Granada Reports has unveiled its new presenter - Gamal Fahnbulleh.
Gamal, who is no stranger to the newsroom, will join Lucy Meacock from 11 January to present the evening programme, marking a return to two presenters.
Gamal says: “I’m thrilled to bits to be here, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime, I’m so excited to have the opportunity and the privilege to work alongside Lucy Meacock and the team at Granada, it’s a dream come true."
In many ways it feels like I’ve come home, this is where I started my career, 15 years ago, and now I’m back and I hope to be back for a very, very long time indeed.
Gamal previously worked with the Granada Reports team between 2005 and 2010 after being selected as one of only 10 candidates for the ITV News Bursary Scheme.
During his time he reported extensively on local issues, and was embedded with the First Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, during a six-month tour of Afghanistan.
He then moved on to work for ITV Network News, and Sky and Daybreak (now Good Morning Britain) as North of England Correspondent.
In 2014 he returned to Sky News, and has since appeared at every hour of the day for the channel.
But, Gamal says returning to the North West was always his aim.
Gamal added: “The North West is my home, I was at university in Manchester so I came here in 2000 and I fell in love with the place right from the start, it’s bustling, it’s thriving, it’s diverse, it has people from different backgrounds, different walks of life, it's just the place I knew I wanted to be, and I knew it was a place I was always going to be.”
Co-presenter Lucy Meacock is also looking forward to welcoming back the familiar face to many of our viewers.
Lucy says: “I am so excited to be joined by Gamal, he is a fantastic presenter, I know he’ll be brilliant for Granada Reports and I can’t wait to sit next to him.
“The brilliant thing about Gamal is that he is coming home to us - and I think what happens is quite often people start out on Granada Reports and they realise that actually it is the best place to work, and this is an exciting region.
The great thing is that Gamal, who could work anywhere, has decided that the North West is where he wants to be and that is great news, and a real coup for us.
But, it is an appointment which would have “pleased” the much-loved colleague - as Tony would often be seen cheering Gamal on whenever he appeared on screen.
Lucy added: “I think it’s really difficult for all of us, 2020 was a really tough year, not just for us but for our viewers as well.
“We’ve lost a great friend in Tony, and they are big shoes to fill but he knew Gamal, he liked him, and I think he would be pleased he’s come to join us on the programme.
“It is difficult, but a lot of people know what it’s like this year to have lost people, it’s hit our newsroom really hard, but you do need to look forward and we've got a duty to serve the people of the North West and do it as well as we can and I know we’re going to move forward and do that really well and make Tony proud.
“I know because I had conversations with him towards the end and he said it was really important that the show goes on and we carry on doing what we do really well.”
Join Lucy and Gamal for Granada Reports at 6pm (Monday to Friday).
Get to know Gamal:
Gamal's first memory of the Granada newsroom:
What's Gamal's proudest moment?
What's life like for Gamal currently?
What habits should Gamal and Lucy be aware of before stepping into the studio together?