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Monday, May 31, 1999 Published at 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK

UK Politics

Kenny Macintyre: An obituary

Kenny Macintyre: An outstanding mark on Scottish life

By BBC News Online's Bob Eggington

Kenny Macintyre, who has died at the age of 54, was one of the BBC's best-known and most-respected journalists.

His pre-eminence in Scottish journalism was captured by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who said in a tribute that Mr Macintyre was "more than a journalist, he was an institution".

Mr Macintyre was born and grew up on the island of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.

He came to journalism in his thirties when he began to compile reports on island life for BBC Radio Highlands.

His dynamic style and the strength of his on-air character were immediately recognised and he was offered a current affairs job at BBC headquarters in Glasgow.

Here he made his outstanding mark on Scottish life.

[ image: Many prime ministers sought Kenny Macintyre's views]
Many prime ministers sought Kenny Macintyre's views
Colleagues were endlessly amazed to see Kenny arrive for work at 6 o' clock each morning and immediately begin ringing his contacts. This pattern of digging for information, background and colour went on till late each evening.

Nobody, however exalted, ever seemed to mind being rung-up by Kenny. His information, understanding, impish humour and integrity meant he was always worth a conversation, whatever the time of day or night.

More than one prime minister was known to ask civil servants and advisors to leave the room so that they could have private discussions with Kenny about the meaning of the latest political happenings.

All of this provided Kenny with a unique picture of what was happening in the worlds of politics and business.

He was restless for information, soaked it up avidly and put it across to listeners with clarity and enthusiasm.

Kenny was intensely competitive when it came to breaking the news. But this did not prevent him becoming a huge favourite among colleagues and rivals alike. His sense of fun was key to his popularity.

At one tense news conference, then Prime Minister John Major turned down Kenny's request for an interview on a particularly sensitive subject.

"In that case I hope your team get wrecked tonight," Kenny said with one of his cheeky grins (Chelsea were playing that night). Mr Major burst out laughing and agreed, after all, to give Kenny his interview.

A teetotaller with a passion for football and fitness, Kenny seemed to extract the maximum out of life.

His next challenge was to cover the setting-up of the new Parliament in Edinburgh and the devolved government of Scotland.

Kenny Macintyre is survived by his wife, two sons and his mother.

To send your tribute to BBC Scotland's Kenny Macintyre click here

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