ITV News Central's Bob Warman thanks viewers as he presents his final programme before retirement

Four way shot of Bob Warman
The many faces of our Presenter Bob Warman on ITV screens over the last fifty years Credit: ITV News Central

ITV News Central Presenter Bob Warman is saying a fond farewell to his record-breaking broadcasting career.

Tonight is his final time presenting our 6pm programmes for the East and West Midlands, before he retires.

Read on for his own personal thoughts about this momentous day, that he's sharing with all our viewers - many of whom have grown up watching him on their Midlands' screens at 6pm every weekday.

By ITV News Central Presenter Bob Warman

So this is it. My final programme after more than 50 years broadcasting in the Midlands.

Since I announced I was leaving three months ago, I’ve received hundreds of emails andletters wishing me well for the future, and thanking me for being ‘part of the household’ forso many years. Now it’s my turn to show gratitude.

ITV Central's Bob Warman Credit: ITV News Central

I’ve been so lucky to be in a job which is more a paid hobby, never having to face theMonday morning blues and welcoming every day with a varied agenda.

And I’ve been very fortunate to be in the company of talented colleagues.

Television is a collaborative business where we each rely on the other – directors, producers, editors, presenters, reporters, camera persons, sound and lighting engineers and graphic designers.

All of them have an important role in crafting the best possible programme day in, day out.

And just as the news changes, so over time does the technology that brings the programme to air.

Bob Warman at ATV Credit: ITV News Central

I started as a reporter in the old ATV newsroom back in 1973 after a couple of years withBBC Radio.

In those days the smoke-filled newsroom was a cacophony of typewriters, some manual, others newly-introduced electric, and mainly male voices.

Female reporters were few and far between.

The reports were shot on film which required despatch riders on powerful motorbikes ferrying film across country to developing labs followed by film editors cutting against tight deadlines.

Video tape was a leap forward, and a couple of decades later, digital recording, followed by satellite and telephone technology, making it possible to deliver pictures and live reports from anywhere around the globe, economically and at speed unthinkable back in the day.

Drones are a huge advance in obtaining dramatic images at a fraction of the cost of helicopters.

All astonishing progress, yet there’s one constant – presenters or programme anchors, and their vital role in striking up a relationship with the audience, conveying the news in a balanced and responsible manner.

That’s been my role for many years and one I regard as a huge responsibility and a privilege.

I’m very grateful to ITV for giving me that role, and my thanks go to our loyal audience.

I know that Steve Clamp will appreciate that loyalty when he takes over from me and I wishhim well in the best job in the best region!

Watch "Bob Warman: Mr Midlands", a special programme on ITV tonight at 10:45pm, where we look back at Bob's record-breaking career, and meet many celebrities sharing their highlights of meeting and working with Bob over the years.