Norman Rees obituary


Norman Rees, who has died aged 84, spent three a long time travelling the globe as an ITV information reporter. Residence and overseas, he was often in the proper place on the proper time – by luck or design – and enterprising in getting the story.

In Washington in 1974 in the course of the Watergate hearings, he elicited a response from the disgraced president Richard Nixon that he “screwed it up and paid the value”.

Six years later – by now ITN’s Washington correspondent – Rees drove by the evening to New York to report on the homicide of John Lennon, arriving simply earlier than daybreak to compile a report and get the reactions of grieving followers.

Not averse to taking dangers, following his time within the US, in 1981 he reported on a bloodbath by authorities troops in a village outdoors Kampala that led to his deportation by the Ugandan president, Milton Obote.

A 12 months later, he lined the Falklands conflict from Argentina and, within the rapid aftermath of the Belgrano sinking, sought reactions from the general public. “It was not the very best second to be a British reporter in Buenos Aires,” he mirrored.

ITN, the producer of ITV information programmes, received Bafta’s award for greatest actuality protection together with his dispatches from Lebanon in 1983, when the Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat was primarily based there and rival PLO factions had been combating one another – with kids caught within the crossfire.

Rees may additionally discover humour in information. Accompanying the brand new Labour get together chief Neil Kinnock on a photograph alternative on the 1983 Brighton convention, he witnessed the politician’s well-known fall on the seaside and ventured in his report: “Now that kind of factor is simply not presupposed to occur.”

Extra significantly, he travelled with Diana, Princess of Wales on her 1989 tour of the far east, the place she shook palms with leprosy sufferers in Indonesia, dispelling myths surrounding the situation. Rees eloquently noticed: “She touched the untouchable.”

In 1996 he was deeply affected by masking the taking pictures of 16 pupils and a trainer at Dunblane major college, close to Stirling. Later, he mentioned: “In scenes of nice tragedy and battle, a reporter needs to be touched by what he’s seeing. I don’t assume the studies can be as helpful if we didn’t get a sense of involvement and concern on behalf of the reporter.”

Norman was born in Cardiff to Maisel (nee Fish) and Daniel Rees, a newspaper packer, and attended Canton highschool. The longer term broadcaster John Humphrys was a pal within the Splott space of town. He joined the Western Mail in Cardiff as a junior reporter in 1956 and displayed one other ability, as a singer, on forming the Weavers pop group, who received a nationwide expertise present and appeared on the BBC present Six-5 Particular in 1958.

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Norman Rees, centre in hood, on an Nationwide Union of Journalists’ picket line in 1974. Prime row from left: Michael Nicholson, Peter Sissons and David Rose. Backside row, from left: Gerald Seymour, Anthony Carthey, Rees, Keith Hatfield and Gordon Honeycombe. {Photograph}: ANL/Shutterstock

He moved to tv as a reporter in 1963 with TWW, the ITV firm masking Wales and the west of England. He rose to develop into deputy information editor, then in 1968 joined ITN in London as a information editor. 4 years later, he switched to reporting, masking Northern Eire and in addition the cod conflict fishing dispute – from aboard an Icelandic gunboat.

Typically, the very best laid plans went adrift. In 1975, Rees arrived in Australia for Scotland Yard’s extradition of the “lacking” MP John Stonehouse after faking his personal loss of life. Rees had an settlement that detectives wouldn’t intrude if Stonehouse agreed to speak to him on the flight dwelling, however the politician proceeded to present an interview to the BBC, then refused to talk to Rees due to a earlier row with an ITV firm boss.

This left him in despair, realising that not solely would he be unable to ship an interview again to London by satellite tv for pc throughout a stopover in Hong Kong, however that he was being scooped by the opposition.

His Australian digital camera operator got here to the rescue, reminding the married Stonehouse that he had offered refuge for his secretary and lover, Sheila Buckley, when she was besieged by the press. The interview was accomplished simply earlier than landing in Hong Kong and the movie headed to ITN.

After standing in a number of instances for Michael Brunson within the US, Rees turned Washington correspondent (1977-81). Certainly one of his final assignments was the assassination try on Ronald Reagan. He reported the president broadly quoting Winston Churchill to say: “There’s no extra exhilarating feeling than being shot at with out end result.”

In 1984, he turned ITN’s chief assistant editor – and continued to current weekend and early-morning information programmes often – however quickly returned to the sphere and within the Nineties was on Information at Ten’s particular studies crew.

Rees retired from ITN in 1999, the 12 months when Information at Ten was axed by ITV (solely to be revived later) and he offered a seven-minute “obituary” in what was believed to be the ultimate bulletin.

He’s survived by his spouse, Andrea (nee Norton), whom he married in 1961, and their kids, Nicola and Andrew.


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