ITV legend Bob Warman announces retirement after 49 years on screen

One of ITV’s longest serving stars is retiring after being a familiar face on TV screens for nearly half a century.

Bob Warman at the ITV studios in Birmingham
Bob Warman at the ITV studios in Birmingham

Bob Warman, presenter for ITV’s Central’s flagship evening news programme, is calling it a day after a career that’s seen him as one of the most recognised and loved faces in the Midlands, with his last broadcast being on Monday, July 4.

The 75-year-old, who was born in Walsall, said: "By any measure, it’s been a long stint in front of the camera and I will miss my colleagues and the hundreds of thousands of viewers who’ve remained loyal to ITV News over the years.

"It’s difficult to know when to call it a day, especially when I do a job I love with colleagues who are special to me.

"But time is running and I have many interests which I want to pursue."

Bob joined Central's predecessor ATV in April 1973 and has covered every type of story from the Birmingham pub bombings and closure of the Longbridge car works to fronting up charity marathons.

He said: "I still remember one telethon where after 24 hours of adrenaline-filled broadcasting, I ended up singing 'he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother' with Allan Clarke from The Hollies.

Bob Warman on his first broadcast for Radio Birmingham in 1970

"Whether it was viewers ringing in to ask me to stop, or some other reason, I’ll never know, but it raised a huge amount of money for local charities and I am proud of that."

Bob originally joined ATV as a reporter, but it was Yorkshire Television that spotted his potential as a presenter when in 1976 he was chosen to front the regional programme Calendar with the late Richard Whiteley.

The following year, he co-presented the very first breakfast television programme, a three-month pilot which led to the establishment of TV-AM, but returned to ATV in 1978 to present the evening programme and has been a feature on the station ever since.

He attended preparatory school in Shrewsbury, where he was a contemporary of BBC Midlands presenter Nick Owen before getting his journalistic start on his local newspaper The Walsall Observer when the editor gave him three weeks to see "whether we like you and you like us."

Bob Warman was at Shrewsbury High Prep School at the same time as Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen

His achievements include being awarded the Baird Medal, The Royal Television Society’s highest honour in recognition of "his outstanding contribution to the Midlands television community".

He is also President of the Birmingham Press Club, a Life Vice President of the Journalists’ Charity and is also a patron of Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Sameena Ali-Khan, who has co-presented with him for 13 years, said there’s no doubt he’ll be greatly missed by viewers and fellow broadcasters alike.

She said: "People always talk about Bob being a timeline to their life, and when you've done almost 50 years of giving people the news in the Midlands, you can see why.

"To me, Bob has been a good friend, someone to have a laugh with and someone to learn from.

"It's been a privilege to work alongside him for the past 13 years because he really is a 'Living Legend' and like many of our viewers, we'll miss him hugely."

Bob Warman with Ronnie Biggs

ITV Central’s head of news Liz Hannam said: "It’s been an honour to work with Bob, a man whose iconic status terrified me when I first joined as a trainee in 1989, but I soon learnt what a caring, principled and courteous man he really is.

"He has been a constant in the lives of Midlanders for generations.

"He understands and champions our region, always with warmth and good humour. He’s proud of his roots and we’re proud of him, so he’ll be much missed."

Michael Jermey, ITV’s director of news and current affairs, added: "It's impossible to overstate the enormous contribution Bob Warman has made to ITV over the decades.

"He will be greatly missed by viewers and colleagues alike.

"Bob has had a truly exceptional career. He's been on top of his game since he first started presenting on ATV in the 1970's, right through to being the trusted voice of the Midlands on ITV News Central in the 2020's.

"Bob is an exceptional broadcaster, a very fine journalist and a great champion of regional news and is held in enormously high regard not only within ITV but right across the broadcast industry.

"We wish him all the very best for the future."

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