Tributes to ITV Granada Reports presenter Tony Morris, who has died aged 57

Tony Morris presented Granada Reports for 17 years. Credit: ITV News

Tony Morris, the presenter of Granada Reports, ITV's regional news programme in the North West, has died at the age of 57.

Tony died at Bury Hospice on Saturday, August 1, after being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year.

His daughters, Natalie and Rebecca, were at his side.

Tony Morris with his daughters Natalie and Rebecca. Credit: Family handout

In a statement, they said: "You all know him as 'the guy off the news' - but we know him as our dad.

"He was always so proud to be an adopted northerner."

In the past week Bury Hospice said it has received almost £13,000 in donations from the public in Tony's memory, along with hundreds of cards and messages of goodwill.

Eloise Burke, the hospice's CEO, said the staff had been overwhelmed by all the kind messages and donations, many people wanting to send their condolences to Tony's family and friends but also thank her staff for looking after Tony.

She said it was a great comfort to receive all of the messages and they have been busy replying to everyone.

Tony had presented Granada Reports for 17 years and continued to appear on the programme until just a few weeks ago.  

Tony presented Granada Reports alongside Lucy Meacock for 17 years. Credit: ITV News

Lucy Meacock, his co-presenter throughout that time, said: “He was without doubt one of the most humble, kind and funny people I have ever met, and he would often make me laugh till my sides ached."

I am so very, very sad and my heart goes out to his daughters Nat and Becky.  A smile from Tony Morris always brightened everyone's day and certainly brightened up the whole of the North West for 17 years.

Lucy Meacock

Lucy described Tony as a “great observer of people and a great listener”.

She said both those traits made him a 'wonderful interviewer and a first class journalist'. 

“He would always be respectful but would always coax the best interviews out of people and never shy away from a direct question,” Lucy added.

  • Lucy Meacock pays tribute to co-presenter Tony Morris.

Tony's career in journalism broke down barrier after barrier. He helped Granada Reports become the first regional news programme to win a BAFTA, presenting with Lucy the 2007 News Coverage winner about the Morecambe Bay Cockle Picking tragedy.

A second BAFTA followed in 2013 for coverage of the Independent Panel into the Hillsborough Disaster. 

Granada’s Head of News, Lucy West, said viewers can leave their tributes in an online Book of Condolence.

The messages will be shared with Tony’s family and friends.

Tony was a remarkable man; first and foremost he was an amazing dad to his two daughters and our thoughts are with his family. A brilliant presenter and journalist who could disarm the most challenging of guests. Tony led our viewers through some of the darkest of days, yet he was always able to offer some reassurance and warmth.

Lucy West, Head of News, ITV News Granada Reports

Tony grew up in Portsmouth in Hampshire, spending much of his childhood in foster care. After leaving school he served in the RAF.

He told friends that growing up as the only black kid on a tough housing estate and joining the armed forces taught him all about resilience in life, they said it also gave him great empathy and insight.

After leaving the RAF, Tony’s lifelong love of music drew him first into DJing then to the BBC - as a local radio trainee.

He arrived on the TV screen at short notice when a newsreader was unable to get to the studio. Tony, then working as a producer, was asked to put on a tie and present the news.

From there he went on to report and present on BBC national and regional news programmes.

Tony joined Granada from the BBC's North West Tonight in 2003 and made an immediate impact with his new colleagues and Granada’s viewers.

His on-screen warmth and a sense of fun matched was matched with the complete gravitas needed for the biggest and saddest of news events.

  • Granada Reports correspondent Paul Crone speaks about working with his friend Tony Morris.

Tony anchored Granada Reports in the aftermath of the 2017 Manchester Bombing and on the publication of the Kirkup report into baby deaths at Furness General Hospital.

More recently he hosted editions of Granada’s From The North podcast.

Last year he was shortlisted by the Royal Television Society in the Nations and Regions Presenter of the Year category.

Tony lifted people, he was full of fun, wherever he was there was laughter and of course his incredible smile. He was loved by all, we as a team will miss him, the viewers will miss him.  His passing leaves a huge gap in all of our lives and we will never forget him.

Lucy West, Head of News, ITV News Granada Reports
Tony Morris Credit: Family picture

Away from the newsroom Tony was a diversity champion for ITV and was closely involved with organisations working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as a mentor and a supporter of several charities.

Among them was the Anthony Walker Foundation which was set up in Anthony's memory after his murder in 2005.

Anthony's mum Gee said Tony's "magnetic smile lit up the screen".

  • Gee Walker remembers Tony Morris.

Tony Morris and Lucy Meacock at the Royal Television Society award ceremony. Credit: RTS

Tony was a great presenter with an instinctive understanding of what would interest his audience. He will be missed enormously by everyone who so enjoyed working with him and by viewers who appreciated his warmth, his incisive questioning and his dry sense of humour. Tony’s death is a great loss to news broadcasting.

Michael Jermey, Director of News and Current Affairs, ITV