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Queens birthday honours Saturday, 12 June, 1999, 02:29 GMT 03:29 UK
Gong for the king of the bongs
trevor mcdonald
Trevor McDonald: Presenter of ITV's flagship news programme
Newscaster Trevor McDonald says he is "stunned but absolutely delighted" to be knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Queens Birthday Honours
The 59-year-old, who presents the ITV Evening News, is a household name thanks to his 26 years with ITN, seven of which were spent presenting News At Ten, where he became synonymous with the programme's 'bongs'.

He said: "The citatation says it's for broadcasting and journalism and I am grateful to ITN for the opportunites it has given me to do such a variety of fascinating things."

McDonald's achievements have included securing the first interview with Nelson Mandela after his release, and - after several days of waiting - getting an exclusive interview with Saddam Hussein in 1990.

He was born in Trinidad, where his father Lawson worked in an oil refinery and raised pigs.

The eldest of four children, he once recalled how "we lived in a terribly small house with cracks in the walls, which we used to paper over with newspaper, and an outside loo".

Although he had little formal education, he read widely and won public speaking contests after refining his English by listening to the BBC World Service.

Cricket commentator

saddam
Meeting Saddam Hussein in 1990
During the 1960s he worked in radio and on TV in the Caribbean. Commentating on local cricket games and Test Matches featuring the West Indies were among his duties.

He recalls of his time in the commentary box:: "I really enjoyed it. It was a way of branching out, meeting people from vastly different backgrounds - from Pakistan, New Zealand, England, Australia and India. Doing cricket commentaries was marvellous - it's something I'd like to do again in my dotage."

In 1969 he came to London to join the World Service, and became ITN's first black reporter in 1973, quickly becoming a household name.

Once, he was arrested while filming in Uganda and while he was being marched away by a group of policemen, a Range Rover screeched to a halt ahead of him.

McDonald recalls: "The driver got out, shouting, 'Trevor McDonald... News At Ten... please can I have your autograph?'"

No plans to retire to the Caribbean

news at ten
Presenting News At Ten, which was scrapped earlier this year
His years reporting for ITN included postings all over the world. In 1985 he won a Bafta for his coverage on Channel 4 News of elections in the Philippines.

He became News At Ten's sole presenter in 1992, and presided over the programme's demise earlier this year.

McDonald has had his detractors - an interview with John Major when he was Prime Minister was described as "too gushing", and he faced criticism when the first edition of Tonight featured an interview with the five prime suspects in the Stephen Lawrence murder case.

As well as the replacement Evening News, he also hosts the current affairs show Tonight and a talk show on digital channel ITV2.

Now a pillar of the British broadcasting establishment, McDonald says he has no plans to retire to the Caribbean when he gives up his TV career, although he still regularly visits his family.

He lives in London with his wife Josephine and son Jamie.

Recently, he revealed he was actually christened George, rather than Trevor. His father had wet the baby's head on his way to registering his birth, and by the time he arrived he had forgotten the agreed name.

See also:

09 Mar 99 | UK
07 Apr 99 | Entertainment
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