘While I wouldn’t prescribe that level of alcohol consumption for today’s presenters, I would welcome a small measure of that personality.”